UGA’s Bae wins Inkster Award for top college senior

Jenny Bae of the United States plays her stroke from the No. 4 tee during the final round of the Augusta National Women's Amateur at Augusta National Golf Club, Saturday, April 1, 2023.
Jenny Bae of the United States plays her stroke from the No. 4 tee during the final round of the Augusta National Women’s Amateur at Augusta National Golf Club, Saturday, April 1, 2023.

The awards continue to pile up for Jenny Bae.

The native of Suwanee and three-time All-America at the University of Georgia has been named the recipient of the 2023 Inkster Award Presented by Workday. The Award recognizes the highest ranked women’s Division I collegiate golfer in her final year of eligibility for the 2022-2023 college golf season.

The award is named after Juli Inkster, a World Golf Hall-of-Fame member and LPGA legend who was a three-time All-American at San José State (1979-1982). She elected not to turn professional until finishing her four-year commitment to her school, winning 17 individual titles during her college career. The Inkster Award winner announcement was made today onsite at the Memorial Tournament presented by Workday, a PGA TOUR event in Dublin, Ohio.

Bae, a fifth-year senior, finished the season as the fourth-ranked DI women’s college golfer according to Golfstat and fifth-ranked in the Golfweek rankings. As a result of winning the 2023 Inkster Award, Bae will receive:

  • Exemption to compete in the 2023 Portland Classic on the LPGA Tour, taking place Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Columbia Edgewater Country Club in Portland, Ore.
  • She will automatically advance to the second stage of LPGA Q-School, Oct. 16-20 at Plantation Golf and Country Club in Venice, Fla.
  • As a presenting sponsor of the Inkster Award, Workday will provide $50,000 to the Juli Inkster Foundation to help support Bae’s transition to her professional golf career. The $50,000 will support Bae’s mentorship retreat with Inkster and assist with Bae’s travel expenses.
  • She will join Inkster on a two-day mentorship retreat in Northern California.

Inkster impressed by performances

“Jenny had a remarkable career at Georgia, persevered through the challenges of the global pandemic to earn her college degree and excelled on the golf course with an amazing senior season,” said Inkster. “That says a lot about not only her performance on the course but also about her goals and passions away from it and putting education as a priority. I look forward to mentoring Jenny as she navigates the next stage in her professional and personal journeys.

“I also want to thank the Women’s Golf Coaches Association and Workday for partnering with me on this award,” continued Inkster. “To have a player be honored for her commitment to her school, coaches and her teammates is what this award is all about.”  

“Juli Inkster is an inspiration and such a role model on and off the course, her Hall-of-Fame career speaks for itself,” said Bae. “To receive this award from Juli and to have her as my mentor is an honor beyond words. I’m excited for the next step in my career and to test my skills against the best players in the world on the LPGA Tour. Thank you Workday and Juli for making this possible and giving me the opportunity to chase my dreams.”

Bae lauded by UGA coach

“First of all, I think it’s great that Juli, Workday and the WGCA have gone out and created this award for the top senior in college golf. To me, it promotes staying in school and really enhances the opportunity of a young lady to chase her dreams after finishing her degree,” said Josh Brewer, women’s head golf coach at Georgia. “We were fortunate enough to have had Jenny Bae do just that. If you look at her last two years, no one deserves this award more than Jenny. It’s hard to put into words what she has meant to our program. She really put Georgia golf on the global stage with her performance at the Augusta National Women’s Amateur this spring.

“It’s amazing for her to have the financial support this award provides but to have a mentor like Juli Inkster,” continued Brewer. “I know Jenny is very excited to have someone like Juli to lean on for advice as she starts this next chapter of her life.”

Lead UGA women to NCAA tournament

Bae wrapped up her collegiate career by leading Georgia to a 14th place finish at the NCAA Women’s Golf Championships. She enjoyed a record-setting 2022-23 campaign by posting eight top-five finishes in 12 events, including victories at the Illini Invitational and the NCAA Athens Regional, where she scored the two lowest scores in Georgia history. She compiled a 70.75 season stroke average, the lowest single-season stroke average in Georgia history. She also finished runner-up at the 2023 Augusta National Women’s Amateur, finishing at 9-under par and tied with Rose Zhang before falling on the second hole of a sudden-death playoff.

Bae made her professional debut this past weekend on the Epson Tour, competing in the Nova Mission Inn Resort and Club Championship in Howey-In-The-Hills, Fla.

About the Author

Hello and Welcome to The Georgia Golfer I'm Stan Awtrey, the writer and administrator for this site. I love to watch and play, although my 19 handicap index would indicate that I'm better at watching. I've played more than 200 different courses over the years, including Augusta National (twice).