MARIETTA, Ga. – After a season in which she dominated senior women’s events in Georgia and produced impressive performances on the national stage, Brenda Pictor of Marietta was selected as the Tommy Barnes Award winner, signifying the Georgia State Golf Association’s overall player of the year for 2010. Pictor was announced as the winner and honored at the GSGA’s Players of the Year Luncheon, held at Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta on January 22, 2011.
During the 2010 GSGA competitions season, Pictor distanced herself from the rest of the field, earning 400 more points than the next-closest competitor in the Senior Women’s Player of the Year race. It marked the fourth-straight year she has earned at least a share of the title and was third-straight year of owning it outright.
Pictor advanced to the semifinals of the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship, falling to eventual champion Laura Coble, 2 and 1. She also placed third overall in the Greater Atlanta Women’s Amateur Championship.
Pictor took home the trophy from the GSGA Senior Women’s Championship for the second-straight year and third time in the last four years. She jumped out to an early lead and held off runner-up Mary Riley to post a four-stroke victory at Houston Lake Country Club in Perry.
In the Georgia Women’s Golf Association (GWGA) Amateur Championship at White Columns Country Club in Milton, Pictor placed fifth overall and also earned the Burns Cup, awarded to the senior golfer with the lowest 36-hole score.
On the national level, Pictor qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship for the second-straight year. She also advanced to the second round of match play in the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, marking the second-straight year she won at least one match in that event.
Though not a point-earning event for GSGA honors, Pictor also won the 2010 Senior Women’s North and South Amateur Championship, finishing at 1-over-par at Pinehurst (N.C.) Resort.
The award’s namesake, Tommy Barnes of Atlanta, was one of Georgia’s legendary amateur golfers. Among his many accomplishments, Barnes captured the 1941 Georgia Amateur Championship, won the 1947 and ’49 Southern Amateur titles, qualified for 16 consecutive U.S. Amateur Championships and played in the 1950 Masters Tournament. In 1989, at age 73, Barnes shot 62 to break Bobby Jones’ 67-year-old record at his home course, East Lake Golf Club. He also had a long history of service to GSGA and other golf associations, and was a member of numerous Halls of Fame. Barnes passed away in 2007 at age 91.
In honor of this special gentleman, GSGA established the Tommy Barnes Award in 1983-84 to recognize its Men’s Player of the Year. Beginning in 1998, the Tommy Barnes Award was given to the annual overall player of the year.
Four other golfers received GSGA Players of the Year awards during the Luncheon. Players of the Year are annually awarded in six categories: Men, Women, Junior, Girls’, Senior Men and Senior Women.
Men’s Player of the Year: David Noll Jr., Dalton The high level of consistency exhibited by frequent championship contender David Noll Jr. of Dalton continued throughout 2010, as he earned GSGA Men’s Player of the Year honors for the fourth-straight year and sixth time since 2003.
Noll finished as runner-up in the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship, marking his fifth-straight and seventh overall top-10 finish in that event. In the Georgia Amateur Championship, Noll placed sixth overall. It was the sixth-straight year he finished sixth or better in GSGA’s penultimate event.
After winning the Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship the previous two years, Noll once again advanced to the final, but fell to teenager Anders Albertson in the championship match.
In a U.S. Open Local Qualifier at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City, Noll was the medalist with a score of 65.
For the fifth time since 2003, Noll qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship, advancing to the match play portion of the competition for the fourth time in that span.
Noll also represented the GSGA in the biennial Southeastern Challenge Match as well as the USGA Men’s State Team Championship, helping Georgia to a ninth-place overall finish.
Women’s Player of the Year: Laura Coble, Augusta For the second year in a row, Laura Coble of Augusta is the GSGA Women’s Player of the Year. She captured the award convincingly, surpassing the second-place finisher by 350 points in the standings. The GSGA Women’s Player of the Year honor has been awarded annually since 1989, and Coble has earned the title in 12 of those 22 years, including a 10-year run from 1998 to 2007.
Coble began the season by winning her second-straight and eighth-overall Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship, defeating teenager Amira Alexander in the final.
At the Georgia Top 60 Women’s Classic, Coble finished as runner-up behind defending champion Rebecca Durham. It was her second runner-up finish in this competition since 2004 and the sixth time since 2000 she has finished sixth or better.
Also on the statewide level, Coble tied for seventh at the Yamaha Georgia Women’s Open, four strokes back of the champion, and tied for eighth at the Georgia Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship.
Coble also earned Player of the Year points by participating in two national championships in 2010. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship for the third-straight year and fourth time since 2005. She also advanced to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. In four appearances in that Championship since 2005, she had finished no worse than the quarterfinals.
Senior Player of the Year: Spencer Sappington, Milton It’s hard to believe it’s been three years since he earned his last Player of the Year title, but Georgia Golf Hall of Famer Spencer Sappington of Milton has put his name back on the Georgia Senior Player of the Year trophy. Sappington narrowly edged out Larry Clark in the points race to win his fifth such honor in 2010.
Sappington made history by winning his fifth Georgia Senior Championship, holding off Clark and Bill Blalock to win by one stroke at Achasta Golf Club in Dahlonega. He became the first player to win the Senior Championship five times, after pocketing three-straight titles from 2003 to ‘05 and adding a fourth in 2007.
Sappington also won the Georgia Super Senior Championship for the second time in the three-year history of the competition for the 65-and-over set. He held on to his first-round lead at Polo Golf and Country Club in Cumming to edge Don Marsh by one stroke.
Sappington earned points for finishing tied for 11th overall (seventh among amateurs) in the Yamaha Georgia Senior Open at Callaway Gardens.
Though not a point-earning event, Sappington was selected to represent Georgia in the biennial Southeastern Challenge Match.
Junior Player of the Year: Scott Wolfes, St. Simons Island By winning his second-straight Georgia Junior Championship in 2010, Scott Wolfes of St. Simons Island cruised to his first Junior Player of the Year title.
Wolfes birdied the 18th hole in the final round of the Junior Championship at Green Island Country Club in Columbus, breaking a tie with Davin White to successfully defend his title.
Wolfes nearly made it a statewide Junior sweep, finishing tied for third at the Georgia PGA Junior Championship, finishing six strokes back of the champion. He also made good on his earned exemption into the Georgia Amateur Championship, advancing to the weekend rounds and finishing tied for 24th overall.
Wolfes tied for medalist honors at a qualifier in Florida to earn a spot in the U.S. Junior Amateur Championship for the first time. There he advanced to the match play portion of the Championship, enduring three close matches before falling to the eventual runner-up in the quarterfinals.
Wolfes also represented the state in the Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match for the second-consecutive year.
Wolfes will graduate from Glynn Academy in 2011 and has signed a letter-of-intent to play golf at Georgia Southern University in Statesboro.
Girls’ Player of the Year: Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale Many outstanding golfers have won multiple Player of the Year honors over time, but only three could previously say they earned the title outright at least four years in a row, including David Noll Jr. (Men’s Player of the Year 2007-10), Vicki Goetze (Women’s Player of the Year 1989-92) and Laura Coble (Women’s Player of the Year 1998-2007). Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale now joins that elite group with her fourth-straight Girls’ Player of the Year honor.
After winning consecutive titles in the Georgia Women’s Golf Association Amateur Championship in 2008 and ‘09, Stackhouse tied for runner-up honors in 2010, just one stroke back of champion Kendall Wright.
Stackhouse also came close to defending her title at the Yamaha Georgia Women’s Open, placing third, two strokes off the pace of champion Emilie Burger.
Stackhouse qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Championship for the third time in five years, and advanced to the second round of match play.
Also in 2010, Stackhouse received the unique opportunity to participate in the Mojo 6 – a new event featuring LPGA players. Stackhouse traveled to Jamaica and competed in six-hole matches versus professionals Amanda Blumenherst, Cristie Kerr and Suzann Pettersen.