Dori Carter, Laura Coble and Mariah Stackhouse Share GSGA’s Tommy Barnes Award Four other golfers earn GSGA Player of the Year Honors
MARIETTA, Ga. – Three highly successful golfers were selected as the shared recipients of the 2009 Tommy Barnes Award after capturing a national championship for the state of Georgia. Dori Carter of Valdosta, Laura Coble of Augusta and Mariah Stackhouse of Riverdale teamed up to win the USGA Women’s State Team Championship at Sycamore Hills Golf Club in Fort Wayne, Ind., last September. The trio was announced as the winners and honored at the GSGA’s Players of the Year Luncheon, held at Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta on January 23, 2010.
Team Georgia became the first state to win multiple titles in the biennial competition that’s been conducted since 1995. Georgia won the 2005 title at Berkeley Hall in Bluffton, S.C., with a team that also featured Coble.
Georgia led wire-to-wire but South Carolina and Hawaii trailed by only three strokes going into the final round. Carter made the uphill climb a little more difficult for their competitors, shooting 4-under-par 32 on the outward nine. She eventually got it to 6-under for the round after making three consecutive birdies from No. 13. Carter finished as the individual medalist by two strokes, shooting 69-76-69 for 2-under-par 214 for the Championship.
Stackhouse triple-bogeyed the par-3 fourth hole and stood at 4-over for the round. But she then played her final 14 holes in 6-under, making four consecutive birdies from No. 7, including a chip-in at the eighth and a 30-footer from the fringe at the ninth. She also added birdies at the par-5 12th and 15th holes for her 2-under 70 for the round, good enough for a tie for sixth place in the individual standings. Coble finished 11th overall.
GSGA senior director Sissi Gann of Kathleen, who served as captain of the successful Georgia squad, called this her “dream team.” And the team members’ track records in all levels of competition in 2009 certainly backed up her claim. Coble is also the 2009 GSGA Women’s Player of the Year for the 11th time, while Stackhouse captured her third consecutive GSGA Girls’
Player of the Year title. Carter finished second in the women’s standings behind Coble, earning points for her runner-up finish in the Georgia Women’s Top 60 Classic, her fifth-place showing at the Georgia Women’s Open and runner-up finish (falling in a playoff to Stackhouse) at the Georgia Women’s Golf Association (GWGA) Amateur Championship. Carter also qualified and advanced to match play at the U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship.
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.
David Noll Jr. of Dalton captured his third-straight and fifth overall GSGA Men’s Player of the Year award in 2009 with five strong performances on the state level. Only current Champions Tour player Allen Doyle owns more, with seven Player of the Year titles from 1983-92.
Noll started the season by tying for seventh at the Georgia Four-Ball Championship with partner Doug Green, marking their fourth top-10 finish in the last five years. With a tie for eighth at the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship, Noll posted his fourth-straight and sixth overall top-10 finish in that event.
In the Georgia Amateur Championship, Noll, the 2003 champion, finished runner-up to defending champion Russell Henley, marking his fifth-consecutive top-6 finish in the state’s most prestigious amateur event. In the Georgia Open, Noll tied for low amateur honors, finishing 11th overall.
Noll successfully defended his title at the Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship, becoming the first golfer in a decade to do so and just the seventh player in the 91-year history of the tournament to capture three titles. He won his first Atlanta Amateur in 2005.
Noll also represented the GSGA in the biennial Billy Peters Cup Matches and led his Dalton Golf and Country Club team to their second Georgia Team Championship in three years.
After a one-year hiatus following 10 straight Women’s Player of the Year titles, Coble is back atop the standings, cruising to the title in 2009.
Coble won two GSGA statewide events, posted top-5 finishes in two others and qualified for two national championships, advancing to the finals in one.
Coble started the season by winning the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship in 21 holes over Stackhouse, the two-time defending champion.
It was Coble’s seventh title in the 12-year history of the event.
Coble captured her fourth Greater Atlanta Women’s Amateur Championship with a two-stroke victory over Ashley Medders. She also earned points for finishing fifth at the Georgia Top 60 Women’s Classic, 12th in the Georgia Women’s Open and fifth in the GWGA Championship.
On the national level – in addition to her success at the USGA State Team Championship – Coble qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur for the second-straight year and third time since 2005. But she made her mark at the
2009 U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, where she advanced to the final match to face a former Georgian, Martha Leach, who went on to win 3 and 2.
It was Coble’s best career finish in a USGA individual national championship.
Oliver Schniederjans of Powder Springs came up just short in his bid to win the Georgia Junior Championship, but strong performances in other events garnered him enough points to earn GSGA’s Junior Player of the Year title for 2009.
The 16-year-old Schniederjans finished runner-up in the state Junior, four strokes back of champion Scott Wolfes. It marked the second time in three years he finished among the top six. He did, however, capture the Georgia PGA Junior Championship, shooting 11-under-par 133 for a three-stroke victory at Cartersville Country Club.
Schniederjans also qualified for the U.S. Junior Amateur, finishing third in stroke-play qualifying before dropping his first round in match play.
The teenager capped off his GSGA season by becoming the youngest winner in the history of the Georgia Public Links Championship. Schniederjans carded rounds of 66-68 to win by two strokes.
Stackhouse won her third-straight GSGA Girls’ Player of the Year title, thanks to victories in two statewide Championships and a runner-up finish in another. She becomes the first golfer to capture the honor three times since the Girls’ Player of the Year award was established in 1994.
Stackhouse, who won the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship in 2007 and ’08, took Coble to 21 holes before falling in the final match to finish as runner-up.
Stackhouse made history at the Georgia Women’s Open, becoming the youngest champion in the 15-year history of the event. She outlasted professional Jackie Szymoniak in a one-hole playoff to pocket the title after shooting 5-under 139 over the first 36 holes.
It took a late rally and yet another playoff, but Stackhouse also successfully defended her GWGA Amateur Championship title. Stackhouse trailed Carter by five shots during the final round but managed to even things up after 54 holes of regulation. In the three-hole aggregate playoff, Stackhouse trailed Carter by a stroke going into the final hole, but birdied the hole to secure her second-straight playoff victory in this event.
GSGA’s senior division welcomed a new champion and new Senior Player of the Year in 2009 in Jimmy Thomas of Johns Creek. Thomas won the Georgia Senior Championship at Green Island Country Club in Columbus in an exciting finish over perennial contender and second-round leader Spencer Sappington. Thomas trailed Sappington by one stroke entering the final round, but also had to contend with another past Senior Player of the Year, Jerry Greenbaum, who made a charge over the front nine to take the lead. When Greenbaum fell back late in the round, Sappington made a rally of his own to tie Thomas for the lead going into the final hole. Sappington couldn’t get up and down for par on 18, while Thomas, just needing par, sank his 20-foot birdie putt for the two-shot margin of victory.
Thomas’ victory was indeed special, considering that he had overcome neck cancer in the previous year, enduring surgery, chemotherapy and radiation treatments while wondering if he would even be able to play golf again. He called his victory at Green Island a “great testimony.”
Though not a point-earning event, Thomas also participated on the GSGA squad for the Billy Peters Cup Matches, which notched its fourth-straight victory over the Georgia PGA.
2009 marks the third-straight year Brenda Pictor of Marietta has won at least a share of GSGA’s Senior Women’s Player of the Year honor. She shared the title with Darlene Werhnyak in 2007 before winning it outright in 2008.
She had no trouble securing the title this year, with nearly three times as many points as the second-place finisher in the standings.
Pictor also won her second GSGA Senior Women’s Championship in three years, with a three-stroke victory over Patti Huxford. She posted strong finishes at the Greater Atlanta Women’s Amateur Championship (tied for ninth) and the Georgia Top 60 Women’s Classic (sixth). She also earned points for her top-20 finish at the GWGA Amateur Championship.
On the national stage, Pictor advanced to the semifinals of the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur, winning four matches after tying for 23rd in stroke-play qualifying. She also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, winning her first match in 19 holes before falling in the second round.
Pictor also represented the state in the Georgia-Florida Women’s Team
Matches for the second-straight year.
Founded in 1916, the Georgia State Golf Association (GSGA) received its official charter on June 24, 1924. Since that date, the GSGA has grown to one of the largest state amateur golf associations in the country, with over 350 member clubs and 85,000 individual members. With a mission to promote and preserve amateur golf in the state of Georgia, GSGA offers a computerized handicapping service, course rating and measuring, and annually conducts a full schedule of statewide competitions for men and women of all age groups. Other services include a summer-long junior sectional program, award-winning Golf Georgia magazine, membership recognition and rewards programs and a charitable foundation administering two college scholarship programs.
Tommy Barnes Award History
1998 Bill Roberts, Pine Mountain
1999 Bill Ploeger, Columbus
2000 Laura Coble, Augusta
2001 Rick Cloninger, Dacula
2002 Bill Ploeger, Columbus
2003 Brian Harman, Savannah
2004 Spencer Sappington, Alpharetta
2005 Laura Coble, Augusta
2006 Dave Womack, McDonough
2007 Mark Strickland, Woodstock
2008 David Noll Jr., Dalton
2009 Dori Carter, Valdosta; Laura Coble, Augusta; Mariah Stackhouse,
2009 Players of the Year Final Points Standings Top five and ties listed – complete final standings available at www.gsga.org
Men’s Player of the Year
David Noll Jr., Dalton 550
Matt Nagy, Buena Vista 450
Mark Strickland, Woodstock 450
Jeff Knox, Augusta 400
Russell Henley, Macon 350
Women’s Player of the Year
Laura Coble, Augusta 1,450
Dori Carter, Valdosta 850
Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale 800
Emilie Burger, Hoschton 550
Kaley Branton, Cartersville 450
Brenda Pictor, Marietta 450
Junior Player of the Year
Oliver Schniederjans, Powder Springs 350
Anders Albertson, Woodstock 275
Scott Wolfes, St. Simons Island 150
Blaine Woodruff, Acworth 75
Michael Garretson, Acworth 75
Will Evans, McDonough 75
Jack Walsh, Lawrenceville 75
Cole Hunsucker, Kennesaw 75
Girls’ Player of the Year
Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale 800
Rinko Mitsunaga, Roswell 400
Amira Alexander, Alpharetta 250
Abby Johnson, Braselton 250
Anna Leigh Keith, Moultrie 200
Senior Player of the Year
Jimmy Thomas, Johns Creek 250
Larry Clark, Kingston 200
Spencer Sappington, Milton 175
Bill Ploeger, Columbus 175
Bill Leonard, Kennesaw 150
Karl Simon, Lawrenceville 150
Bobby Brent, Columbus 150
Senior Women’s Player of the Year
Brenda Pictor, Marietta 950
Mary Helen McElreath, Augusta 325
Ginette Spinucci, Stone Mountain 250
Patti Huxford, Cumming 250
Sue King, Chatsworth 200
Mary Riley, Perry 200