ATLANTA, Ga. – Dave Womack of McDonough is the winner of the Georgia State Golf Association’s 2006 Tommy Barnes Award, signifying GSGA’s overall player of the year. Womack was presented the award by the GSGA Championship Committee during the Association’s annual awards luncheon, held today at Cherokee Town Club.
Womack, 28, enjoyed a breakout year in 2006, with the crowning achievement of his season coming in September at the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship at Forest Highlands Golf Club in Flagstaff, Ariz. He advanced to match play as the 17th seed, then dispatched six-straight opponents – including fellow Georgian Ryan Hybl in the 36-hole final – to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur title.
Womack became the third Georgian to win the U.S. Mid-Amateur and the first in three years to win a USGA individual championship. His victory at the U.S. Mid-Amateur also garnered an invitation to compete in this year’s Masters Tournament at Augusta National Golf Club.
Womack’s Player of the Year campaign actually began in April at the Georgia Four-Ball Championship at Savannah’s Wilmington Island Club, where he teamed up with another McDonough resident, Michael Standard, to post a 13-under-par
203 and finish in a tie for seventh place. At the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship, Womack used an impressive, final-round 67 to vault from 18th in the standings into a tie for second, one stroke back. At the Georgia Amateur Championship at Coosa Country Club in Rome, Womack again used a final-round 67 to move into the top 10 in the final standings. Womack was also selected to represent Georgia in the Southeastern Challenge Match at Hawks Ridge Golf Club in Ball Ground, contributing four of five possible points in the state’s victory over Alabama and Florida.
Womack, a former Georgia State University golfer, tested the professional waters on mini-tours following graduation but regained his amateur status in 2003. Since that time, he’s been a consistent performer in statewide events, winning the Georgia Public Links Championship twice (2003, 2005) and posting several top-10 finishes in the Georgia Amateur, Mid-Amateur and Four-Ball Championships.
In addition to the Tommy Barnes Award, Womack shared GSGA Men’s Player of the Year honors with Mark Strickland of Woodstock. Strickland’s successful run to his first Player of the Year title began in May at the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship at Cartersville Country Club. Following rounds of 72-71, Strickland birdied the 54th hole to post a final-round 69 and win his first GSGA title by one stroke over Womack and Adam Thomas of Baxley. At the Georgia Amateur Championship, Strickland shot 3-over-par 283 to finish tied for 11th. He also picked up points at the 2006 U.S. Amateur Championship at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota, where his appearance in the round of 16 tied as the top performance by a Georgian in the event. Strickland clinched a tie for Player of the Year honors and became the first men’s player in five years to win multiple GSGA individual titles in one season when he captured the 85th annual Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship at Alpharetta’s White Columns Country Club. Like Womack, Strickland was selected to Georgia’s Southeastern Challenge Match team due to his strong performances during the season.
Augusta’s Laura Coble secured her ninth-consecutive GSGA Women’s Player of the Year award in 2006. But it came about differently than previous years’
honors, as she did not clinch the title until the final point-earning event of the season. For the first time in six years, Coble did not win the Georgia Women’s Match Play Championship at Sunset Hills Country Club in Carrollton, instead falling in the semifinals to eventual runner-up Christy Cheek of Eastman. Coble, who during 2006 was named the head women’s golf coach at her alma mater, Augusta State University, went on to post strong finishes in several state events, including a fourth-place showing at the Greater Atlanta Women’s Amateur Championship, runner-up honors at the Georgia Women’s Amateur Championship and a top-five finish at the Georgia Women’s Open. Coble clinched the Player of the Year honor after advancing to the quarterfinals of the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship for the second-straight year. She was Georgia’s top finisher at the 2006 event held at Old Waverly Golf Club in West Point, Miss.
Bill Leonard of Kennesaw picked up his first Georgia Senior Player of the Year title in 2006, thanks to two high finishes in statewide championships and a strong performance in a national competition. In May, Leonard tied for third and was the second-lowest amateur at the Yamaha Georgia Senior Open held at Planterra Ridge Golf Club in Peachtree City. A final-round 69 vaulted him into a fifth-place finish at the Georgia Senior Championship at Atlanta’s Cherokee Town and Country Club in August. Leonard put an exclamation point on his season at the USGA Senior Amateur Championship held at Victoria National Golf Club in Indiana. He shared medalist honors by shooting 143 in stroke-play qualifying, then advanced all the way to the semifinals of the championship, Georgia’s best showing in the event since Columbus’ Bill Ploeger appeared in the 2001 final. Near season’s end, Leonard was selected to represent Georgia in the Southeastern Challenge Match, helping Georgia to its fourth-straight win over Alabama and Florida.
Atlanta’s Claudeen Lindberg earned the Senior Women’s Player of the Year award for the third time in her career, becoming the first three-time honoree in the award’s history. She also became the first player to win the GSGA Senior Women’s Championship three times, capturing the 2006 title over Lawrenceville’s Darlene Wehrnyak with a birdie on the first playoff hole at Callaway Gardens in Pine Mountain. Lindberg posted a top-five finish at the Georgia Women’s Amateur Championship at Atlanta Athletic Club in Duluth, also earning low-senior honors. For the fourth-straight year, Lindberg qualified for the USGA Senior Women’s Amateur Championship, narrowly missing the match-play portion of the 2006 event held at Sea Island Golf Club.
Matt Nagy of Buena Vista was named GSGA’s 2006 Junior Player of the Year, his first such honor. At the Georgia Junior Championship held at The Landings Club in Savannah, Nagy carded rounds of 70-72-74 to finish runner-up by just one stroke to last year’s Junior Player of the Year, Russell Henley. However, Nagy edged Henley in the Player of the Year points standings, thanks to a tie for runner-up honors at the Westfield Georgia PGA Junior Championship. Due to his runner-up finish at the Georgia Junior Championship, Nagy also represented the state in the annual Georgia-South Carolina Junior Challenge Match held at Atlanta’s East Lake Golf Club.
Midland’s Stacey Kim captured her second-consecutive Georgia Girls’ Player of the Year honor due to three impressive performances on the national stage. The 15-year-old advanced through local and sectional qualifying – getting the final spot in a playoff – to earn a berth in the 2006 U.S.
Women’s Open held at Newport Country Club in Rhode Island. Kim also qualified for the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur and U.S. Women’s Amateur Championships, doing quite well in both. At the U.S. Girls’ Junior at Carmel Country Club in Charlotte, N.C., Kim tied for 12th in stroke-play qualifying to advance to match play. At the U.S. Women’s Amateur, held at Pumpkin Ridge in Oregon, she again made it to match play, winning her first match and falling in the second round to an eventual semifinalist.
The GSGA’s overall Player of the Year award, established in 1998, is named after legendary amateur Tommy Barnes of Atlanta. Among his many accomplishments, Barnes won the 1941 Georgia Amateur Championship and qualified for 16 consecutive U.S. Amateur Championships. The winner is selected by the GSGA Championship Committee from among the Players of the Year in each category.
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
365 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.
Georgia State Golf Association
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
2006 Players of the Year
Final Points Standings
Top five and ties listed – complete final standings available at www.gsga.org
Mark Strickland, Woodstock 725
Dave Womack, McDonough 725
Bill Brown, Dublin 400
Doug Hanzel, Savannah 375
Jeff Knox, Augusta 350
Laura Coble, Augusta 1000
Kyu Ri Ban, Duluth 900
Jean Reynolds, Newnan 600
Christy Cheek, Eastman 550
Margaret Shirley, Roswell 500
Matt Nagy, Buena Vista 175
Harris English, Thomasville 150
Russell Henley, Macon 150
Brendan Gillins, Savannah 125
Michael Lee, Columbus 100
Clark Palmer, Augusta 100
Stacey Kim, Midland 500
Jennifer Adyorough, Atlanta 200
Joy Kim, Duluth 150
Alei Mitchell, Waycross 150
Tess Fordham, Metter 125
Mariah Stackhouse, Riverdale 125
Bill Leonard, Kennesaw 425
Larry Clark, Kennesaw 325
Don Marsh, Alpharetta 240
Jerry Greenbaum, Atlanta 225
Wally Adams Jr., Vidalia 200
Claudeen Lindberg, Atlanta 600
Darlene Wehrnyak, Lawrenceville 525
Ena Harvey, Greensboro 300
Mary Riley, Perry 300
Ginette Spinucci, Stone Mountain 275
— www.gsga.org —
Joanna S. Capo
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