Federal Way, Wash. – Washington Golf (WA Golf) has announced the 2019 Player of the Year recipients. The category winners are as follows: Men’s, Joe Highsmith of Lakewood; Women’s, Emily Baumgart of Walla Walla; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Tina Papatolis of Issaquah; Senior Men’s, Tom Brandes of Bellevue; Senior Women’s, Leslie Folsom of Tukwila; Junior Boys’, Ian Siebers of Bellevue; and Junior Girls’, Gihoe Seo of Mercer Island.
The recipients will be honored at the 98th WA Golf Annual Meeting, which is being held Saturday, November 2, at Sahalee Country Club in Sammamish, Wash.
Click here for a complete list of accomplishments of this year’s WA Golf Player of the Year recipients.
Men’s Player of the Year
Joe Highsmith (Lakewood)
- Highsmith, a sophomore at Pepperdine University, had top-10 finishes at the NCAA DI Regional and Sunnehanna Amateur, and top-25 finishes at the Northeast Amateur, Western Amateur and NCAA DI National Championship. He was a sectional qualifying medalist in the U.S. Amateur, a quarterfinalist in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur, and crowned his season by winning the Sahalee Players Championship. Highsmith was twice named WA Golf’s Junior Boys’ Player of the Year (2016, 2017).
Women’s Player of the Year
Emily Baumgart (Walla Walla)
- Baumgart was the stroke-play medalist in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur, and would eventually make it to that championship’s quarterfinals. She had a top-10 finish in the Washington Women’s Amateur, and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur. Baumgart is a redshirt junior on the Washington State University women’s golf team.
Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
Reid Hatley (Hayden Lake, Idaho)
- This is the fifth year in a row that Hatley has earned this honor. He won the Oregon Open, tied for sixth in the Northwest Open, and tied for 15th in the Rosauers Invitational, all competing against the region’s PGA club professionals. Hatley won the Washington Amateur, and finished fifth in the Mexican Amateur.
Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
Tina Papatolis (Issaquah)
- Papatolis won this year’s Washington Women’s Mid-Amateur, and qualified for the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur, making the Round of 64 in that national championship. She was a semifinalist in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur. Papatolis won the GSWPGA Championship, and finished third in the Washington Women’s Champion of Champions.
Senior Men’s Player of the Year
Tom Brandes (Bellevue)
- This is the ninth time that Brandes has received this award. He won this year’s Washington Senior Amateur, the sixth time he has won the championship. He tied for third in the Senior Washington Open, had top-10 finishes in both the Pacific Northwest and Washington Men’s Mid-Amateurs, and finished fourth in the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur.
Senior Women’s Player of the Year
Leslie Folsom (Tukwila)
- This is the second consecutive year Folsom has received this honor. She won twice this year, the Pacific Northwest Senior Women’s Amateur and the WSWGA Senior Championship. She was a qualifying medalist for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur, making it to the Round of 32 in that national championship. She also qualified for the U.S. Senior Women’s Open, and was one of four amateurs selected to play in the LPGA’s 2019 Suquamish Clearwater Legends Cup. Folsom was previously named WA Golf’s Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year in 2012 and 2013.
Junior Boys’ Player of the Year
Ian Siebers (Bellevue)
- Siebers has now received this award for the second year in a row. He won the individual title in the 2019 Junior America’s Cup, and was selected to play on the U.S. team in the Junior Presidents Cup. Siebers was the medalist at the WJGA Junior World Qualifier, and had top-10 finishes in five AJGA and WJGA events. He made it to the quarterfinals in the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur.
Junior Girls’ Player of the Year
Gihoe Seo (Mercer Island)
- Seo won four titles this season, the Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur, WJGA Players Open, WJGA District 2 Championship, and the WJGA Tournament of Champions. She also finished fourth in both the WJGA State Championship and the WJGA Western Open.
The WA Golf Championship Committee meets annually in early October to vote and select the Players of the Year in the categories of Men’s, Women’s, Senior Men’s, Senior Women’s, Men’s Mid-Amateur, Women’s Mid-Amateur, Junior Boys’ and Junior Girls’. The WA Golf Performance Points list is used as the primary guide for the selection. Since WA Golf does not have a performance points list for juniors, WA Golf receives the nominations for selection from the Washington Junior Golf Association.
Founded in 1922, WA Golf is a 501c4 non-profit, amateur golf association governed by men and women volunteers. Serving nearly 70,000 individual members at more than 650 member golf clubs and 270 golf courses throughout the state of Washington and Northern Idaho, WA Golf works to continually expand the game of golf to people of all backgrounds.
WA Golf also serves as a statewide representative of the United States Golf Association and works closely with a number of allied associations within the golf industry for the betterment of the game.