The Washington State Golf Association (WSGA) has announced the 2015 Player of the Year recipients. The category winners are as follows: Men’s, Charles Kern of Mercer Island; Women’s, Alivia Brown of Gig Harbor; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Reid Hatley of Hayden Lake, Idaho; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Amanda Jacobs of Seattle; Senior Men’s, Tom Brandes of Bellevue; Senior Women’s, Karen Madison of East Wenatchee; Junior Boys’, Sam Warkentin of Bainbridge Island; and Junior Girls’, Kenedee Peters of Ephrata.
Charles Kern, Men’s Player of the Year
Charles had a very solid season claiming one victory and finishing near the top in competitions that featured strong fields. He began the Western Swing by finishing T7 at his home course in the Sahalee Players Championship, which always draws a strong field of amateur players. He then went on to earn Medalist honors in the stroke play portion of the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship and made it to the semifinals of match play in that event. Two weeks later, Kern played in the Pacific Coast Amateur Championship which featured some of the top amateur golfers in the world, placing T27 in the 82-man field. Charles’ season culminated with a victory in the Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship held on the Rope Rider course at Suncadia Resort. Charles began the final day five strokes behind leader Joe Harvie, and fell as far as eight back before rallying to win the state’s championship by two strokes. In his speech after winning the championship, Kern announced that the victory concluded his amateur career and that he would pursue professional golf.
Alivia Brown, Women’s Player of the Year
Alivia won the Washington State Women’s Amateur Championship, held at the Cedars at Dungeness in Sequim, Wash., and did so in dominating fashion, shooting a three-day total of 3-under par, winning by a margin of eight strokes. The Washington State University freshman then went on an impressive run in the match-play bracket to finish runner-up in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Amateur by defeating 2014 Pacific Northwest Women’s Player of the Year Gigi Stoll in the first round; Haley Nist, the 2014 Idaho Women’s State Champion in the Round of 16; Washington State University teammate, Bree Wandersheid in the Quarterfinals; and Gabby Barker, the stroke play Medalist and winner of the 2015 Idaho Women’s State Championship. In the championship match with Brooke Hamilton, Alivia found herself 5-up at one point, only to lose steam after a long week of golf and lost the match on the 36th hole. For the WSU women’s golf team, Alivia had a stellar year, finishing the season with a scoring average of 74.74, the lowest by a freshman in WSU history and the fifth-best by any Cougar in school history.
Reid Hatley, Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
Reid had a busy and consistent 2015 season. He finished third in the Washington State Champion of Champions, T5 in the Washington State Men’s Amateur Championship, and made it to the Round of 16 in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur Championship. In Mid-Amateur competitions, Reid finished T3 in the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur, third in the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur, and finished as Medalist in a U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship Qualifier. The highlight of Reid’s summer came in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in Vero Beach, Fla., where he opened the stroke play portion of the event with a 69 and then went on to win his first match before being eliminated in the Round of 32. Reid also teamed up with Nate Hair of Edwall, Wash. to qualify for next year’s U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship, which will be held at Winged Foot Golf Club in New York.
Amanda Jacobs, Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year
Amanda repeats as the recipient of this honor, backing up last year’s Player of the Year award by providing some great results throughout this season. She finished fourth in the BC Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, Runner-up in the Seattle Women’s Golf Association City Championship, Runner-up in the Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship, and then won the Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship held at Fairwood Golf & Country Club in Renton. Amanda repeated her other successes from last year, finishing Medalist in the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur Qualifier and then making it into the Round of 32. Jacobs also represented Washington State in the biannual USGA Women’s State Team Championship in Missouri where she finished T24 individually and also recorded a hole-in-one.
Tom Brandes, Senior Men’s Player of the Year
Tom is no stranger to Player of the Year awards. He has won the Washington State Senior Men’s Player of the Year award the last five seasons in a row, and he certainly earned his sixth this season. Tom finished T3 in the Washington State Champion of Champions, T4 in the Washington Senior Open, third in the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur Championship, then went on to finish as a semifinalist at the PNGA Men’s Master-40 Amateur, and champion of the Washington State Men’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Tom also finished as Medalist in a U.S. Senior Amateur Qualifier which took him to Egg Harbor Township in New Jersey. In the U.S. Senior Amateur, Tom had an amazingly successful week and battled his way into the final match against Chip Lutz. He fell to Lutz in the final match, but earned Runner-up honors, capping off his 2015 season, possibly his best yet.
Karen Madison, Senior Women’s Player of the Year
Karen was impressive in her first season playing in WSGA events. She began by winning the Washington State Senior Women’s Champion of Champions, and then went on to finish fifth at the Washington State Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship. Her season ended on a high note, surviving a three-hole playoff to capture the Pacific Northwest Super Senior Women’s Amateur Championship at Everett Golf & Country Club.
Sam Warkentin, Junior Boys’ Player of the Year
Sam is another repeat honoree this year, once again dominating the junior ranks in Washington to earn his second consecutive WSGA Junior Boys’ Player of the Year award. He was a semifinalist and Co-Medalist in the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur Championship at Wildhorse Resort in Pendleton, Ore. He
finished third in both the Junior America’s Cup and the WJGA Eastern Open. Sam made the cut in the IMG Academy Junior World Championship, finishing 44 th among an elite field of junior golfers. His Runner-up finish in the AJGA Ryan Moore Invitational is topped by his victories at the WJGA Western Open, WJGA State Championship and the WIAA 3A (High School) State Championship.
Kenedee Peters, Junior Girls’ Player of the Year
Kenedee had a very good 2015 season which saw her qualify for the IMG Academy Junior World Championship, as well as the U.S. Girls’ Junior Amateur. Kenedee finished eighth at the Girl’s Junior America’s Cup, won two WJGA Sub-District events, finished third in the WJGA Eastern Open and fourth in the WJGA Western Open. She then solidified her position as the state’s best with victories in the WJGA State Championship and in the WIAA 2A (High School) State Championship.
The WSGA Championship Committee meets annually in early October to vote and select the Players of the Year for the WSGA 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 WSGA Performance Points list is used as the primary guide for the selection. Since the WSGA does not have a performance points list for juniors, the WSGA receives the nominations for selection from the Washington Junior Golf Association.