MARIETTA, Ga. - In a year that included many dominating performances, Chris Waters of Atlanta was selected as the Tommy Barnes Award winner, signifying the Georgia State Golf Association's overall player of the year for 2017. Waters was honored at the GSGA's Player of the Year Luncheon, held at Cherokee Town Club in Atlanta on January 20, 2018.
Waters enjoyed a consistent year in GSGA competitions. He finished tied for ninth at the Georgia Amateur Championship held at West Lake Country Club in Augusta, and finished in a tie for 14th at the Georgia Mid-Amateur Championship at Cartersville Country Club. Another top-10 showing came at the Georgia Public Links Championship, where he came in sixth at Southern Hills Golf Club in Hawkinsville. He made it to the semifinals of the Atlanta Amateur Match Play Championship at Rivermont Golf Club in Johns Creek. Waters' best finish of the year was earning runner-up honors (with partner Billy Mitchell of Roswell) at the Georgia Four-Ball Championship at The Golf Club of Georgia in Alpharetta.
On the national circuit, Waters qualified for the U.S. Amateur Championship at The Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., where he made it to the round of 64.
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 1949 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 the 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, the 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.
Seven other golfers received GSGA Player of the Year distinction and were honored during the luncheon. Players of the Year are annually awarded in seven categories: Men, Women, Junior, Girls', Senior Men, Super Senior Men and Senior Women.
Men's Player of the Year: Chris Waters, Atlanta
Chris Waters of Atlanta put together another consistent year placing in the top 15 in four GSGA Championships. He also advanced to match play at the 2017 U.S. Amateur Championship.
Women's Player of the Year: Payton Schanen, Alpharetta
Payton Schanen of Alpharetta a Mercer University golfer, won her second-straight Georgia Women's Amateur Championship and placed in the top 5 in the Georgia Women's Open.
Junior Co-Players of the Year: Beck Burnette, Blairsville & Brandon Cho, Suwanee
Beck Burnette of Blairsville captured the Georgia PGA Junior Boys' Championship. Brandon Cho of Suwanee became the youngest winner in the history of the Georgia Junior Championship.
Girls' Player of the Year: Caroline Craig, Sautee Nacoochee
Caroline Craig of Sautee Nachoochee had a strong year with a runner-up finish in the Georgia Women's Match Play Championship and placed seventh in the Georgia Girls' Championship.
Senior Men's of the Year: Bob Royak, Alpharetta
Bob Royak of Alpharetta captured his first individual GSGA title by winning the 2017 Georgia Senior Championship. He also advanced to the round of 32 at the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship.
Super Senior Men's Player of the Year: Frank Costanzo, Savannah
Frank Costanzo of Savannah captured his first individual GSGA title in thrilling fashion at Big Canoe Golf Club, winning the Georgia Super Senior Championship in a playoff.
Senior Women's Player of the Year: Laura Coble, Augusta
Laura Coble of Augusta continues to add to her stellar resume. She captured the Georgia Senior Women's Match Play Championship and earned runner-up honors in the Georgia Top 60 Women's Classic. She is a Georgia Golf Hall of Famer and a Georgia Sports Hall of Famer.