Knox, Highsmith lead list of the 2021 Washington Players of Year

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Updated: December 1, 2021

Washington Golf (WA Golf) has announced the Player of the Year award recipients for 2021. The category winners are as follows: Women’s, Kennedy Knox of Normandy Park; Men’s, Joe Highsmith of Lakewood; Women’s Mid-Amateur, Jacqueline Bendrick of Mercer Island; Men’s Mid-Amateur, Mark Strickland of Everett; Senior Women’s, Susan Craven of Mukilteo; Senior Men’s, Tom Brandes of Bellevue; Junior Girls’, Kennedy Knox; and Junior Boys’, Ethan Evans of Mercer Island.

Women’s & Junior Girls’ Player of the Year: Kennedy Knox. Knox, who just started her freshman season on the University of Washington Women’s Golf Team, enjoyed a historic 2021 golf season. She won the Washington Women’s Amateur, the Seattle Women’s Golf Association City Championship, the Washington Junior Golf Association Girls’ State Championship and the Pacific Northwest Junior Girls’ Amateur, making her the first golfer ever to make a clean sweep of the four respective championships in the same season.

Men’s Player of the Year: Joe Highsmith. This marks the second time Highsmith has been named the Men’s Player of the Year, after he earned the honor back in 2019. In 2021, Highsmith qualified for and played in the U.S. Open, finished runner-up at the Pacific Coast Amateur, made the Sweet Sixteen 16 at the Western Amateur and finished as a quarterfinalist at the North and South Amateur. Highsmith is a current senior on the Pepperdine Waves Men’s Golf Team and helped lead the team to an NCAA title last spring.

Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Jacqueline Bendrick. Bendrick, just 25 years old, earned the Women’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year award in her first year as an eligible Mid-Amateur. She won the Washington Women’s Mid-Amateur, finished runner-up at the Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur and made the Round of 16 at the U.S. Women’s Mid-Amateur.

Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year: Mark Strickland. A regular competitor on the mid-amateur circuit, Strickland put together an impressive 2021 to take home this year’s Men’s Mid-Amateur Player of the Year award. He won the Pacific Northwest Men’s Mid-Amateur, made the Round of 16 at the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur and finished in 2nd place at the Washington Men’s Champion of Champions.

Senior Women’s Player of the Year: Susan Craven. Craven won the Washington Senior Women’s Amateur, earned medalist honors in Qualifying for the U.S. Senior Women’s Amateur and made the quarterfinals at the Pacific Northwest Women’s Mid-Amateur. This is the first time she has received the Senior Women’s Player of the Year award.

Senior Men’s Player of the Year: Tom Brandes.  This is the 11th time that Brandes has received the Senior Men’s Player of the Year award. He won the Washington Senior Men’s Amateur for the eighth time, won the Pacific Northwest Senior Men’s Amateur for the sixth time and finished runner-up at the Senior Washington Open.

Junior Boys’ Player of the Year: Ethan Evans. Evans won the Washington Junior Golf Association Boys’ State Championship and finished runner-up at the Pacific Northwest Junior Boys’ Amateur. He finished in 2nd place against a strong field at the AJGA Justin Thomas Junior, made the Round of 32 at the Pacific Northwest Men’s Amateur and finished in the top-30 at the Western Junior Amateur.