Spring Lake’s Nick Krueger Tops 2022 Men’s Points List
FARMINGTON HILLS – Just prior to playing and winning the 2022 Michigan Amateur Championship Spring Lake’s Nick Krueger had decided he wanted to play professional golf after his collegiate career at Grand Valley State University.
“Then playing the way I did and winning helped get rid of any doubts and the questions like should I try this,” he said. “The list of names on that trophy includes so many golfers who had pretty successful professional careers. That reinforced for me that I was headed in the right direction and it is something I want to pursue.”
The 21-year-old future professional who is currently a junior at GVSU with plans to maintain his amateur status through his senior year, topped the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Points List and has been named the 2022 GAM Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. Later this week the GAM Women’s Player of the Week will be announced, and over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Winning the Michigan Amateur by topping Patrick Deardorff of Clarkston and Eastern Michigan University in 19 holes in the championship match at Hawk Hollow in Bath, helped Krueger, a Spring Lake Country Club member, total 644 points for the summer.
August Meekhof of Eastmanville, a Michigan State University golfer whose GAM membership is through Wuskowhan Players Club near Holland, finished second with 625 points. He won the 2022 GAM Championship.
Bradley Smithson of Grand Rapids, another Michigan State golfer and member at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, was third with 615 points.
Rounding out the top five were Charles DeLong of DeWitt, a GVSU teammate of Krueger who is a member at The Meadows Golf Club at GVSU (499 points) and Coalter Smith of Grosse Pointe Farms and the University of Wisconsin, a member at Country Club of Detroit (419).
“I’m honored, it’s exciting and it means a lot,” Krueger said of being Player of the Year. “I worked really hard over the past year and it is cool to see some of the hard work is paying off.”
Krueger said having his complete game come together during the Michigan Amateur highlighted his summer.
“I struggled in stroke play as I worked through some things with my swing,” he said. “I felt pretty good about a lot of my game, but I needed ball-striking to come around and for some reason in match play everything clicked at the right moment. I was able to rely on every part of my game. It’s special when you can play golf and not have to worry about a single part of the game. Normally things don’t always go right. There’s always something not going great, but for the first time in a tournament like that I was able to play and not have to protect against anything – just play to my strategy and let everything fall in place.”
Having competed for several years in GAM championships, Krueger said it was special to win one.
“The GAM events always have good fields, the best players from our state that are amateurs, and what helped me even more is that they are not easy to qualify for. You can be a good player and not qualify. The GAM events, the qualifiers, they force you to bring out your game when it is needed. It helps you set goals each year, get into match play at the amateur, win a match, win two, and in others maybe it’s making the cut. You set goals in them and work toward the ultimate goal of winning one.”
Krueger’s father Bill started him in the game before age 10, and golf has become the family game with his mother, Amy, and sister Kayla, also playing at Spring Lake Country Club.
“About the seventh grade or so I decided I wanted to pursue the game, practice and get better,” he said.
His father was his first teacher, followed by working with Josh Lathwell, the PGA professional at Spring Lake CC, for several years and now he spends time working with his GVSU head coach, Gary Bissell.
“My Dad, Josh and Coach Bissell have all helped me along the way and made sure I worked on the right things to get better,” he said.
Hartmann said he has watched Krueger continue to improve his game.
“He’s a great kid, and obviously a hard worker because his game keeps getting better every year, and it was nice to see it come together for him in the Michigan Amateur,” he said. “He’s not a big guy, not a bomber but he manages his game really well. He might not be the guy you see as the favorite, but he’s always been one of those you have to watch.”
Hartmann noted Lathwell’s programming at Spring Lake has helped several young GAM players.
“They have the Krueger family, the Kramer family and other families as well as other players from the club compete in our GAM championships, and Josh will tell you that he has watched Nick put in the hours on his game, too,” he said.