“I look at it more now as how do I move forward next year with the opportunities it has afforded and the full golf schedule I have,” Gunthorpe said. “Of course when I think about what happened it still burns. I don’t think that will ever go away. It was the not the result I wanted. I was right there.”
Gunthorpe, who made bogeys on the final two holes and lost 1-up to Gene Elliott of Iowa in the heartbreaking championship match, has been named the Golf Association of Michigan’s Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
The Lansing area plumbing and heating company owner, a GAM member through Owosso Country Club, led the senior men’s point list presented by Carl’s Golfland with 683 points.
Tom Gieselman of Commerce Township and Oakland Hills Country Club, who made news with Gunthorpe by reaching the quarterfinals of the Senior Amateur, was second with 450.
David LeVan of Ann Arbor and Barton Hills Country Club, who won the GAM Senior Match Play Championship, was third with 393, and GAM Senior Champion Steve Maddalena of Jackson and Country Club of Jackson, who had 387 points, and Randy Lewis of Alma and Pine River Country Club, who had 240 points, rounded out the top five.
“Player of the year is not something I strive for but it is a kind of validation for the year,” he said. “It’s always good to be on top of a list, but I’m usually focused on just playing my best and how I can do better next year and keep moving forward.”
GAM Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. In the last two weeks Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the Women’s Player of the Year, James Piot of Canton was named the Men’s Player of the Year and Terry Delcamp of Grand Blanc was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Gunthorpe plans to take advantage of the exemptions that came his way from his finish in the Senior Amateur. He plans to play in the U.S. Senior Open, the U.S. Amateur and the Senior Amateur again, and possibly the British Senior Amateur overseas.
“We’re going to see what is all possible and my first focus will be the U.S. Senior Open (Saucon Valley Country Club in Pennsylvania),” he said. “I look forward to preparing for that, hopefully getting good practice rounds in and seeing how I do in that competition.”
Last winter Gunthorpe traveled south and played in three Golfweek senior tournaments and plans to do the same again this winter as well as take advantage of a few national invites as U.S. Senior Am runner-up.
“I think playing with those guys, gaining the experience against them and realizing I could play with them last winter helped me this last summer, so hopefully this winter will help me next summer,” he said.
Gunthorpe isn’t sure what to attribute his success in golf to at age 58.
“I keep thinking I’ve competed my entire life and I’m able to compete more now and play more now,” he said. “I still hit it a long ways and that’s an advantage with the older guys. Last summer I put together some of my best scores ever in competition. There’s a comfort level I’ve reached and things are clicking. I do what I do, prepare and the results seem to follow.”
Hartmann said Gunthorpe might have surprised some people with his run in the Senior Amateur, but he wasn’t surprised.
“First of all I don’t think he looks 58 and he hits it like a much younger guy,” he said. “He stays in great shape. He has had to pick and choose when and where he can play in our championships over the years because he runs a company, but when he plays he is always near the top of the leaderboard.”
Hartmann also feels Gunthorpe will look back one day on his runner-up finish as a great accomplishment.
“So many golfers wish they could get that close,” he said. “It’s not easy to get that far. It is tough. He did really well and he will realize everyone was cheering for him and rooting for him. Everybody knows he’s a good guy and that he did something exceptional.”