EAST LANSING – Will Preston of Grand Rapids won his first Golf Association of Michigan tournament while Lauren Timpf of Macomb won her fourth consecutive GAM junior golf title over the last two seasons.
They topped the field of 32 boys and 16 girls who played in the fourth 14 & Under Match Play Championship Monday and Tuesday at Woodside Golf Club.
“In all three matches I had I played pretty well and was able to finish all of them through seven or eight holes,” the 14-year-old Preston said after turning back Vibhav Alokam of Ypsilanti 2 and 1 in the nine-hole boys championship flight final match Tuesday.
“I got the lead in all of them and that’s really important in a nine-hole match. It feels good to win. I’m off to a good start this summer and I just hope to continue it.”
Timpf, meanwhile, made four birdies in eight holes and topped Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor 2 and 1 in the girls championship flight final match.
“I’ve practiced a lot for this and I feel like my hard work is paying off,” Timpf said. “I’m very grateful that I’m able to win some of these tournaments. I played well in the final match. My approach shots were pretty tight and I was able to make my putts.”
Preston, who will be a freshman at Grand Rapids Catholic Central in the fall, reached the finals with a 2 and 1 win over Gowtham Nalluri of Novi in the morning semifinal Tuesday.
Alokam made it to the finals by turning back Tyler Brody of Grand Blanc 3 and 2 in the other semifinal. Brody went on to top Nalluri 2 and 1 in the consolation match to finish in third place.
Timpf reached the girls final by topping Riley Hayden of Troy 1-up in the morning round of matches, and Melendez made it to the finals by beating Laura Liu of Rochester Hills in 10 holes. Liu went on to take third with a 3 and 1 win over Hayden in the consolation match.
Preston, who was second in the 15-and-under age division in the GAM Junior Kickoff to start the season, said the putts he made on Nos. 2 and 3 turned the championship match with Vibhav in his favor.
“They were both about 10-feet for birdie and I made both of them,” he said. “That’s how I pulled ahead. I’d like to thank all the playing partners I had. They were good matches. I just got the lead on all of them and held on.”
The 13-year-old Timpf, who is playing starting Saturday in the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship, birdied the third hole, the fifth, the sixth and the eighth holding off Melendez in the final.
“On six my approach shot was to about one foot,” said Timpf, who this year has also won her age groups in the GAM Junior Kickoff and last week’s Michigan Girls Junior State Amateur, and ended last year with the age win in the GAM Junior Invitational.
“I hit a sand wedge in there from 87 yards. That was a big shot and then on No. 8 (par 3) I hit my tee shot short, and then my chip was not very good. I made about a 10-footer for par though and that was definitely big. I was able to end the match.”
Champions were also crowned in three other flights for boys and one other for the girls. Complete results can be found here: PAIRINGS, RESULTS
-Greg Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org