Written By: Greg Johnson
FARMINGTON HILLS – August Meekhof became just the 13th golfer in 102 years to win back-to-back GAM Championships and just the 10th Michigan golfer to win the GAM title and the Michigan Amateur Championship in the same summer.
“It felt great in the moment when I came from behind and won the GAM this summer,” said the Michigan State University golfer from Eastmanville near Grand Rapids.
“I didn’t have the greatest start. It was great to get both the GAM Championship and Michigan Am. The Am is something I wanted to win for a long time so doing that was such a great feeling, and then to win the GAM again was also pretty special. You are playing against the best guys in the state in both of those tournaments. It’s not easy to win when there are so many good players.”
His historic wins in the state’s top two amateur tournaments put him at the top of the GAM Points List for the season and he has been named the 2023 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. Earlier this week Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the 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.
Meekhof, 22 and a member at Wuskowhan Players Club, scored 685 points, and Jimmy Dales, a University of Wyoming golfer from Northville and a Meadowbrook Country Club member was second with 550 points.
University of Michigan golfer Will Anderson of Portage and Moors Golf Club, the runner-up to Meekhof in the Michigan Amateur, had 460 points to finish third. John Quigley of Sterling Heights and the Michigan Publinx Golf Association (430 points) and Yuqi Liu of Ann Arbor, a University of Michigan golfer and University of Michigan Golf Course member (420), rounded out the top five.
Meekhof said he will make a significant golf decision following the conclusion of his senior year of golf for MSU this spring.
“I’m planning to turn professional (in 2024), just not sure when yet,” he said. “There’s a lot to consider and think about. I might stay amateur for part of the summer, or I might turn pro when the (MSU) season is over. I just haven’t made the decision yet.”
The USGA offering an exemption to the 2024 U.S. Amateur to the winner of the Michigan Amateur in 2024 is something Meekhof said will be considered when he makes his decision on when to turn professional. He also has some college goals and individual goals to reach before the decision is made.
“I want to be more consistent,” he said. “I want to keep myself in contention even with bad rounds in college tournaments. I want to stay in the top 20 and have a chance to make comebacks like I did in the GAM. I’m looking for more of that, and I think it’s coming. Playing like I did in the summer tells me I improved and that I’m doing the right things to get better.”
Meekhof, a previous GAM Boys’ Player of the Year, said winning Player of the Year honors bolsters his confidence.
“I know how good the competition is in the state, and I wanted to have the kind of summer that makes it possible to win Player of the Year,” he said. “I know some of the other players who have won it and they have gone on to do even more in golf. That’s what I want to do, too.”
Hartmann said Meekhof has improved each year that he has competed in GAM tournaments.
“I would have been surprised if he didn’t win Player of the Year in his career,” he said. “To win the GAM twice and the Michigan Amateur in between, three major wins consecutively over two years, that’s very impressive.”
Meekhof’s ability to power a golf ball great distances helps set him apart from other players, Hartmann said.
“He’s an elite talent without a doubt, and the sky is the limit for him,” he said. “I think it’s just a matter of how far he wants to push himself.”