Western Golf & Country Club Ready for 102nd Michigan Women?s Amateur Championship

   REDFORD – Western
Golf & Country Club is ready for the golfers who will compete starting
Monday in the 102nd Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship.

  “The golf course has
been great all year, and is great leading into this big event,” said Brandon
DiPaola, the head golf professional complimenting the first-year superintendent
Michael Montney.

  Fire destroyed the
clubhouse at Western on June 1, but a large pavilion style building has been
erected in the courtyard of the clubhouse, and the building that houses the pro
shop and snack shop at the course across from the main clubhouse was not

  “We have an amazing
golf course and we are doing everything we can to make things go as normal as
they can,” DiPaola said. “There was never a thought of canceling anything, even
our club events. We just kept on playing. We had our Men’s Invitational two
weeks after the fire. Our membership is excited about hosting the tournament.”

   Ken Hartmann,
senior director of rules and competitions for the GAM, said the club put to
rest any concerns he had in the days immediately following the fire.

  “The pavilion that
the club put up is great and full service, and the golf course and everything
across from the courtyard there was not damaged,” he said. “It’s all going
according to plan. It’s a great golf course, and Western is excited to host the
Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship.”

  Western’s timeless Donald
Ross-designed course will test the top women golfers in the state Monday
through Friday. The field will play two rounds of stroke play to determine a
low 32 scorers to fill out the match play bracket. Round of 32 matches will be
on Wednesday with Sweet 16 and quarterfinal rounds on Thursday and semifinals
and the final match on Friday.

  This will be the third time the state
championship has been played at Western, but the first since 1963. The club
also hosted the 1930 Michigan Women’s Amateur just three years after the course
opened to play in 1927.

  Defending champion
Aya Johnson of Muskegon, a University of Wisconsin golfer, heads the field. She
beat Katelyn Chipman in last year’s final, and Chipman, a Grand Valley State
University golfer, is returning as well.

  Kerrigan Parks of
Flushing, the 2017 GAM Women’s Champion, and Anna Kramer of Spring Lake, the
2016 GAM Women’s Champion, are also in the field.

  Elayna Bowser, who
played this week in the U.S. Women’s Amateur in Tennessee, is playing. Allyson
Geer, the 2016 and 2017 champion, elected not to enter. She also was playing in
the U.S. Women’s Amateur after recently getting married.

   Those in the field will be taking on what DiPaola
called a shotmaker’s course.

  “The fairways are
narrow, it has small undulating greens and puts a priority on accuracy and the
short game as well,” he said. “It has character, too, and will be great for
match play. Our club championship is always match play, and always comes down
to the last few holes.”

  Western can name
drop with the best golf clubs in its history. In April of 1927, the course’s
first year, golf legend Walter Hagen, then the reigning British Open champion,
played the reigning U.S. Open champion Johnny Farrell in an exhibition match at
Western. Hagen won. Gene Sarazen is another golf legend who played a match at
the club as well. In 1956 the club hosted the Motor City Open won by Bob
Rosburg. In 1960 Western hosted the Western Golf Association’s Western Open,
which at time was regarded as one of the major championships on the PGA Tour.
Stan Leonard beat Art Wall in a playoff.

    As for the women champions in Western
history, that 1930 Michigan Women’s Amateur was won by Vi Hanley, a world
traveler, writer and later a University of Michigan physical education teacher.
She also won in 1924 and ’27 at other sites.

  The 1963 Michigan
Women’s Amateur winner at Western was Sally Sharp-Werner, a four-time winner
between 1956 and ’63 and the state’s dominant woman player in the 1950s. She
beat legend Patti Shook-Boice in ’63 in the final match.

  Mara Mizzoni-Craver
is the current women’s club champion at Western and holds the course record of
5-under 67. The 36-year-old working mother and former Oakland University golfer
is playing in the state championship, her first appearance since college days.
She said hosting the Amateur has generated a lot of excitement at the club, and
that she expects a great reaction from the field of golfers.

  “It’s not easy here,
but while it is challenging it is also fun and it a classic course that the
members believe still plays the way Donald Ross would have wanted it to play,”
she said.

   The public is welcome
to attend free of charge. Find tee times and bracket information at

-Greg Johnson, [email protected]