Oxford’s Ricky Ihrke Shoots Net 65 to Win Michigan Senior Net Amateur Championship

Link to championship page, results: Senior Net Am

  FLINT – Ricky Ihrke said he did a good job of getting away with his mistakes.

  The 62-year-old Oxford resident got away to the tune of a net 7-under 65 at Flint Golf Club for a two-day 133 total and a five-shot win in the Michigan Senior Net Amateur Championship presented by Michigan Golf Live Wednesday.

  “Every time I made a mistake I got away with it, except one,” he said. “There was a lot of luck and a few good recovery shots involved.”

  It was a second net championship for Ihrke, who in 2010 won the Michigan Net Amateur at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club.

  “It wasn’t something where I was concerned about winning,” said Ihrke, who is retired from General Motors and now runs a small tax business and caddies some at Tam O’Shanter Country Club in West Bloomfield.

  “I just came to play and it feels good to play well. I haven’t played that well all year, and probably played only 15 for 16 rounds all year before this tournament. This is not my usual type course either. I usually play longer distances and at places that are a bit more open. I think it helped me that it was shorter than I usually play.”

  Geoffrey Bailey of Warren shot a closing net 71 for 138 for second place, and Jim Grant of Canadian Lakes was third with a closing 70 for 139.

  Rich Rachner of Brighton, who shot 72 for 140, and Roger Halle of Chesterfield, who shot 73 for 141, rounded out the top five.

  After a first-round 68 off his 11 handicap for the tournament in the first round, Ihrke said he knew he was in the race.

  “I didn’t figure I was leading it,” he said. “The guys I played with yesterday, I thought they would blow it up today, but they didn’t”

   The key to his round came early on the back nine when he hit approach shots to within one foot of the hole at Nos. 11 and 12 and made birdies, and then made a 30-foot putt for a natural birdie on No. 14.

  “I told you luck was involved,” he said. “The three natural birdies on the back nine really helped, of course I gave those strokes back with bogeys on three of the last four holes. I didn’t finish great, but I played great earlier and it feels nice to win.”

  A field of 51 golfers played 36 holes of net stroke play competition to determine the champion. The players had to have a GAM/USGA handicap index lower than 20.4. The Senior Net Amateur is among five Net championships presented as part of the GAM’s continuing effort to provide competition for members of all playing ability levels on some of the state’s top golf courses.

-Greg Johnson, [email protected]