Mason’s Brett MacNeil Rolls to GAM Net Match Play Championship Win

LAKE ORION – The college golf coach of Brett MacNeil of Mason asked him to play in at least three tournaments this summer before returning in the fall to Spring Arbor University and trying to crack the playing lineup.

  He has one in the books, and a trophy to prove it.

  MacNeil, 19 and playing off a five-handicap, wielded a hot putter and topped 59-year-old Bud Keefer of Pontiac, who played as an eight-handicap, 7 and 5, in the final match of the 9th GAM Net Match Pay Championship presented by Dunham’s Sports Wednesday at Paint Creek Country Club.

  “This is really my first win in a real tournament, a GAM tournament,” MacNeil said. “I’ve played in some junior tournaments and won a few things but nothing like this. This is a start. I hope to play in more tournaments and win a few if I can.”

  He had to get past a Paint Creek employee in the final. Keefer, retired from management at UPS, has worked on the grounds and clubhouse staff at Paint Creek for the last year. Head golf professional Steve Vickery talked him into playing in the first tournament of his life.

  “I started working here to play some golf and keep busy,” he said. “I was nervous out there, and I’ve never played this much golf where I had to concentrate on every shot. Fatigue was a factor in the match. I got off to a bad start and he was making so many putts. Brett plays the game at a higher level than I do, and he is a great putter. I had a blast, and I think I’ll try to play in some senior events.”

  MacNeil won five of the first seven holes and went 6-up at No. 9. Keefer finally won a hole at No. 10, but MacNeil kept his putter going and closed out the match on the 13th hole.

  “It was the putter that carried me today, and this week my driver was better than it usually is,” said MacNeil, whose parents Darryl and Molly and girlfriend Macy Schuette made up his personal gallery.

  “I’m usually pretty bad off the tee, but I was pretty good this week. I hit a lot of good iron shots, too, and I didn’t lose a golf ball until today. I lost one. Usually, I lose a lot of them.”

  MacNeil, the No. 6 seed in the match play bracket, reached the final with a 4 and 2 morning semifinal win over 2-seed Michael Brown of Battle Creek. Keefer, the No. 8 seed, turned back Bill Ruane of Macomb 5 and 4 in the other semifinal.

   A field of 50 golfers with GAM GHIN Handicap indexes of 20.4 or lower played in the three-day tournament that is a part of the GAM’s continuing effort to serve beyond the elite golfers with competitive tournaments by handicap index.



-Greg Johnson [email protected]