HARBOR SPRINGS – Northville’s Mike Anderson hit what he called high-quality golf shots down the stretch in winning the 38th GAM Mid-Amateur Championship Thursday at Boyne Highlands Resort.
“I’ve played golf for a long time, and you know we all play some good golf and some bad golf and it has been a long time since I’ve won,” he said after shooting a final 71 on the Moor course for 140, a three-shot win and the celebrated Glenn H. Johnson Trophy.
“So coming down the stretch, knowing the situation that I was in, it felt good because I hit a lot of high-quality shots. These guys are my peers and I enjoy playing with them and we compete against each other a lot, so to beat them once in a while is nice.”
Bill O’Connor of Bloomfield Hills was second with a 72 for 143, and Ryan Johnson of New Boston was next at 144 with a closing 72.
Jimmy Chestnut, the GAM Champion earlier this summer, shot 74 for 145 for fourth place, and Jeff Champine of Rochester Hills, who shot 73, tied for fifth place at 146 with Larry Sterling of Shelby Township, who shot 74 to close. Defending champion Michael Coriasso shot 72 for 148 and tied for ninth.
Champions were also crowned in a Senior (age 55-and-over) and Super Senior (age 65-plus) divisions with Jerry Gunthorpe of Ovid taking the Senior title, and Ron Perrine of Holt winning the Super Senior title.
Champine was declared the Mid-Senior (age 45-plus) winner because Anderson and O’Connor, who are also over age 45, were champion and runner-up in the overall Mid-Amateur competition. Kevin Vandenberg of Pulaski was the runner-up in the Mid-Senior in a scorecard playoff over David Levan of Ann Arbor. Vandenberg shot 76 for 147 and tied for seventh overall with Levan, who shot 73.
Anderson, the golf coach at Detroit Catholic Central High School, said being paired with first-round leader and his good friend David Vaclav both days was great for him.
“Dave and I are close friends,” he said. “We have been playing golf together since we were little kids, so to have him by my side all day was really special. It was comfortable and settling.”
Anderson said the win caps a good summer for him. He made match play at the Michigan Amateur, falling in the round of 16, and he jump-started his personal summer golf in the spring when the pandemic shut down the high school golf season.
“I have played solid and this week was great,” he said.
Anderson called Boyne Highlands a special place to play and win.
“It’s one of the best spots for golfers in the United States in the summertime,” he said. “The golf courses are in such unbelievable condition. Even today with a pretty heavy rain the course held up. It’s great for Michigan golf and they support Michigan golf and the GAM so well. It’s nice to get the opportunity to play here a few times each summer.”
In the Senior division, Gunthorpe shot a closing 70 for 142 and won by five shots. David Bartnick of Livonia was second with a 76 for 147, and Kevin Klemet of White Lake shot 77 for 149.
Gunthorpe said his performance over the two days was almost flawless.
“I was striking the ball well and hit a lot of greens yesterday, all 18,” he said. “I think I missed just one green today. It made it easier for me putting wise and I had shorter irons into the greens because I hit the ball fairly long for the tees they had set up. I had a lot of wedges and hit them well, so it was stress free today.”
Perrine shot a 78 for 152 to win the Super Senior title by one shot over John Armstrong of Grosse Ile, who closed with a 75 for 153. Mike Raymond of Jackson was third with a 78 for 154.
Perrine shot even-par on the front and finished his final six holes after a two-hour rain delay.
“We checked the leaderboard a couple of times coming down the stretch, so yeah, we know where we were,” he said. “I hung in there and parred the last two holes and that was good enough. This is special and Boyne is a such a great place. It’s been quite a while since I won a tournament. With all that Boyne and the GAM does for us, it was a really good experience.”