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GOLF ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

Northville’s Michael Lam Secures Emotional Win at Michigan Senior Net Amateur

 ST. CLAIR – Northville’s Michael Lam survived a net bogey on the 18th hole at St. Clair Golf Club and secured an elusive and emotional win in the 4th Michigan Senior Net Amateur Championship Thursday.

  Lam, a 61-year-old manufacturing engineer who has played in GAM net tournaments for about 15 years, won for the first time by shooting a closing net 1-over 73 for a two-day and tournament total of 145.

  He bested three golfers by one shot and then was overcome with emotion following a brief trophy presentation. His said he was thinking about his daughter Megan, a former caddie and Evans Scholar who died in March. He declined to discuss the cause of death. She was 23.

  “The pressure was getting to me out there,” he said through tears. “I kept saying ‘Megan, help me out here.’ I kept thinking of her. Golf was a big part of her life.”

  Lam, a Walnut Creek Country Club member playing with a 13-handicap at St. Clair, said when he hit a poor approach shot to the final hole he figured he was going to finish second once again.

  “I’ve been second a lot of times,” he said. “I thought here we go again, but I was able to hit that 60-degree wedge shot on the green and get out of there with the net bogey and still win. I still can’t believe it worked out.”

   Robert Bremer of Wixom, Donald Ward of Sterling Heights and defending champion Ricky Ihrke of Oxford tied for second at 146. Bremer finished with a net 75 and Ihrke and Ward each shot net 77s on the heels of 69s in the first round Wednesday. Matt Magnotte of Clinton Township rounded out the top five with a 73 for 148.

  Lam bested a field of 52 golfers over age 55 who have GAM/USGA handicap indexes 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.

  Lam said a new driver and going back to an old set of favorite irons proved effective for him in the championship.

  “I hit the ball straight for two days,” he said. “For most of the summer that hasn’t been happening. I just managed my game well both days. There wasn’t a significant shot or anything. Honestly, everything was kind of a blur out there. I was trying to manage the pressure because I wanted to win so much.”

  Lam has been traveling to destination places to play golf this year, including Pebble Beach, Pinehurst, and Whistling Straits in Wisconsin. He also played Arcadia Bluffs in Michigan for the first time and made a hole-in-one. He picked up some swing tips from a caddie at Whistling Straits that he said helped him this week.

  “I implemented them all,” he said. “The caddie said he was a former tour professional or something like that.”

   Lam said he enjoyed all the travel golf, but finally winning a GAM tournament will be a lifetime highlight.

  “I’ve always considered the GAM tournaments the best around, so to win for me is such an accomplishment. I’m a golf fanatic. I’ve been waiting for this day. I thought it would never come.”

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