Matt Magnotte, John Bonapace Win Unique GAM Net Chapman Championship

GROSSE ILE – John Bonapace of Grosse Pointe Woods and Matt Magnotte of Clinton Township didn’t expect much after they both played poorly in a recent practice round at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club.

  “It was pretty bad,” said Bonapace.

  It was especially good Monday when the duo teamed up to shoot a net 9-under 62 and win the 7th GAM Net Chapman Championship presented by Play Away Membership.

  “We’ve played in a lot of team events together, and you know, we’ve come close a couple of times, but this is the first time we were really clicking together,” said Magnotte, a 63-year-old retiree and the 2018 Michigan Net Amateur champion.

  “We saved a great round,” said Bonapace, who is 59, chief marketing officer for NTT and a first-time GAM tournament winner.

  “We were a little off on a couple of holes, but we scrambled well. When I hit my drive in the fairway, then from 165 in, Matt was putting it on the green. And we didn’t three-putt all day. The team worked really well.”

   Thomas Gralinski of Sterling Heights and Joseph Shaffer of Ortonville teamed up for a net 65 and finished second.

  James Knox and Lindsay Wright of Oxford netted a 66 and then won a scorecard playoff to determine third place. Blake Johnson of Grosse Pointe Shores and Kevin Zeleji of Dearborn also shot 66.

  The 88 golfers on 44 teams played 18 holes of net stroke play in the Chapman format. The format calls for each player on the two-person teams to play from the teeing ground and then play the teammate or partner’s ball for the second shot. After the second shot the partners select the ball with which they wish to score and play that ball alternately to complete the hole.

  Magnotte and Bonapace played the back nine first, and then started the front nine with three consecutive bogeys in what was a gross 75 with 13 shots of handicap.

  “We steadied the ship after that though, and then we had the chip-ins,” Magnotte said.

  Bonapace chipped in to a short-side pin for a gross birdie 3 on the 400-yard No. 1 handicap hole, No. 7, and it scored as a net eagle for the team. Then Magnotte chipped in using a putter off the front fringe for a birdie without the duo getting a shot at the par 5 No. 8 hole.

   “Those were key,” Magnotte said. “The rest of the time we just played solid and made a lot of six to 10-foot putts when we needed them. John drove the ball great. That really helped us a bunch of times.”

In photo: John Bonapace, left, and Matt Magnotte, the champions, line up a shot.