GRAND BLANC – Scott Pearce of Bloomfield Hills, a late entry via the waiting list, won the 5th Michigan Senior Net Amateur Championship presented by Michigan Golf Live Tuesday at Atlas Valley Golf Club.
Pearce, a 66-year-old commercial mortgage broker, shot a closing net 72 to go with a first-round 67 from Monday for a 5-under 139 net total and a one-shot win over Eric Brikle of Ann Arbor, who followed a Monday 76 with a final round 64 for 140.
It was an emotional win for Pearce.
“It’s just a senior net event but to me it’s a big thing because I played golf for 34 years and then I quit,” he said of having to take care of his late long-time significant other, Karen, and starting again after she passed away.
“I also had a friend pass away last year who was a member here (at Atlas Valley) for like 30 years. He was older and his sons are good friends of mine. So to win here, it’s kind of special. I can’t wait to share this with his kids.”
Pearce said he didn’t realize he won until he walked up to the scoring area and was told he won by a shot.
“I can’t get the leaderboard on my phone, and I had a bad front nine with a triple out there, so I figured I was in trouble,” he said. “I asked the guys I was playing with and I don’t know if they really didn’t know or if they didn’t want to tell me. I had no idea.”
He said he made just one birdie in the second round, a birdie on the par 3 No. 6 hole.
“I hit a five-iron and it was the best shot I hit in this tournament,” he said. “I hit it to two feet.”
Pearce, who is the father of Tim Pearce, an assistant PGA golf professional at Birmingham Country Club, has two wins in recent weeks. They recently teamed up to win the Michigan PGA-Midwest Golf & Turf Pro-Am at The Fortress in Frankenmuth.
Birkle, whose 64 brought him from 23rd place to second place, said he had a new plan for the second round.
“I hit it short of the green and bounced it up today because it was really hard in front of the greens,” he said.
The 57-year-old owner of a hardwood floor installation and refinishing business, Birkle said he didn’t know he was making a run at the win until the very end.
“I knew I was playing good but I started in 23rd place and I didn’t really have any high expectations,” he said. “I just tried my best.”
The tournament featured 64 senior male golfers over age 55 with 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.