EAST LANSING – The Forest Akers golf facilities on the campus of Michigan State University are hosting the Michigan Girls’ Junior State Amateur for the eighth time in the 44 years of the championship, this time on the West course starting Monday.
The championship for the top age 18-and-under golfers in the state combines stroke play and match play with 36-holes of stroke play Monday and Tuesday to determine match play brackets in the overall championship division and a 15-and-under division.
The low 16 scorers after stroke play advance to match play with two rounds Wednesday and Thursday determining a champion. The 15-and-under division has an eight-golfer match play bracket.
Forest Akers West is home to the successful Michigan State golf teams. It is one of two courses at the facility (East and West), both of which were redesigned by Michigan State alumnus and highly regarded golf course designer Arthur Hills in 1992.
The West plays from 5,278 yards to 7,013 yards with five tee positions and hosts the Big Ten home competition for the Spartans.
The players in the field, 18-and-under and not yet college students or golfers, are familiar with the Forest Akers properties, which have hosted several GAM junior championships, the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship as well as high school state championship tournaments over the years.
Recently it was announced that the West course will host the 2024 NCAA Division I Regional Championship. Bryan Harris is the PGA golf professional and general manager at Forest Akers and Ben Keeler is the golf course superintendent. Learn more at golf.msu.edu.
Defending champion Lauren Timpf of Macomb and stroke play medalist Sophie Stevens of Highland return to this year’s field of 104 golfers.
Timpf, choosing to play in the overall division because she won the 15-and-under in 2020, became the championship’s youngest winner at age 14 last year when she topped Kate Brody of Grand Blanc 2 and 1 in the title match. Brody is also in this year’s field.
Mia Melendez of Ann Arbor was last year’s 15-and-under winner. She beat Alena Li of Okemos 3 and 2 in the title match. Melendez and Li are playing in the overall division this year.
GAM Junior Kickoff champion Bridget Boczar of Canton is also in the field, as is Megha Vallabhaneni, who was a recent semifinalist in the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship.
The championship has a storied past with winners like Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member and LPGA Tour player Suzy Green-Roebuck, LPGA Tour player Stacy Snider and current LPGA Symetra Tour player and recent Michigan Women’s Open winner Sarah White.