LANSING – Sophie
Stevens, the 16-year-old home-schooled standout from Highland, made eight
birdies and shot a closing 6-under 66 to pull away from the field and win the
31st GAM Women’s Championship presented by Stifel Investment Systems at the
Country Club of Lansing Tuesday.
“I honestly don’t
know if I’ve had eight birdies before, at least I don’t remember having that
many in one round,” said Stevens, who has one-year of home school remaining
before taking her golf talents to the University of Florida.
“It was pretty cool. There’s a lot of great
competitors in this state and it feels awesome just to get it done today.”
Bridget Boczar of
Canton, headed to Oakland University’s golf team this fall, shot a 69 for 142
and second place.
Jessica Jolly, a Rockford High School student,
shot 71 for 144 and third place.
University of Northern Illinois golfer Jasmine
Ly of Windsor finished fourth after a 74 for 146 and defending champion Mikaela
Schulz, a University of Michigan golfer from West Bloomfield, rounded out the
top five with a 72 for 148.
Stevens, a runner-up to Grace Wang in the
recent Michigan Junior Girls’ State Amateur Championship, bogeyed holes 2 and 3
to fall behind Boczar briefly early in the round, but then made three
consecutive birdies at 5, 6 and 7 to pull in front. She took all the drama out
of things by shooting 4-under 32 on the back nine and pulling away.
“I hit a lot of good
wedges that gave me like five footers, which are perfect for birdies and I
drained a few 10-to-15 footers, too, and my driver was solid as well,” she
said. “I feel like my game is really coming together right now. I’ve seen a big
improvement in it over the whole summer, especially my putting from the 15 to
Boczar started the
day one shot off Steven’s lead and said she expected Stevens to play great.
“She always does on
the second day,” she said.
Boczar, 18 and the
GAM Junior Kickoff champion at the start of the summer, said her coach, Scott
Hayes of Miles of Golf, suggested a putting grip change and she was
concentrating on it instead of thinking about her score.
“I changed it from left-hand low to a
conventional grip just last weekend, so I was just focusing on getting
comfortable with it and I putted well,” she said.
Stevens, whose name
will go on the Betty Richart Trophy, said she stuck to her plan both days.
“My game plan was to
hit just as many fairways and greens as I could, and once on the green I
planned to give myself a good roll at it,” she said. “I did a good job of it
and gave myself the chance to win.”