Careful Andrew Lang of Grosse Ile Wins Michigan Net Amateur Championship

BRIGHTON – Andrew Lang of Grosse Ile learned in a practice round last month that playing aggressively doesn’t work well at Lakelands Golf & Country Club, which is testing golfers in its 100th golf season.

  The 36-year-old golf club refinisher and fitter opted for carefully in the 21st Michigan Net Amateur Championship presented by Michigan Golf Live and won his second net title of the summer Tuesday. Earlier this summer he captured a second consecutive GAM Net Match Play Championship.

  “You have to play a totally different type of golf in stroke play,” he said after shooting a closing net even-par 71 for a two-day net total of 140 and two-shot win over Jerry Tranzow of Macomb, who shot a final 69 for a net 142. Lang was playing with four strokes of handicap, and Tranzow six in the final round.

  “You can’t make a big number in stroke play or your in big trouble, but in match play you can get away with it,” Lang said. “And this golf course is known to give people big numbers on their cards. I came out and played a practice round last month and shot 82 playing aggressively and I knew I couldn’t do that going forward if I was going to have a chance to win this tournament.”

  Ironically, Tranzow was runner-up to Lang in the GAM Net Match Play Championship, too.

  “I was playing extra hard today because I knew it was Andrew who was ahead of me, and since he beat me at the match play,” the 52-year-old General Motors employee said. “Unfortunately I came up a little short again, but he’s a great player and a good champion and I played some of my best golf the last two days.”

  Ryan Monette of Royal Oak, who shot 77 to close for net 145, finished third, and Richard Dalimonte of Orchard Lake, who rallied with a net 66 for 147, and Jianuo Shu of Northville, who shot 74 for 147, rounded out the top five.

  A field of 78 golfers with USGA/GAM Handicap Indexes of 20.4 or better squared off the two rounds of net stroke play.

  Lang said the Lakelands course is only 6,200 yards but danger lurks.

  “The greens are hard and fast and small,” he said. “The course is 100 years old. You have to play the course for what it gives you. You can make a few mistakes, but you can’t make the really big ones or you pay.”

  Lang said his two rounds were far from stress free.

  “The parts people don’t see on the card is that I had to get up and down from 40 yards three times in the first round and that was huge for my score (net 69),” he said. “Then coming down the stretch today. I knew Jerry was coming and I had to make an eight-foot bogey putt on 17 to maintain a two-shot lead. That was huge. That could have been my first double of the week with really bad timing. I managed to make the putts I needed though, and that was the difference maker.”

  Lang, a Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club member, said he loves playing in the net tournaments, which are part of the GAM’s ongoing effort to serve more than just the elite golfers across the state.

  “It feels really good to win again because I have not had the greatest season,” he said. “I had big numbers in other tournaments like the Michigan Amateur qualifier and the GAM Championship qualifier and missed making those fields, and in the U.S. Amateur qualifier I shot like 81-86. So to come out there and be able to execute and win this feels great.”