GLADWIN – Julie Massa managed to fend off a charging Susie Keane in a title match that went 20 holes in the 18th Michigan Women’s Senior Amateur Championship presented by Pepsi Tuesday at Sugar Springs Golf Club.
Massa, a Holt resident, won the championship for the third time by making a par 4 on the second hole of sudden-death.
Keane, an Orlando, Fla., resident who is a summer GAM member via St. Clair Shores Golf Club, birdied two of the last three holes (Nos. 16 and 18) in regulation play to erase a 2-up Massa lead and force the extra holes.
“Whenever you get a win, it’s never easy, and that makes it so satisfying,” said Massa, who has been the GAM Senior Player of the Year six times and is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
“I can look back it and wonder what I could have done better, but this is so rewarding. I didn’t play as well as I did in (stroke play qualifying Monday), but I consistently hit good shots.”
Massa, 59, birdied the first hole of the final match with Keane and led for most of regulation play, including 2-up through 15 holes.
“It was a good fight,” said the 58-year-old Keane who is originally from Grosse Pointe and is a former tennis professional who didn’t take up golf until she was in her 40s. “I’m very happy with the birdies at 16 and 18. I kept fighting. It was a long day and I don’t know if either of us had our best stuff today. I lost to a great player. I’m just going to focus on that.”
Massa lauded the Sugar Springs golf course, which she said made the win even more enjoyable.
“This is a great course, the greens are beautiful,” she said. “It’s a really nice layout. I had never played here before. I don’t think many of us had played here and I think everybody enjoyed it. It’s really a good place for this tournament. There’s some elevation and you get a bit of everything to test your game. It also makes you use your course management skills a little bit.”
Massa, who was medalist in Monday morning stroke play qualifying to determine the championship bracket with a 2-under 69, earned her spot in Tuesday afternoon’s title match with a 5 and 3 morning semifinal win over Pam Tyler of Grand Rapids. Keane topped defending champion Cathy Netter of Monroe 1-up in the other semifinal.