Garber wins 99th Michigan Amateur Championship at Oakhurst G&CC

Garber wins 99th Michigan Amateur Championship at Oakhurst G&CC


CLARKSTON, MI – Surrounded by a near-record crowd of family, friends and club members, 18-year old Joey Garber of Petoskey won the 99th Michigan Amateur Championship at Oakhurst Golf & Country Club, 2 & 1 over Eric Lilleboe of Okemos.

Garber took control of the match right out of the gate by winning the first three holes.

“It’s all about getting into the moment and getting the lead,” said Garber. “He’s (Lilleboe) a good player and he played everyone really well this week. “My caddie (Jimmy Dewling) and I had a game plan before I teed off on the final match to turn at all square and then start my push on the back. I’ve played holes 10 through 18 really well this week. I knew those holes had to be where I took the lead.”

It didn’t go exactly how Garber had planned, because Lilleboe won three holes in a row to go 1 up after 9 and kept the lead until hole #12 when Garber won the hole to bring the match back to all square. Garber proceeded to win hole #13 with a par while Lilleboe bogied it. It was a seesaw match until Garber went 2 up on hole #16 and he held onto the lead on #17 to win the final match 2 &1.

“He deserved to win,” said runner-up Lilleboe. “We’re friends, we’ve played together a lot up north and he’s a really good player. I just finished up my senior year at Ferris State University and my last amateur tournament will be the U.S. Amateur Qualifier at Boyne – The Heather Course on July 22 before turning professional this fall.”

Garber has won four GAM Championships in the last four years.

“In 2008, I won the GAM Tournament of Club Champions and I won the Michigan Junior Amateur Stroke Play Championship in 2008 and 2009. I really wanted to win this championship; it’s the most important tournament in the state.”

Garber is also the third youngest player ever to win the Michigan Amateur Championship. The second famous amateur ever to live, Chuck Kocsis won it in 1930 at the age of 17 and Korey Mahoney won it after just turning 18 in 2002.

Next up for Garber is playing golf for the the University of Michigan. Garber said this about his wolverine friend Matt Thompson, “I’m excited to play with my good friend Matt Thompson and thankfully, I didn’t have to play him in match play this week because he’s a very strong player.

By winning the Michigan Amateur, Garber receives an automatic five-year exemption into the Michigan Amateur Championship, as well as The Western Amateur, Susquehana Amateur in Pennsylvania, the Michigan Open and the GAM Championship.

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 Saturday Semi-Final Matches Results:
Eric Lilleboe, Okemos, def. Joseph Juszczyk, Dearborn Heights, 5&4
Joey Garber, Petoskey, def. Nick Carbary, Portage, 2&1
Saturday’s Final Match Play Results:

Joey Garber def. Eric Lilleboe, 2&1