Nagel Ousts Defending Champion Meier in Match Play Quarterfinals

EAST LANSING – It was Spartan versus Spartan in the first quarterfinal match at the Michigan Women’s Amateur at Forest Akers Golf Course Thursday afternoon with Liz Nagel (DeWitt) defeating defending champion Christine Meier (Rochester Hills) 2 up.

The match was even at the turn, but Nagel continued her steady pace and solid putting to take the match and advance to tomorrow’s semifinals.

“It was just a really good match,” said Nagel. “I can’t take anything away from Christina because she played great. It was good to beat her because she is such a good match play player.”

Nagel says she is playing the best golf she has in her career and says her change from a cross-hand to conservative grip on her putter has given her confidence and made her feel much more comfortable on the green than in the past. And even though Forest Akers is MSU’s home course, she doesn’t consider that to be a huge advantage.

“The golf course has played different every single day,” said Nagel. “And (GAM Tournament Director) Ken Hartmann has done a great job with the pin placement to make sure the course is challenging for everyone.”

The last time Nagel made it to the “great eight” in match play at the 2007 Michigan Women’s Amateur, she lost to her current coach, Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll.  She will face Emmie Pietila (Brighton) in the semifinal. Pietila defeated Melissa Beurmann (Jackson) 2 up in the quarterfinal.

“I had three or four bad holes in a row, a couple of three putts, and I was behind, then I was even and then I was ahead,” said Pietila. “I just kept telling myself it is golf and things can change very quickly.”

Lansing Catholic junior Jacqueline Setas (East Lansing) won her match with Bea Murray (East Lansing) 2 & 1. She credits her caddie, Collin Curtin, with keeping her loose during the match.

“I didn’t play well on the front but it came together on the back nine,” said Setas. “My caddie and I were just laughing a lot out there and he did a good job of keeping me from thinking about getting into the final four and just staying in the moment out there. He really helped me stay relaxed.”

Curtin is a golfer but has never caddied before.

“She is very easy to caddie for,” said Curtin. “We had a lot of fun out there and I will be back tomorrow. I told her as long as she keeps winning, I will caddie for her.”

2012 Champion Natalie Brehm (Mt. Pleasant) won her quarterfinal match with Aya Johnson (North Muskegon) 5&3.

“I was down by two to start the match but I got a couple of birdies and got back on track,” said Brehm. “I probably don’t get as nervous in match play as I did, say, five years ago but I still get nervous!”

Semifinal matches begin at 8 a.m. Friday. Admission is free and spectators are welcome. Live scoring will be available on the GAM web site at