GAM

GOLF ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

MSU Golfer Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids Wins 105th MichiganAmateur Championship

   BATH – Sam Weatherhead, a 21-year-old
Michigan State University golfer from Grand Rapids, said winning the Michigan
Amateur Championship had been a goal of his since he started playing golf.

   “Being from Michigan, born and raised, it was
definitely a goal, and I knew I would have one of my better shots here,” he
said.

  Weatherhead turned back Domenic Mancinelli, a
19-year-old Grand Valley State University golfer from Northville, 4 and 2 in
the championship match of the 105th Michigan Amateur presented by Carl’s
Golfland at Eagle Eye Golf Club Saturday.

  “It feels great,” he
said. “I really wanted to play well here because I’ve played the golf course so
many times, and practice here with my (MSU) team,” he said. “It was in great
shape, too, firm and fast and playing really hard. It was perfect for a championship.”

  Weatherhead, who
beat University of Michigan golfer Reed Hrynewich of Muskegon 3 and 2 in the
semifinals, trailed Mancinelli 1-down after bunker troubles in the fairway and
greenside at No. 12, but then won five consecutive holes, two with birdies and
three with pars to close out the match.

  “I had a couple of
lazy swings on those holes (12, 13 and 14) and fatigue was probably part of
it,” said Mancinelli, who beat Ben Lewis, a caddie and former Hope College
golfer from Holland, 2 and 1 in the morning semifinal. “I lost focus just a
little bit, and that is all it takes on this hard of a golf course.”

  Weatherhead, a
former two-time high school individual state champion and Michigan’s Mr. Golf
in 2012, won the par 3 No. 12 hole when Mancinelli couldn’t save par from a
greenside bunker.

  He followed that
with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par 4 No. 13 hole, an eight-foot birdie on
the par 5 No. 14 hole and won 15 and 16 with pars.

  “I’m going to go
home and sleep, and then sleep some more,” he said. “My hands are blistered.
Eight rounds of golf in five days in the heat and on a hard course was tough,
but it feels really good right now.”

   Weatherhead said a
10-foot chip-in on No. 8 for birdie that matched a Mancinelli birdie from five-feet
fired him up.

   “I played better
after that, gained some confidence,” he said.

   Mancinelli, a
first-team All-Great Lakes Conference selection as a freshman at GVSU, said he
came to the tournament to do the best he could, learn and improve.

   “I did that, and I’ll
be back,” he said.

   Weatherhead,
meanwhile, likes that the 106th Amateur is going to be played in his hometown
at Egypt Valley Country Club in 2017. The senior-to-be at Michigan State worked
in the bag room there for three years.

  “I’ve played that
course countless times, like this one,” he said. “I’m already looking forward
to it.”

-Greg Johnson

GAM PARTNERS