GAM

GOLF ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

Katie Chipman Defends Michigan Women’s Amateur Title at Plum Hollow

Written By: Greg Johnson

SOUTHFIELD – Katie Chipman has been hearing great things about Plum Hollow Country Club where she will defend her 2023 title and celebrate a birthday in the 108th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.

“I’ve heard it’s in great shape, and I’m super excited to defend,” said Chipman, who turns 26 on Wednesday June 12 during the June 10-14 Women’s Amateur. “I plan to get a good practice round in and be ready to go. Part of the reason I played in the GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur (tied for second) was to get ready for competitive golf and the Michigan Amateur this year.”

Chipman, now a Grand Rapids resident and assistant women’s golf coach at Grand Valley State University where she is also a former standout player, earned her nameplate on the Patti Shook Boice Trophy last summer with a come-from-behind final match win at Spring Lake Country Club.

Chipman, facing a 2-down deficit through 14 holes to Olivia Hemmila of Troy and trailing most of the title match, rallied winning three consecutive holes capped by a 39-foot birdie putt on hole 17 to finally take the lead in her 1-up win.

“It was a great week that I didn’t expect to happen,” she said. “I had just been working and not playing competitively for most of two years. I just kind of kept it going through the week and gained confidence as I went.”

Chipman, who was a runner-up in the championship in 2017, will lead a field of the top players in the state into two days of stroke play Monday and Tuesday, June 10 and 11, to determine a match play bracket of 32 golfers. The round of 32 is Wednesday along with Chipman’s birthday with the round of 16 and quarterfinals on Thursday and semifinals and final match on Friday.

Some of the accomplished players in the field at Plum Hollow include Elayna Bowser of Dearborn, the recent GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur champion and 2019 Michigan Women’s Amateur champion, Anci Dy of Traverse City, the 2022 Michigan Women’s Amateur champion and a part of the recent NCAA Division II national championship team at the University of Indianapolis, Bridget Boczar of Canton and Oakland University, the 2023 GAM Women’s Champion, Sophie Stevens of Highland and the University of Florida, the 2022 GAM Women’s Champion, and Chelsea Collura of Wyandotte, the 2022 GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur champion.

Several accomplished collegiate players are in the field, including Hemmila, last year’s runner-up who is now at Oakland University, Olivia Stoll of Haslett and Grand Valley State University, who won the recent 19-24 age group title at the recent GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur, Shannon Kennedy of Michigan State University and Kate Brody of the University of Wisconsin.

Of last year’s “Sweet 16” players, 13 are in the field again this year. They are Chipman, Hemmila, Kennedy, Boczar, Collura, Stoll, Kamryn Shannon of Jackson and Ferris State University, Lilia Henkel of Grand Rapids and the University of Delaware, Lauren Davis of Coopersville, Elise Fennell of Caledonia, Mackenzie Meekhoff of Auburn Hills, Jessica Jolly of Rockford and Megha Vallabhaneni of Northville and Western Michigan University.

Plum Hollow recently completed a renovation project on its original 1921 C.H. Alison-designed golf course. Toledo-based architect Drew Rogers completed work that the club feels honored the original design intent. It included changes involving bunkers, tees, the creation of more shot options on several holes and improved drainage and turf.

Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions and USGA services for the GAM, said Plum Hollow has become a tougher course for some players.

“You have to hit shots that give you the best angles to play, and like all the classic courses you don’t want to have your golf ball above the hole on the greens,” he said. “You must drive it well, and the par 5s require more golfers to lay-up with second shots. They have modernized the golf course.”

An added element to this year’s Michigan Women’s Amateur is the winner receiving an exemption into the 2024 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship. The USGA recently added the winners of selected state championships to the exemptions lists for its national championships.

Plum Hollow is a part of the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship history. The club will be hosting the state championship for women for a sixth time, though for the first time since 1970. It hosted what was then known as the Women’s Michigan Golf Association Championship in 1937, 1942, 1948, 1958 and 1970 when Bonnie Lauer, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member who later was a standout LPGA player, was the champion. The championship has been under the direction of the GAM since 2005.

Plum Hollow has been a long-time host of champions for the GAM and other associations. It hosted the 2022 GAM Championship won by August Meekhof of Eastmanville and the 2015 Michigan Amateur Championship won by Ryan Johnson of New Boston, as well as various USGA and GAM qualifiers.

“It’s a very supportive club with a classic course,” Hartmann said. “Jay Hults (GAM president in 2023-2024), Chris Angott (GAM president emeritus) and Barry Babbit (GAM Secretary) have had the membership behind them in supporting amateur golf. We’ve had great tournaments there working with their staff and club members.”

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