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GOLF ASSOCIATION OF MICHIGAN

MICHIGAN AMATEUR: White Lake’s McCoy Biagioli Wins

Written By: Greg Johnson

HARBOR SPRINGS – McCoy Biagioli of White Lake, a Ferris State University golfer, won the 113th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland on The Heather course at The Highlands at Harbor Springs Friday.

Biagioli, 18 and a sophomore-to-be at Ferris, beat 23-year-old Jimmy Dales of Northville 3 and 1 in the championship match.

As the Michigan Amateur Champion, Biagioli’s name will be added to the historic Staghorn Trophy, and he receives an exemption into the starting field of the U.S. Amateur Championship at Hazeltine Golf Club in Chaska, Minn., Aug. 12-18.

“I think it shows I can compete with the best,” Biagioli said.

He said his previous wins were in high school and on the junior Meijer Tour.

“Nothing big, nothing close to this,” he said. “Actually, I had no idea about the U.S. Amateur (exemption) until two weeks ago either. I guess winning was the goal this week, and then (the U.S. Amateur) is kind of a bonus with it.”

McCoy, who made match play for the first time in just his third Michigan Amateur appearance, birdied the first hole of the final match and won the second with a par, but Dales, a recent University of Wyoming graduate who plans to turn professional later this summer, rallied to tie the match at the turn.

McCoy finally turned the match in his favor winning holes 13, 14 and 15 consecutively with two birdies and a par and led 3-up. Dales birdied the par 3 16th with a six-foot birdie putt, but his tee shot at 17 hit a tree about 50 yards down the right side from the tee, and he scrambled to reach the green in four shots. McCoy, meanwhile, hit the fairway off the tee, hit the green with his approach and lagged his putt up to within inches of the hole for a conceded par and the win.

“I missed that short birdie putt (four feet) on 13, that really hurt, then he made birdie on 14,” said Dales, who in three earlier matches had played without a bogey. “The tee shot at 17. I’ve been fighting that tee shot all week, and that was when the rain was coming down pretty hard.”

Dales, who lost in the semifinals in 2023 to eventual champion August Meekhof, said he wanted to finish off his amateur career at one of his favorite places to play golf.

“My dad (Jim) played in the Kircher Cup (Boyne invitational tournament) for a bunch of years, and we have a lot of good memories here,” he said. “(McCoy) is a nice player. He hit some nice shots and made some good par saves.”

McCoy said the work that he has been putting in on his short game paid off.

“I really felt that was the big for me,” he said. “I made some good saves, and I made my birdie putt at 13 when we both had it in there close, and he didn’t. That was big.”

McCoy said his caddie Marcus Kainhofer, a high school teammate and friend, helped him greatly through the week.

“He was definitely a game-changer,” he said. “I don’t know if he’s going to take as much credit as he should, but he was a huge help and kept me focused. Our motto this week was all gas, no brakes.”

He said he expected a great reaction from his teammates at Ferris.

“Everyone on the team is just like a brother, so I’m sure they’re blowing up my phone right now,” he said.

Biagioli, who survived a match that went 26 holes in the round of 16 Thursday, grabbed attention in the semifinals, too. He made a dramatic 18-foot putt for the win on No. 18 in his 1-up semifinal win over Matt Zerbel, the produce broker from St. Joseph.

Both players hit approach shots short and in the famed large pond on the hole, and both then faced down putts for bogey. Zerbel missed his 15-footer and then Biagioli made his putt to move on to the championship match.

Dales, meanwhile, won the first hole in his semifinal against Michigan State-bound Drew Miller of East Lansing and never trailed in a 3 and 2 win. He was 3-under for the 16 holes and did not make a bogey.

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