Six Teams Qualify for GAM Senior/Mid-Am Team Finals

Written By: Greg Johnson

Six pairs out of a starting field of 124 two-golfer teams have earned a spot in the finals of the 14th GAM Senior/Mid-Am Team Championship later this season.

Champion and runner-up teams were determined at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club and Travis Pointe Country Club in Ann Arbor Monday joining a pair from last Monday at Western Golf & Country Club in Redford to make up the field for the finals set for Tuesday, Oct. 11, at Barton Hills Country Club. The popular championship features a Senior golfer (55-and-over) teamed up with a Mid-Amateur golfer (23-and-over).

Grosse Ile members David Vaclav of Flat Rock and Matt Mahanic of Grosse Ile topped the field at their home club. They teamed up for a four-ball score of 8-under 63 in the morning and then fashioned a 1-over 72 in the afternoon foursomes, also known as alternate shot.

Their 135 total topped the 6-under 136 carded by the runner-up team of Bob Papp of Trenton and Sheldon Taylor of Grosse Ile, who are also members of the host club and also moving on to the finals. Three teams tied for third at 1-under.

“Local knowledge, knowing the greens, was a huge advantage in this format,” said Vaclav, who has been a member at the club for 45 years. “I mean, we played well, too, especially in the morning. It was really fun. The golf course is in good shape, the greens are great and the GAM set it up tough, but fair. You can make it impossible with pin positions out there if you want, but it was great.”

Meanwhile at Travis Pointe, Andrew Tindall of Chelsea and Mike Ignasiak of Saline shot 8-under 64 in best-ball and then a 4-under 68 in alternate shot for a 12-under 132 and three-shot win. They were the Senior/Mid-Am Team overall champions two years ago.

Scott Strickland of Bloomfield Hills and Tom Gieselman of Commerce Township shot 66-69 for 135 and the second spot in the finals. Al Pumford and Nick Pumford shot 67-74 for 3-under and third place.

“I played really well in the morning especially driving the ball,” Ignasiak said. “No missed fairways. And then in the afternoon Andrew took over. So we kind of ham and egged and that was good. This is the third year we’ve played together and we kind of feed off each other. We see the ball the same way, so it has worked out well for us.”

Last week at Western G&CC, Matt Ostby of Kingsley and Wayne Hamal of Empire won when they recovered from a double-bogey and immediately birdied their final hole in shooting a 3-over 75 alternate shot score to go with a 66 in best-ball for a 3-under 141 total. They will be in the finals for the second time in three years.

Two teams tied for second at 142 forcing a playoff. Greg Davies of West Bloomfield and Anthony Sorentino of Rochester Hills, who shot 65-77, made a birdie when Davies holed a 17-foot putt on the second playoff hole to earn the second spot in the finals.

Also at 142 and falling in the playoff were Jimmy Chestnut of Bloomfield Hills and Ken Hudson of Lake Orion who had rounds of 66 and 76.

“Alternate shot does funny things and I didn’t look at the leaderboard until the last hole,” Ostby said. “We had just made double (bogey) trying to make birdie when we could have parred our way in and won. Then we had to make birdie and we came through. We’re a good team. We’ve done well in this before. We both shape the ball the opposite direction but somehow we’re good teammates.”

Cover photo: David Vaclav, left, and Matt Mahanic celebrate a successful hole in their winning effort at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club.

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