HARBOR SPRINGS, Mich. (August 28, 2014) – Troy’s Andrew Smith put a new grip on his putter this week and it paid dividends right away in the first round of the 32nd GAM Mid-Amateur Championship presented by Boyne Golf.
Smith, a 39-year-old native of England and furniture industry manufacturer’s representative, shot a 5-under-par 66 on the Donald Ross Memorial Course at Boyne Highlands Resort Thursday to take the lead through one round in the 36-hole championship for golfers age 25 and over.
“The new grip made all the difference in my putting,” he said after a round of five birdies without a bogey. “I started well and putted well all day long.”
Smith had the lead on 68-shooting Nathan Clark of Charlotte and 2013 GAM Player of the Year Brad Bastion of Shelby Township and defending champion Tom Werkmeister of Kentwood, who each opened with 69s.
Scott Strickland of Birmingham and Ken Hudson of Bloomfield Hills shot 70, and Brett Hudson of Bloomfield Hills shot 71.
The group at 72 included recent GAM Champion Ryan Johnson of New Boston, Kasey Hocquard of Cheboygan, Peter Farner of Kalamazoo,, Nate Golomb of Grand Rapids and Robert Matthiesen of Mason.
The field was split in half to take on the Ross and the Arthur Hills courses in the two days of stroke play competition, and an overall champion and winners in three additional categories will be determined (Mid-Amateur age 25 and over, Mid-Seniors 45 and over, Seniors 55 and over and Super Seniors 65 and over).
Smith said a 50-foot putt on the par 5 No. 5 hole on the Ross course was the highlight of his best round on the Boyne Highlands courses. He is looking forward to the final round Friday.
“I like the Hills course, too,” he said. “It’s very nice, I’m playing well and if the weather cooperates it should be a fun day.”
Clark, a 35-year-old financial advisor, played in the U.S. Amateur earlier this summer. He highlighted his 68 with a 4-under 31 on the back nine of the Ross.
“I got off to a bad start, bogeyed the first two and then three-putted No. 7 so I was 3-over then,” he said. “I was just missing greens and missing tee shots early. It had been a week since I touched a club so I had to get the rust off right away.”
He said he will be looking for a good start in the final round.
“I’ve really only played once a week since the U.S. Am, and had to get back to work,” he said. “Playing today should help me get off to a better start tomorrow. I like the Hills course. I like all the courses here.”
View results for Golf Association of Michigan Mid-Amateur Golf Championship