2015 Michigan Amateur champ Ryan Johnson (GAM photo)
SOUTHFIELD, Mich. — Ryan Johnson called it the
highlight of amateur golf for him.
The 30-year-old club-fitter at Carl’s Golfland
outlasted Battle Creek’s Kory Roberts 3 and 1 in
the championship match of the 104th Michigan
Amateur Championship presented by Miles of
Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist Saturday at Plum
Hollow Country Club.
“I started playing golf when I was 10, started
playing in the Michigan Amateur at 16 and this is
why I play competitive golf, to do this,” said
Johnson, a Novi resident who grew up in New
Boston and last year won the GAM
Championship, his first major amateur title.
“To get this win on top of winning the GAM last
year is really special. I didn’t have any
expectations this week. I wasn’t playing that
well. I shot 78 on Monday, but then shot 70 on
Tuesday, made match play and it was a day-to-
Johnson avoided being the next upset victim of
17-year-old Austin Jenner of West Branch in the
morning semifinal by escaping with a 1-up
victory on the final hole of the match. Roberts,
likewise battled Brett Quitiquit of Highland for 19
holes before getting the semifinal win.
Both players admitted fatigue set in during the
championship match. They routinely missed
fairways with tee shots after hitting the majority
of them through the week and scrambling for
par became critical.
“Ryan made the big par putts he needed to
make, the ones I missed,” said Roberts, a 22-
year-old Northwood University golfer. “My tee
shots were something I could count on all week,
and when I lost control of them it got tough.
Hitting the greens is a challenge from this rough,
especially hitting over all the trees.”
Johnson, a Type 1 Diabetic since high school,
said it wasn’t a factor. He was simply worn out
from eight rounds of golf in five days.
“Just too many holes of golf and my legs are just
gone right now,” he said. “The upper body took
over and the shots showed it. I had to scramble,
and I made some big par putts.”
A par save at No. 10 tied the match, a par save
at No. 12 put him 1-up and then a par save at 14
put him 2-up. He won the 17th hole despite tree
trouble with another par because Roberts was in
the trees twice. That closed out the match 3 and
“At that point, I just wanted to keep making
pars,” Johnson said. “You want to make birdies,
but you are so tired that pars become a real
Johnson was elated to accept the Staghorn
Trophy that dates to the early days of the 104-
“Some of the names on it are amazing,” he said.
“And Plum Hollow has a great history, too. Being
part of that is pretty cool.”
View results for Michigan Amateur Golf Championship