BIRMINGHAM, AL (September 30, 2016) -- The team from Michigan jumped on the back of Tom Werkmeister and rode him to victory at the 2016 playing of the USGA State Team Championship on Friday. Werkmeister fired a final round 4-under 67 as he helped propel Michigan to a 5-under finish and a three-stroke victory at the Country Club of Birmingham.
Michigan began the day 1-over and tied for fourth but once Werkmeister got rolling there was no slowing him down. The 2016 U.S. Mid-Amateur medalist carded the first of his six birdies on the 4th hole while also beginning a run of five birds in eight holes.
Werkmeister did falter a bit coming in, closing bogey-birdie-bogey but he was still able to finish 5-under which tied him with Jay Whitby of Delaware for individual honors.
“I missed a couple of putts early in the round. I'm like, well, at least I'm hitting it close. I've got chances, right? And then the putts started falling and I started kind of getting in the groove,” said Werkmeister, who made six birdies during his round. “It was just really, really cool, waiting for the last groups to come in, hanging out with our teammates, fist bumping and hugging and slapping high fives. At that point I thought, win or lose, this is really cool.”
Evan Bowser, a recent Oakland University graduate, recorded the second Michigan score of the week after rounds of 73-71-70 to finish 1-over. On Friday Bowser, an All-Horizon League first teamer in 2016, tallied birdies on the opening and closing holes while also bogeying the 14th.
“It's great. Each time I've played in this, I've seen other states getting recognition for being previous winners or seeing the pictures with them celebrating,” said Werkmeister, who has represented his state five times. “It's like, I want to do that, I want us to do that. This is big for the state of Michigan. Really big.”
A pair of teams finished tied for second; North Carolina (David Gies II, Justin Tereshko and Scott Harvey) and Arizona (Cory Bacon, Ken Tanigawa and Bryan Hoops). Both sides finished 2-under.
Finishing in fourth place it was Florida (Joe Alfieri, Marc Dull and Jake Kevorkian) at 1-over while three teams including 36-hole leader Connecticut (Geoff Vartelas, John Flaherty and Chet Hrostek) placed fifth at 4-over.
2014 champions Texas (Joshua Irving, Scott Abbott and Zach Atkinson) were tied for eighth with a 54-hole 5-over count.
-The USGA contributed to this story