BLOOMFIELD HILLS, (June 19, 2012) – Brian Hayward (Grand Rapids) did not let the fast greens at Oakland Hills Country Club scare him. Hayward shot 66-71—137 to earn medalist honors at the 101st Michigan Amateur today.
“Putting was the best part of my game today; it is always the best part of my game,” said Hayward. “I think I had 24 putts yesterday and 28 today.”
This is not the first time the Grand Rapids CPA has competed on the North Course at Oakland Hills. He was there for the 2009 Fuller Cup and said the familiarity helped him to play well this week.
“I do think it is a course that fits my game,” said Hayward. “You don’t have to hit it nine miles off the tee to be able to play the course. It is more about knowing how to read the course and put the ball in the right place. I can hit the ball good, but not like some of these college kids.”
The difference between yesterday’s 66 and today’s 71, Hayward said, was just getting into some places on the course where he shouldn’t have been.
“I hit over the green on 18 and doubled it,” said Hayward. “Then I got into a couple of bunkers and into the rough on a couple of holes and you can’t hit out of that with an iron here.”
Hayward will be the top seed when match play begins tomorrow with the field of 64 players.
Runner up Spencer Slade (Saline) gave Hayward a run for his money finishing 67-72—139.
After the front nine it looked like there might be a playoff for the top spot on the leaderboard but Slade struggled on the last three holes and finished second to Hayward.
“It was a struggle,” said Slade. “The wind made it challenging but I was able to grind it out. A couple of errant shots on the last three holes and I paid dearly for it.”
Slade did not make the cut last year at the 100th Michigan Amateur at Boyne and said working two jobs and going to school at Eastern Michigan University does not give him much time to practice.
“I think what is working well is the simplicity of my game,” said Slade. “I don’t have a lot of shots in my arsenal because I don’t have a lot of time to practice. I just try to hit it down the middle.”
The 60-year-old Bill Zylstra (Dearborn Heights) also challenged with 68-72—140. Zylstra said he was not playing particularly well going into the tournament and that finishing in the top five was a pleasant surprise.
“To be right in the hunt today was kind of unexpected because I have not been playing that well,” said Zylstra. “I have a way of keeping it together sometimes where kids sometimes will let it go.”
The 2009 Michigan Amateur Champion, Tom Werkmeister (Grand Rapids) shot a solid 70-70—140 and said his goal is always to be the medalist.
“I can’t say that I was doing any one thing particularly well. I just played very solid,” said Werkmeister. “I missed some putts, left myself with some long putts, but overall I was very steady.”
Werkmeister said it was not the speed of the greens that made the second day of play more difficult than the first.
“The greens were quite a bit different today but I honestly think it was more due to the pin placement than anything.”
The 65-year-old Greg Reynolds kept pace with the youngsters shooting a 71 in the second day of play and making the cut with a 147 total for the two days of stroke play.
“I had to try to play smart and not make a lot of bad swings,” said Reynolds. “I knew I had to come out and shoot something around par today.”
Reynolds says he has played in the Michigan Amateur 38 times and believes he has advanced to match play at least 23 consecutive times.
“I don’t remember the last time I didn’t make match play at the Michigan Amateur.,” said Reynolds. “I’m sure someplace I didn’t. But not recently that I can think of.”
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