Randy Lewis, the 2017 GAM Senior Match Play champion
FLINT, MI (June 2, 2017) – Randy Lewis of Alma thought he was falling apart this spring. He battled a sinus infection, a case of Shingles in his left eye, poison ivy and a deep thigh bruise suffered when cutting down a small tree.
“My game suffered for a while there, but this week it was back,” he said after turning back Matt Wiley of Westland 4 and 3 at Flint Golf Club Friday to win the 9th GAM Senior Match Play Championship.
It was the second Senior Match Play title for the 60-year-old Lewis, a Raymond James financial planner who also won in 2014 and is a two-time Michigan Amateur champion, a U.S. Mid-Amateur champion (2011) and is in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
“I really played well all week,” he said. “I went to the (GAM-GAO) Senior Matches in Canada last week and hit the driver as well as I ever have, and then this week my putting and chipping saved me, especially today.”
A Super Senior Division champion was also defined in an all-Flint golfer final match. Mark Christenson, a Flint Golf Club member, topped Michigan Publinx player Lawrence Hogard 2 and 1. It was Christenson’s second Super Senior title in the last three years. He won in 2015 among the over-65 set, had both knees replaced in 2016, and won again Friday.
“I played some golf last year, but not any tournament golf and you never know if you are going to be able to come back and compete,” said the 70-year-old insurance agent and income tax consultant. “It’s great to be competitive again. It was a lot of golf this week, and I just held Larry off.”
Lewis, who will be part of the field in the 106th Michigan Amateur Championship June 20-24 at Egypt Valley in Ada, was all square through nine holes with Wiley, but won No. 10 with a par-saving six footer and then hit an approach shot on the par 5 No. 11 hole to inside one foot for birdie.
“I thought 10 was a big turning point because Matt made a really nice pitch there on what was a brutal pin placement,” he said. “I had a double-breaker, and my second putt was a tough six-footer. That was a great putt – a big putt for me in the match.”
Wiley, who has lost over 70 pounds in the last year, had played little competitive golf in the last 10 years and was excited about being in the title match.
“Randy is the best,” said the retired Ford employee who does contract systems work. “He has done everything in Michigan golf. It was a good match for nine holes, and then he put the hammer down. I made a few mistakes, and you can’t make mistakes against Randy.”
Lewis said he was elated to win at Flint Golf Club because of the friends he has who are members, and because he has rarely played well on the classic Willie Park Jr. design.
“I don’t know what it is because it’s the kind of course that is perfect for my game,” he said. “I just never had success here until this week. It feels really good to win here, and just to win a tournament again. I haven’t won since the last time I won this (2014). I’ve had some good performances in USGA tournaments, but no wins. Winning never gets old.”
Christensen said he didn’t feel any pressure to play well at his home course and he enjoyed battling Hogard in the Super Senior final because they have competed against each other for years.
“I was thinking more about my knees,” he said. “I’m really still rehabbing. It’s only five months since the second one. I just kept playing.”
Hogard, 71 and a retired General Motors pipe fitter, said the match could have gone either way.
“I missed a few short putts, and that is normally my game, getting up and down,” he said. “I battled back from 3-down to 1-down, but hit a shot down by the trees on 14. I had won 12 and 13, so I was coming before 14. Mark’s a good player. Neither of us had our A game, but he is a hard guy to catch.”