Jake Kieronski (GAM photo)
DETROIT (Oct. 8, 2018) – Jake Kieronski of Wyandotte birdied the No. 1 hole on the North course at Detroit Golf Club three times Monday, including twice in a three-man sudden-death playoff that went four holes.
“If feels amazing,” said the Lakes of Taylor Golf Club champion after claiming the Golf Association of Michigan Tournament of Champions title for 2018.
Kieronski, a 30-year-old independent insurance agent, shot 2-under 70 in regulation play. It left him tied with this summer’s GAM Mid-Amateur champion Scott Strickland and Battle Creek Country Club champion Bill Johnson, who each also shot 70.
The playoff used Nos. 1, 2 and 9, and Kieronski and Johnson each birdied No. 1 while Strickland was eliminated with a par. Kieronski and Johnson then halved hole 2 with pars and hole 9 with bogeys. That set up the winning birdie back at No. 1 for Kieronski and earned him his first GAM title.
“I hit my 60-degree (wedge) in there, and had good birdie putts each time,” Kieronski said of No. 1. “I played well, and this means a lot. I thought (Johnson) was going to make par on nine and win it. I was ready to take my hat off and shake his hand, but he missed his putt and I got another chance. That’s golf. We had to go one more.”
A field of 77 golfers eligible for having won a GAM member club championship or a GAM title during the 2018 golf season played in the 18-hole season-concluding stroke play tournament to determine male and female champions. The men played the North course and the women played the South course.
Kieronski, who played college golf and baseball at Henry Ford Community College and worked in the golf industry previously, said he got nervous when he saw his name on the leaderboard tied with Strickland.
“To be honest, I was shaking in my boots because I know how good he is,” he said. “This means a lot to win this. There are some really good golfers in this, some of the best players in the state, so for me to do something like this feels great.”
Johnson, 36 and an industrial automation salesman, lamented missing his four-foot putt at No. 9 that would have given him the win.
“I really played well, just missed a few putts and that one I pulled just a little,” he said.
Brian Donohoe of Rochester Hills and Ian Martin of Saline each shot 72 to round out the top five.
Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll of Haslett repeated as champion in the women’s competition on the South course, also in a playoff.
View results for GAM Tournament of Champions
ABOUT THE GAM Tournament of Champions
18-hole stroke play tournament open to Men and
Women who have won their GAM Club
a GAM Championship in the current year.
View Complete Tournament Information