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Maddalena wins GAM Senior with birdie in playoff
Steve Maddalena (GAM photo)
Steve Maddalena (GAM photo)

Steve Maddalena of Jackson birdied the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with LaRay Anderson of Novi and added a GAM Senior Championship to his Michigan Golf Hall of Fame resume Tuesday at Country Club of Lansing.

“It feels nice to win,” he said after hitting an 8-iron shot to four-feet and making the putt on No. 18, the first playoff hole for the 33rd GAM Senior Championship presented by Sullivan Golf Travel.

“I wanted to win this one. I kind of had this one on my radar. It means I beat everybody in my age group. That’s why it feels nice.”

The 59-year-old Maddalena, who is a three-time Michigan Amateur champion (1980, ’90 and ’95) a past GAM champion (1989), GAM Senior Match Play winner (2016) and a few weeks ago won the senior division in the GAM Mid-Amateur, shot a closing 2-under 70 for 5-under 139.

Anderson matched him with the same scores of 69 and 70 for the two days.

Ray Emsley of Davisburg shot 74 after his 67 from Monday for 141 and third place. Four golfers tied at 142, including Bob Carson of Auburn Hills who closed with a 75, Leo Daigle of Wixom, who shot 70, John Barbour of Grand Rapids, who shot 70 and Jim Lewis of Novi, who shot 72. David Bartnick of Livonia, the defending champion, shot 73 for 143.

In the Super Senior division for golfers over age 65, Mark Ochsankehl of Caledonia avoided a playoff with a key birdie on No. 17 to win that title by one shot. He fired a closing 71 for 142, which topped Terry Westbrook of Grand Rapids, who shot a closing 72 for 143.

Rick Herpich of Orchard Lake, who rallied with a 67, finished third at 144, and next at 145 was Terry Moore of Grand Rapids, who shot 73, and Pete Walz of Jackson, who shot 75.

Ochsankehl, 66, said his key birdie on 17 was with a 6-iron shot to the back of the green on the par 3.

“Then I made a 25-footer going downhill, so that was a big shot,” he said. “I played two days of steady golf. I hit almost every shot good and I putted well. I did everything right for a change.”

Ochsankehl, who won a GAM tournament for the first time after three third-place finishes in GAM Championship over the years, said he has played poorly all summer until about two weeks ago.

“I switched back to my old irons and just started hitting it better,” he said. “My last set was not working. I went back to the old ones and started hitting it good.”

ABOUT THE GAM Senior Championship

Must be a GAM member. 36-hole stroke play event for seniors (55 and older, 8.4 handicap max), and super seniors (65 and older, 10.4 handicap max).

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