Michigan Amateur champion Tyler Copp (GAM photo)
Golf and hockey have not meshed this well since Happy Gilmore learned how to putt.
The Michigan Amateur Championship crowned its 109th champion this week following eight rounds of fantastic golf at Boyne Highlands Resort.
Michigan State rising senior James Piot and recent Spartan graduate Andrew Walker shared medalist honors at 6-under through 36-holes before the championship shifted gears to match play.
The duo split ways in the Round of 16 as Walker lost his match to rising Mercer University senior Tyler Copp. Piot and Copp battled their way to a championship match.
Copp had quite the challenge ahead of him as Piot was arguably the hottest player in the event. After sharing medalist honors, Piot went 7 & 5, 7 & 6, 4 & 3, 1 up, and 4 & 3 on his way to his matchup against Copp.
A former hockey goalie in his youth and brother of Winnipeg Jets center, Andrew, Copp was unfazed by Piot’s performance. Taking a 1 up lead on the opening hole, Copp used the mental toughness he learned at the rink. Piot countered with wins on the second and third hole before Copp regained control, building a 2 up lead through 10 holes.
3 up through 12, Copp dropped a hole to Piot on 13. Needing an up-and-down on 14 to maintain his 2 up advantage, Copp zipped a 50-yard chip shot to less than a foot to keep the match in his favor.
“That was huge up-and-down,” Copp told the Golf Association of Michigan. “I probably have had better ones, but that was the most important one I’ve ever had. It was the biggest shot of the day. James had momentum there.”
Copp reflected on the tournament and just how much golf he played over the week saying that he "thrives" in match play more so than four days of stroke play.
"I like to get honed-in and not think about the what-ifs," Copp said. "My mentality was good all week and I stayed mentally sharp and played well.”
Ann Arbor has not been able to claim a Michigan Amateur champ since William Newcombe won the event in 1967.
“It’s the most important golf tournament that I’ve wanted to win," said Copp. "It makes me want to just keep on winning bigger and bigger tournaments.”
ABOUT THE Michigan Amateur
The Michigan State Amateur is the state's most
prestigious amateur championship. Sectional
is required for those who do not meet the exemption
requirements. Format is 36-holes of stroke play
followed by a cut to the low 64 players for match
View Complete Tournament Information