Jimmy Chestnut (GAM)
12 years separate the bookends of Jimmy Chestnut’s wins at the Golf Association of Michigan Championship.
The 38-year-old attorney from Royal Oak, Michigan rallied down the stretch as Ann Arbor native Tyler Copp faltered in Tuesday’s final round.
“I’ve won the Michigan Amateur and the GAM, and now the GAM again and to win three of the big GAM events is a big deal for me,” Chestnut told GAM’s, Greg Johnson. “It kicks me up a notch, I guess to another level in my mind, and to do it 12 years later is special.”
As the last golfer to win both the GAM and the Michigan Amateur in the same year (2008), Chestnut kept the draught going. Copp, a soon-to-be senior at Mercer (Georgia), took home the Michigan Amateur earlier this summer. Coming into the final round, Copp looked as though he would become the ninth golfer in the 99-year history of both events to sweep the pair in the same season.
Taking a one-shot lead into the third and final round, Copp was cruising uneventfully through the front nine, tallying a bogey and birdie on Nos. 8 and 9 to close out the front for a 1-under 34. Unfortunately for Copp, three bogeys on the first four holes of the back nine gave Chestnut all the room he needed to snag the lead.
Chestnut was one shot worse on the front side posting an even-par 35. As he began the day 4-shots back of Copp, the attorney began playing the role of both the prosecutor and the defendant.
“I knew I was the last one to do it and when Tyler was a 9-under and I was at 5-under and four back, I started thinking it was his turn [to win]”, Chestnut said. “But then things changed, all of a sudden in a few holes we were tied and in entered my mind again that I could stop the double and still be the last guy to do it, which is kind of cool.”
Copp did not go down without a little bit of drama as he had a tying 20-foot birdie putt come up one revolution short of the bottom of the cup on the 18th green.
“I’m not going to be too hung up about it,” Copp said. “The Michigan Am was the one tournament I wanted to win this summer, so this was just icing on the cake, or could have been.”
A familiar face finished third behind the pair. Michigan State’s James Piot lost the championship match to Copp at the Michigan Amateur. After bringing his “D-game” on Tuesday, Pilot carded a 71 to finish third at 5-under.
With over a decade past since his last big win, Chestnut was reassured that he was very much alive as he came down the stretch.
“I got a break having an open shot on 18 to the green, and then I was able to two-putt with the nerves going,” he said. “That last three-footer was tough. I was lucky it found the bottom of the cup. It was really fun to be the mix, to be right there again with the nerves and it feels great to have pulled it off.”
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ABOUT THE GAM Championship
54-hole stroke play championship with qualifying
required for those who do not meet exemption
Open to men with handicaps of 5.4 or lower.
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