Rick Herpich and Joan Garety
of Orchard Lake and Joan Garety
of Ada closed out the Golf Association of Michigan season by winning the GAM Senior Tournament of Champions presented by Garland Lodge & Golf Resort Monday at Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club.
Herpich, 69 and an Orchard Lake Country Club member, shot an even-par 71 and then won on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff with Andrew Abood of Lansing. It was his second GAM Senior TOC title. He also won in 2020.
Garety, a Michigan Golf Hall of Famer and Egypt Valley Country Club member, shot a 74 to win the women’s title. It was her first Senior TOC, but she has three GAM TOC titles on her rich resume.
The championship brought together the winners of a GAM member club championship or a GAM tournament over the summer.
Herpich and Abood were tied on just the final two holes of regulation play forcing the playoff, and they were just one shot ahead of 72 shooters Grosse Ile G&CC member Robert Papp of Trenton, and Chuck Christie of Beverly Hills.
Garety took the lead in the middle of the round and maintained it, holding off Julie Massa of Holt, who shot 77 and Donna Tepper of Grosse Pointe Park, who shot 81 for third place.
Herpich won the playoff with an eight-iron shot from the left rough to 15 feet on No. 1 where he two-putted for par. Abood, meanwhile, hit his approach shot over the green, chipped on and missed his par putt attempt.
“It feels good to win, play a solid round and it’s always nice to get a trophy,” Herpich said. “The greens were really fast and rolling great and I’m really just now starting to hit the ball more consistently than I have all summer. I feel like my game is coming together, unfortunately, it’s at the end of the season.”
Herpich said he felt lucky to get in a playoff.
“I was two shots back for most of the day and telling myself I needed to make birdies,” he said. “I didn’t. I made two, but also had two bogeys. I just kind of stayed there and was fortunate Andrew missed a birdie putt on his final hole (of regulation play).”
Garety said she surprised herself by winning. She had played just two rounds since the middle of August having made a trip to South Africa, Zimbabwe and Botswana, coming home for a week to be inducted into the Michigan State Athletics Hall of Fame and then going on a river cruise in Oregon and returning home Sunday night.
“My objective for today was just to not worry about it and just play,” she said. “So I was not tracking my score. I wasn't looking at the leaderboard. I wasn't doing anything I was just playing in and I happened to have a fairly good ball-striking round but not anything special. But I did have a really good putting round, especially from like three to 10 feet which is critical with these greens. They are so fast and smooth, and some putts, you just have to breathe on them.”
Garety, who is retired said travel, fishing and other activities have left her with a different focus on golf.
“It used to be that I would plan what I was doing around tournaments,” she said. “Now I just play in tournaments that fit around what I’m doing. It’s a reverse kind of situation, but when you get a chance to travel like I have the trips can be so special.”
by Greg Johnson, GAMView results for GAM Senior Tournament of Champions
ABOUT THE GAM Senior Tournament of Champions
18-hole stroke play tournament open to Senior Men
Women who have won their GAM Club Championship
a GAM Championship in the current year.
View Complete Tournament Information