August Meekhof (Golf Association of Michigan Photo)
became the first golfer to win back-to-back GAM Championships in 39 years Tuesday at Travis Pointe Country Club.
The Michigan State University golfer from Eastmanville near Grand Rapids shot a closing 5-under 66 for a 7-under total, two shots clear of the field in the 102nd GAM Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.
He also became just the 13th golfer to win consecutive GAM titles and just the 10th Michigan golfer to have won the GAM title and the Michigan Amateur Championship in the same summer.
“That’s awesome,” he said when told he had made history. “It means a lot. These events are always so hard to win, so if I’m putting myself in contention pretty much in every event I’m pretty happy with that.”
Yuqi Liu of Ann Arbor, a University of Michigan golfer who led by three shots after the second round, shot a closing 73 for 208 and second place.
“I started off pretty strong and then some bad breaks. Tried to fight back but in the end was a little short.” Liu said after his round.
Ferris State University golfer Caleb Bond of Williamston and Bryan Haase of Interlochen tied for third at 209. Bond, the freshman of the year last season in the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, shot a closing 4-under 67, and Haase shot a second consecutive even-par 71 after an opening 4-under 67.
Jimmy Dales, a University of Wyoming golfer from Northville, shot 1-over 72 and finished in fifth place.
Meekhof, who trailed Liu by five shots when the final round started, shot a 4-under 32 with four birdies on the front nine while Liu shot 2-over 38 on the front side, including a double-bogey at No. 6.
Liu made consecutive bogeys at holes No. 16 and 17 and a closing birdie at No. 18, but Meekhof had built an advantage concluding with a tap-in birdie on the par 5 18th set up by a third shot from the front left bunker to one foot.
“I knew coming down (No.) 18 that I probably had to birdie it to have a chance to keep the lead and win,” Meekhof said. “The sand shot wasn’t that difficult. I didn’t have that much green to work with, but I just had to get it on the edge of the crater and let it roll down there.”
The last golfer to win back-to-back GAM Championships before Meekhof on Tuesday was Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member John Morgan, the GAM Player of the Decade in the 1980s who won in 1983 and ’84. The last golfer to win the GAM Championship and the Michigan Amateur in the same year prior to Meekhof was Jimmy Chestnut in 2008.
Meekhof said he figured something out with his swing during his second-round 66 Monday afternoon.
“I kind of stuck with what I figured out and just played position golf, hitting the fairways and greens,” he said. “I started solid and the putter got a little hot. That helped.”
He said it was super cool that his family was on hand to watch him make history.
“They were all excited to come out and watch,” he said. “I’m really grateful for that.”View results for GAM Championship
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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