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Piot Wins 2015 Michigan Junior Amateur

James Piot during the championship match.

James Piot during the championship match.

Canton’s James Piot Tops Canton’s Donnie Trosper to win Michigan Junior Amateur Championship

YPSILANTI – James Piot rallied from behind and then held on with great putting to beat fellow Canton resident and 2013 champion Donnie Trosper in the final match of the 37th Michigan Junior Amateur Championship Thursday.

Piot, 16 and a junior to be at Detroit Catholic Central, made a 25-foot par-saving putt on No. 18 to beat Trosper 1-up in the championship presented by Miles of Golf/Kendall Academy/Titleist at The Polo Fields-Washtenaw.

“It means a lot,” Piot said. “It’s my first win of the season actually and I thought I played pretty well and I’ve been working hard. Hard work pretty much pays off.”

Trosper, 18, the 2014 GAM Junior Boys Player of the Year, and the top seed because he was medalist in the 36-hole match stroke play at the start of the week, birdied two of the first three holes and had a 3-up lead through five holes.

Piot rallied strong and quickly though with three consecutive birdies, two of which won holes and was just 1-down starting the back nine.

Trosper went 2-up at the par 5 No. 10 with a birdie, but Piot battled back winning holes with pars at 14 and 15 where Trosper missed greens and par-saving putts. The two Canton golfers each birdied 16 and then at 17 Trosper’s shot flew right over the top of the flag and into a back bunker. He left the first bunker shot in the sand and ended up conceding the hole.

Both golfers missed the green at 18 with approach shots, and Piot calmly stroked in his 25-foot par putt to secure the match.

“I played pretty good this week, I mean I beat the whole field by six (shots) the first couple of days,” Trosper said. “If I made a couple of those par putts coming in, I probably win it. But James made a lot of putts. He made a great putt on 18.”

Piot said he figured the wind would be to his advantage at the start of the match, too.

“Donnie hits it really high, and he might have used too much club at 17, too,” he said. “I went for the middle of the green there. I didn’t want to end up in that back bunker and my putter came back for me on the back nine. I was pretty confident with it and Donnie missed a couple of par putts he doesn’t normally miss.”

Piot reached the final with a semifinal win over 2013 GAM Junior Boys Player of the Year Andrew Walker of Battle Creek in 19 holes, and it took Trosper 23 holes and a 30-foot birdie putt to finally top Dylan Deogun of Orchard Lake in the morning.

Trosper, 18, is headed to Central Florida to play college golf. Deogun, 18, is headed to Mercer University in Macon, Ga., and Walker, 17, is an early verbal commitment to Michigan State University.

Piot, who was runner-up to Jake Kneen of White Lake last year, plans to defend his title next summer.

“It feels good to win,” he said. “It’s a lot of golf and I was pretty consistent all week.”

Learn more and see the championship results, bracket and photo gallery at www.gam.org. Also, follow the GAM on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

via Greg Johnson

Playing Kaluhyat Golf Club at Turning Stone Resort

Turning Stone Kaluhyat (1 of 1)

Kaluhyat Golf Course at Turning Stone Resort in New York

This week I have the good fortune to stay and play at Turning Stone Resort in New York. Today I played Kaluhyat, which is ranked #71 on Golf Digest’s 100 Best Courses in the United States.

Kaluhyat is an very challenging course designed by Robert Trent Jones III. I did not play very well, but I enjoyed the fact that the course made me think.

More photos and a review to come.

Kelpin Wins 2015 Michigan Tournament of Champions

Barrett Kelpin holds the Walter Burkemo Tournament of Champions Trophy.

Barrett Kelpin holds the Walter Burkemo Tournament of Champions Trophy.

Kalamazoo’s Barrett Kelpin Holds On, Wins Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain

BOYNE FALLS – Kalamazoo’s Barrett Kelpin said playing in the 24th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort is like a golf tournament and a vacation up north all rolled into one.

“This is a special tournament and to win it feels so great,” he said after shooting a closing 1-under 71 on the Alpine course Wednesday for a 14-under total of 202, one shot better than two-time defending champion Andy Ruthkoski.

“It was touch and go right to the end, but I’m really glad I was able to finish it off.”

Kelpin, 26, the 2012 Michigan Open champion and a one-time winner on the mini-tour circuit, maintained the lead through the day, but Ruthkoski, Brian Cairns and Chris Mory all pulled within two shots at various times.

On the final hole, the par 5 18th, Kelpin had a two-shot advantage on Ruthkoski, who powered a 230-yard shot to reach the green in two for a 25-foot putt at eagle.

The 32-year-old 2007 Michigan Open winner ended up making birdie with a two-putt for a 70 while Kelpin went for the green in two with a 3-iron, missed right, chipped over the green into the fringe and two-putted for par and the one shot win.

“After Andrew hit a great shot on the green there I figured he was going to make eagle,” Kelpin said. “I agonized a little, but I had hit a good drive and I had the yardage for a smooth 3-iron. I didn’t hit it like I wanted, but getting a 5 was enough. I played to win, and it is good experience for me to be faced with that decision.”

Kelpin, who will attempt PGA Tour and Web.com qualifying this fall, won $10,000 of the $55,000 purse and topped a field of 100 golfers in the unique tournament that brings together men, women, juniors, seniors, professionals, amateurs and even members of the same families competing against each other from three sets of tees for the same coveted championship. Each player in the field has won a Michigan major golf tournament or state title to earn the invitation to compete.

Cairns, a teaching pro at Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, finished third with a closing 69 for 205. Mory, a Hawk Hollow Golf Club pro in Bath, shot 72 for 207 and fourth place.

Reigning Michigan Open champion Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile, who shot 70, and five-time champion Jeff Roth, who shot 71, finished at 208.

Joe Hooks of Commerce Township shot 73 for 209 and was the low amateur in the championship. Suzanne Green-Roebuck closed with a 69 for 210 and was the low female player in the field.

Kelpin, who also won the traditional green jacket and was awarded the honorary lifetime membership to Boyne Mountain Resort, said the final round was a grind.

“I knew Ruthie and Chris were going to keep charging all day, and the thing is, none of us were making any putts, so it was hard out there,” he said. “Down the stretch I knew it was going to come down to chipping and putting because I wasn’t hitting it that great. I’m really pleased I was able to close it out. It feels great.”

Kelpin said the win was culmination of a year of hard work with teacher Adam Schriber of Lochenheath in Traverse City.

“It has been a while since I won,” he said. “I know Adam will be thrilled, too.”

Ruthkoski, who charged into the lead Monday with a tournament and course record 61 on the Alpine, said he really wanted to win a third consecutive Tournament of Champions, but that Kelpin was not going to let it happen.

“He played great, didn’t make a big mistake and played the way you should play when you are the leader – make everybody come and get him,” he said. “I gave myself chances. I just didn’t make any putts. From No. 11 on I had chances inside 15 feet, lipped two of them out and a couple didn’t break the way I thought they would.”

More information is available at www.michiganpgagolf.com, and check out the Michigan PGA on Facebook. More information on Boyne Mountain Resort can be found at www.boyne.com.

via Greg Johnson

Golf Trivia On Top 100 Courses

Turning Stone

Turning Stone

I’m on a media trip to Turning Stone Casino and Resort in New York and at dinner last night I learned an interesting bit of trivia: There are six places in the United States that have two top 100 courses on the same property. Not the same town. Or the same region. On the same property.

Obviously, Turning Stone is one of them. Can you name the others? Without looking it up, put it in the comments below.

I got four of the six and was slapping my head as an idiot when I heard the others.