RAIN WEARY: Northville’s Mike Anderson Leads Quarterfinalists at 2021 Michigan Amateur
GRAND RAPIDS – Working around multiple weather delays Friday, all 16 golfers of the “Sweet 16” and three rain-weary quarterfinalists have been identified in the 110th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland at Cascade Hills Country Club.
Play ended about 9:45 p.m. with 13 of the round of 16 matches incomplete, and 51-year-old Mike Anderson of Northville, last year’s GAM Mid-Amateur Champion, Oakland University golfer Colin Sikkenga of Kalamazoo, and last year’s runner-up, Michigan State University golfer James Piot of Canton, moving on to the quarterfinals.
Anderson beat Jack Williams of Rochester 3 and 2, Sikkenga topped Coalter Smith of Grosse Pointe and the University of Wisconsin 2 and 1 and Piot turned back his Michigan State teammate August Meekhof of Eastmanville 3 and 1 in the round of 16 late Friday.
Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions for the Golf Association of Michigan, said the Saturday plan is to play as much golf as possible starting at 8 a.m. The original schedule called for semifinal and final matches. It’s likely the tournament could continue into Sunday.
Anderson’s long day started with the completion of a second-round match – a 7 and 5 win over Michigan State University golfer Bradley Smithson of Grand Rapids, who last week won the Michigan Open Championship.
The investments director for Stifel Co. and golf coach at Detroit Catholic Central then had to take on Williams, the Michigan State student who isn’t on the golf team but upset the top seed and defending champion Tyler Copp of Ann Arbor in the first round. Anderson won 3 and 2, finishing about 8:40 p.m. and happy that he had reached an objective for the week.
“Next year the Amateur is at my club, Meadowbrook (Country Club in Northville) and I know that making it to the quarterfinals gets you an exemption,” he said. “I know now I won’t have to qualify and that I will get to play in the Amateur at my home club.”
As for what’s ahead in this Amateur, Anderson realizes he could carry another title on to Meadowbrook, as in defending champion.
“That would be cool,” he said. “Right now all I can think about though is getting back to the hotel and sleeping. The number of holes (he played 24) wasn’t too bad, it was the starting and stopping (of play) and the ground was so wet. It just takes a lot out of you, especially when you are 51 and not in the greatest shape.”
Anderson credited his caddie for the day, Cascade’s Joe Murdock, for helping him a ton. He said his shot of the day might have been on the 16th hole of his match with Williams to close the day.
“The last four or five holes I was just beat and I stopped hitting solid shots, but there (No. 7, dogleg par 4) I hit a really nice 4-iron and had 105 left to the very front flag. Jack had hit his drive up by the green but made par. I made the three-footer for birdie and it was over.”
Williams, who started match play with a bang on Thursday by beating Copp 5 and 3, beat Wayne State University golfer Sean Niles of Northville 2 and 1 before taking on Anderson.
“Not surprised, I just got hot at the right time,” he said of his run. “I play all the time and I think anyone can beat anyone at any time. It just depends on who gets hot.”
Williams, who was a two-time junior college golf winner while playing for Oakland Community College, was playing in his first Amateur after finally making it through the qualifying structure.
“I’ve been trying since my junior year in high school,” he said. “I got through in the second chance qualifier at Owosso (Country Club). I shot 81 in the first one at Edgewood (Country Club), and 68 at Owosso.”
Anderson, seeded 48th, said his game was shaky during stroke play qualifying, but he started hitting the ball well as match play started.
“I didn’t miss a green against Brad and he had a few loose shots and some bad breaks in the rain,” Anderson said. “I’m a big fan of his. Winning the Open last week is an amazing accomplishment. I just played well and he obviously wasn’t playing as well as he did last week.”
The last match on the course as darkness fell was a battle of Spartans with Piot taking on Meekhof, who was a semifinalist a year ago. Piot birdied holes 15 and 17 to close out the match 3 and 1.
THE SWEET 16
CHUCK KOCSIS BRACKET (UPPER)
- Jack Williams, Rochester, 21, Michigan State University student
- Mike Anderson, Northville, 51, investments director Stifel Co.
- Colin Sikkenga, Kalamazoo, 21, Oakland University golfer
- Coalter Smith, Grosse Pointe, 20, University of Wisconsin golfer
- James Piot, Canton, 22, Michigan State University golfer
- August Meekhof, Eastmanville, 19, Michigan State University golfer
- Patrick Sullivan, Grosse Pointe, 21, University of Michigan golfer
- Charles DeLong, DeWitt, 20, Grand Valley State University golfer
GLENN JOHNSON BRACKET (LOWER)
- Grant Haefner, Bloomfield Hills, 23, University of Jacksonville (Fla.) golfer
- Brian Ottenweller, Grand Rapids, 35, agency marketing mgr. Foremost Insurance
- Will Anderson, Portage, 19, University of Michigan golfer
- Zach Robbins, Grand Rapids, 23, Cleveland State University golfer
- Dan Ellis, East Lansing, 31, assistant coach Michigan State University men’s golf
- Tyler Rayman, 22, Otsego, Eastern Michigan University golfer
- Jimmy Dales, 20, Northville, University of Wyoming golfer
- Tyler Eedy, 20, West Branch, Michigan State University golfer
MATCH PLAY BRACKET RESULTS: Visit GAM.org
via Greg Johnson