Bowser Wins GAM Women’s Mid Amateur

Dearborn’s Elayna Bowser Wins GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur At Travis Pointe Country Club.

Dearborn’s Elayna Bowser Wins GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur

 ANN ARBOR – A year ago Elayna Bowser of Dearborn made a career switch to selling houses instead of chasing professional golf dreams, but she clearly has not given up on the game.

  The 27-year-old reinstated amateur shot a final-round 1-over 73 for a 2-under 142 tournament total and a seven-shot win in the 26th GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship presented by Stifel Investment Services at Travis Pointe Country Club Wednesday.

  “I gave it a good go for four years,” the 2019 Michigan Women’s Amateur champion said of playing professionally. “I can sit here and say I gave it my all and it led me to why I decided to switch back to amateur golf. I didn’t want to continue the route I was going and end up hating the game. Professional golf was a struggle mentally, physically and emotionally and I had to change. I knew I still loved the game, and once I got my real estate license, then I realized okay, I can do things other than just golf. So, I was very content with my decision to get my (amateur) status back and play for the love of the game again.”

    Four golfers finished at 5-over 149 in her wake: Isabella Gimenez de Garcia of Portage, who shot 75 to close, 2022 Mid-Amateur champion Chelsea Collura of Wyandotte, who shot 74, last summer’s Michigan Women’s Amateur Champion Katie Chipman of Grand Rapids, who shot 73 and Ashley Mumby of Ann Arbor, who shot 72. Chipman took home the second-place trophy by winning a four-way scorecard playoff.

   In addition to the traditional Mid-Amateur Division of golfers over age 25 where the overall champion was determined, champions were also crowned in a Senior Division for golfers over 50, and golfers ages 19 to 24 played were once again added to the field as a division to afford them another GAM playing opportunity.

  Both the Senior Division and 19-24 Division first-place trophies traveled home to the same house in Haslett as senior-playing mother Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll and daughter Olivia Stoll emerged as champions.

  Slobodnik-Stoll, an 11-time unprecedented previous Mid-Amateur champion and the head women’s golf coach at Michigan State University, shot a final 77 for 150 to top the Senior set. Joan Garety of Ada, like Slobodnik-Stoll a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, shot 82 for 157 and tied with Lori Schlicher of Lewiston, who closed with an 80.

  Olivia, a Grand Valley State University golfer who was recently named the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Conference Golfer of the Year for the second consecutive year, birdied the last two holes in a 70 for 140 to top the collegiate set and win her first GAM champion trophy. Bridget Boczar of Canton, an Oakland University golfer who led after the first round, shot 72 for 141 and second, and Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, a University of Wisconsin golfer, shot 71 for 144 and third.

    “I’m prouder of Olivia winning than anything I do myself,” Slobodnik-Stoll said. “I think I’ll always love competing and it’s so much more fun now that Olivia is playing in the same tournaments. I love that, and I love seeing all my friends I’ve been friends with for 30 years. And honestly, I’m so glad that Olivia loves the game. She obviously has some fire in her because she came here wanting to win today, that was her goal, and doing it shows me a little of what’s inside of her. Then when you add in all the things, we’ve been able to do together with golf, that’s just awesome.”

  Olivia said she wasn’t making as many putts as the first round but stayed confident.

  “I was still hitting it close, and I knew exactly where I was at because I was playing in the same group as (Boczar),” she said. “On our last two holes we had the par 5 (No. 14), it’s reachable and I made birdie there, and then on the next hole (15), the last for our group, we both had six-footers for birdie. She had to go first and lipped out, and I knew that if I’m going to make a putt today it has to be this one. It felt great to see it go in.”

  Olivia said she expected her mother would win the Senior Division.

  “It’s exciting we both take home trophies this time,” she said. “Maybe we’ll stop and get ice cream.”

  Boczar, who was headed out after her wire-to-wire win for some real-estate appointments, said she decided before the tournament just to have fun.

  “Just like the old days, back playing amateur golf, just having fun and that’s what I did,” she said. “Regardless of the outcome my goal was to go out and have fun and fall in love with the game again. I haven’t played a tournament in over a year, and I don’t practice like I used to, so I went one shot at a time, stayed focused and for the most part hit fairways and greens. The feelings came back fairly easy, like they never left.”

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