by Greg Johnson
DETROIT: May 13, 2017 – Jimmy Chestnut topped Connor Jones and Brad Bastion on the fourth hole of a sudden-death playoff to win the 2017 Horton Smith Invitational at Detroit Golf Club.
The Horton Smith Invitational features top Michigan Amateurs from the GAM Honor Roll and Michigan Publinx points. The competition, held since 1964, honors World Golf Hall of Famer Horton Smith. Smith was head golf professional at Detroit Golf Club from 1946 until his death at the age of 55 in 1963 from Hodgkin’s disease. Smith was the winner of the inaugural Masters and went undefeated in five Ryder Cups.
The competition features 72 holes of competition over three days at the historic Detroit Golf Club.
To win the 2017 Horton Smith Invitational, Chestnut made an eight-foot birdie putt on No. 4 of the South course to seal the victory after a nervous day.
“I was fighting the nerves all day, missed three putts inside three feet, probably because it’s been a while since I’ve been in that kind of position,” Chestnut said. “I was playing at my club, my home course, and there was so much support out there for me. It felt good to get it done.”
Chestnut, 35 a Royal Oak attorney, is a member of the Detroit Golf Club.
Bastion, a financial planner from Shelby Township, shot a 6-under 62, the low round of the day, to get in the playoff at 3-under 277. Jones, an Oakland University golfer, shot 68 to earn his spot, and Chestnut shot 70.
“I won the Michigan Amateur and the GAM Championship in 2008, and that’s really the last time I was in a position to win a tournament as prestigious as this,” Chestnut said. “And since I became a member here, I’ve really wanted to win this one. It has a great field. Tom Werkmeister was here, and all the college kids.”
The field played the par 72 North course in the first and third rounds, and the par 68 South course in the second and final rounds.
Chestnut and Johnson each opened with 2-under 70s on the North Thursday to share the first-round lead. Chestnut won the Peter Green Award as the 36-hole leader following a 2-under 66 on the South course that put him at 136, two shots ahead of Johnson. Chestnut had a two-shot lead starting the final round on Jones after a third-round 71 on the North on Friday.
Joe Montpas, a Mott Community College golfer from Flushing, shot 66 for 280 ending up fourth behind the three playoff contestants. James Piot of Canton, who is headed to Michigan State’s golf team in the fall, shot 66 for 281, and Alex Dombrowski of Gaylord, who graduates in a few days from Princeton University, shot 69 to tie Piot at 281.
Jerry Gunthorpe, who shot 64 for 282, Ben Smith, who shot 65 for 283, Donnie Trosper, who shot 64 for 284, Austin Kreger, who shot 68 for 285 and Ryan Johnson, who shot 69 for 285, rounded out the top 11.
While the competion was underway on Saturday, Kid Rock, a Detroit GC member and his playing partner, Justin Timberlake, looked on from a round they were playing on the North course.
“They stopped and watched us,” Chestnut said. “There were about 20 carts out there with the playoff. They probably thought all these people were coming out to watch them. It was cool.
SCORES: Posted at www.detroitgolfclub.com
VIA Greg Johnson