ORCHARD LAKE – East Lansing’s Mike Tungate tore two tendons in his left arm last November and wasn’t sure he would ever play golf again.
He is playing championship golf as evidenced by his eight-foot sliding birdie putt from above the hole on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff Tuesday at Orchard Lake Country Club to win the 29th GAM Senior Championship presented by presented by OmniKinetics.
The birdie came on No. 18, the first playoff hole, and it made Orchard Lake member Rich Herpich the runner-up.
Tungate, whose 70 set the pace Monday, shot a second round 79 for 149 to tie with Herpich, who closed with a 73 after a 76 Monday.
“I’m thrilled,” said the 59-year-old insurance agent and past Lansing city champion who won a Golf Association of Michigan state title for the first time. “My son, Grant, won the GAM Championship in 2004, so we have two of these GAM state titles in the family now.”
Tom Dyl of Trenton won the Super Senior (age 65-and-over) tournament within the tournament for the second consecutive year. A field of 160 golfers over age 55 played over the two days.
Tungate hit wedge to eight feet above the hole in the sudden-death playoff while Herpich hit a shot to about 12 feet below the hole. Herpich’s birdie putt came up just part, but Tungate tapped his and it hit center cup.
“The greens are really tough, really fast here, and that’s actually good for me,” Tungate said. “I tend to yip my putts, so fast greens where I don’t have to stroke it and instead can tap it really help me. I like the fast greens.”
Tungate said Dr. Mike Shingles, who works with the Michigan State University athletic teams, did the surgery on him last fall. It took him four months of therapy before he could start swinging a golf club.
“I started the summer shooting in the 90s, then the mid-80s, then low 80s, finally 70s and here we are now,” he said. “Dr. Shingles fixed me up and I’m happy to be playing good golf again, and again, I’m thrilled about this. I didn’t have a great day today, but had a great day yesterday and it was just enough.”
Four golfers tied for second at 150, one shot out of the playoff. They included well-decorated past state champions Randy Lewis of Alma, who shot 74, and Greg Reynolds of Grand Blanc, who shot 77. Also at 150 were Mark Ochsankehl of Grand Rapids and John Armstrong of Grosse Ile, who each shot 73 to close.
Dyl, 68 and the owner of two construction companies, overcame making a quadruple-bogey 8 on the No. 1 hole to start the final round in the Super Senior competition. He finished with a 76 for 151, including a birdie-birdie-par finish on the tough Orchard Lake closing holes.
“I made a solid 8,” the Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club member said and laughed. “I hit it in the bunker on the tee shot, then hit it in the bunker on my approach shot and then it took me a few extra shots to get out of the bunker. It was not a great start, but I played well after that and had a good finish.”
Craig Camalo of Ann Arbor finished second by a shot with a closing 75 for 152. Dave Kemper of Ann Arbor, who shot 78, George Dillon of Midland, who shot 79, and Claud Johnston of Ann Arbor, who shot 78, all tied at 153 to round out the Super Senior top five.
Dyl said the Colt & Alison-designed classic golf course that dates to 1927 played tough.
“It was extremely tough, fair, but very fast and tough,” he said. “The course is in beautiful shape. The members should be proud.”
via Greg Johnson