GAM Player of the Year 2021: James Piot
Canton’s James Piot Tops 2021 Men’s Points List
FARMINGTON HILLS – James Piot of Canton, who this summer became the only Michigan golfer to ever win the U.S. Amateur Championship, said after being named the GAM Men’s Player of the Year in 2020 that he wanted to finish 2021 tournaments with more trophies.
“I’d say I got a few good ones,” the Michigan State University golfer quipped.
Piot, 23, topped the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Points List for the second consecutive year and has been named the 2021 GAM Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today.
Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org. Earlier this week Kimberly Dinh of Midland was named the GAM Women’s Player of the Year. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Piot, who also won the GAM Championship at Franklin Hills Country Club, totaled 1,495 points to top the list. The largest amount of points came from the U.S. Amateur and GAM wins, but the GAM member via Fox Hills Golf & Banquet Center also made the prestigious final 16 in the Western Amateur Championship and had other significant top finishes on the national amateur circuit.
Patrick Sullivan of Grosse Pointe and Country Club of Detroit, a University of Michigan golfer who won the Michigan Amateur Championship, including a quarterfinal round match play win over Piot, finished second with 518 points.
Grant Haefner of West Bloomfield and Orchard Lake Country Club, a Jacksonville University (Fla.) golfer, was third with 535 points.
Bradley Smithson of Grand Rapids and Egypt Valley Country Club, a teammate of Piot’s at Michigan State, became just the sixth amateur to win the Michigan Open Championship, finished fourth with 463 points, and Tyler Rayman of Otsego and Lake Doster Golf Club, an Eastern Michigan University golfer who was runner-up to Sullivan in the Michigan Amateur, rounded out the top five with 360 points.
Piot, who is also a past Junior Boys’ Player of the Year, said topping the points list is a goal for him each summer.
“It’s a goal in my head every year and part of trending the right way for where I want to be in the future,” he said. “It validates your hard work and I consider it a big accomplishment. I’m proud of it and proud to represent the GAM and the state of Michigan. I couldn’t be more grateful to win it again.”
He called winning the U.S. Amateur life-changing. He plans to play in the Masters Tournament via the invitation that goes out to the U.S. Amateur winner and will play Augusta National for the first time next week with Michigan State coaches Casey Lubahn, Dan Ellis and an Augusta member who is also a Michigan State alum.
“Winning the U.S. Am is something you think you can do, but you don’t always picture it happening,” Piot said. “Things have been crazy since it happened. I’m super blessed by all the things that have happened because of it. It was the coolest moment of my life.”
When his final spring college season has ended and he has played in the Masters, Piot plans to turn professional and take advantage of the sponsor’s exemptions that will come his way at U.S. Amateur champion.
“It gives me a leg up on a professional career that has always been my goal,” he said.
Piot called GAM tournaments the favorite events each summer.
“Ever since I was a kid GAM tournaments have been the ones I look forward to the most,” he said. “You get a chance to prove yourself against the best players in the state, they are usually close to home and you get to try and beat your buddies. They’re fun. One thing that is still in the back of my head is that I haven’t won the Michigan Am, but I won the U.S. Am and that’s not too bad.”
Hartmann called Piot a class act who treats everyone around him with respect.
“Winning the U.S. Amateur – it couldn’t happen to a better guy,” he said. “I’m proud of him and it is still exciting to think about what he did. That accomplishment will probably never be matched in our lifetime. He’s a phenomenal golfer, very talented, but he also demonstrates what hard work can do. He may not have won a Michigan Amateur, but he has been the player to beat year-after-year.”