Hawk Hollow Hosting 111th Michigan Amateur Starting Monday
BATH – Patrick Sullivan of Grosse Pointe has turned professional and isn’t returning to defend in the 111th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland starting Monday and continuing through Friday at Hawk Hollow Golf Course.
However, the former University of Michigan golfer offered some advice to the field of 156 starters who have been pared down from 860 entrants in the local qualifiers held across the state the last two months.
“You have to make match play and then you have to win six matches, so it’s a lot of golf and then every year I played in it there were always at least two or three matches than could have gone either way, and until last year they didn’t all go my way,” he said. “You have to be patient with it in every way and know that you can be playing great golf and be playing better than everybody, but if in one match you don’t get the breaks it’s tough. You have to stay strong mentally.”
The mental and physical test features stroke play Monday and Tuesday to determine the match-play field of 64, and then Wednesday through Friday two rounds of matches each day will produce a champion.
Ken Hartmann, director of competitions for the Golf Association of Michigan, which administers the state championship, feels more golfers than usual of the 156 starters have great chances to emerge as champion.
“The golf course requires shot-making maybe more than some of our sites, and there is not as much distance available, although the yardage is pretty close to what we usually play,” he said. “You have to keep the ball in play because there is trouble out there, and if you are not careful it can jump up and get you quickly. Someone who can drive it straight and keep it in play has an advantage I think, and maybe that brings in some of the guys with more experience to battle against the college golfers. Like Nate Clark (DeWitt) and Mike Anderson (Northville), who have won the GAM Mid-Am, or Ryan Johnson (Bloomfield Hills), one of our former Amateur champions. We expect a great championship on a great course and we will have a great champion in the end.”
Anderson, the golf coach at Detroit Catholic Central, and seven other golfers who made the celebrated “Sweet 16” a year ago at Cascade Hills Country Club, are back in the starting field. That includes runner-up Tyler Rayman of Otsego, semifinalist Colin Sikkenga of Kalamazoo, Coalter Smith of Grosse Pointe Farms, August Meekhof of Eastmanville, Charles DeLong of DeWitt, Will Anderson of Portage and Tyler Eedy of West Branch.
As for past champions like Johnson, the 2015 champion, Greg Davies (2006) of West Bloomfield, Doug Hoey (1991) of West Olive and three-time winner Steve Maddalena (1980, ’90 and ’95) of Jackson are also in the field.
Max VanderMolen of Richland, the GAM’s 15-and-under Junior Boys Player of the Year in 2021, is the youngest qualifier this year at age 14 (record is age 13), and he heads a group of junior players who made the field, including 15-year-olds Vibhav Alokam of Ypsilanti, Parker Stalcup of Lake Orion and Brian Tillman of Chelsea.
At Hawk Hollow scoreboard watchers can zero in on the scoring of the field at the four par 3 holes according to Hartmann and Terry Kildea, who works in marketing and promotions for the Eagle Eye Golf & Banquet Center’s collection of five courses near East Lansing, and also has served the Golf Association of Michigan as a rules official for several years.
Kildea calls the par 3 holes the meat of the first golf course developed on the property.
“All four of them have a wide variety for hole locations, and the distance and the location of the holes can be a separation point in scoring,” he said. “It’s a group of really good holes. You can birdie every one of them and in heart beat you can double bogey every one of them. I really feel that anybody who plays them even par in the two rounds of stroke play will be in or near the top 10 going into match play.”
The Jerry Matthews-designed 27-hole facility is hosting Amateur for the first time. The family-owned business also hosted the 105th Michigan Amateur in 2016 at Eagle Eye Golf Club, which is across the street.
The traditional parkland-style course was built in 1996 and cuts through 500 acres of tree stands, wetlands areas and ponds. It has been rated 4 ½ stars out of 5 by Golf Digest and has been listed in the magazine’s top 200 Places to Play.
The GAM tournament staff will utilize the first 18 holes of the Hawk Hollow course, which can be played at a maximum 6,974 yards with a 74.4 course rating and 145 slope rating. The course has hosted a U.S. Senior Open qualifier in recent years, as well as a GAM Women’s Mid-Amateur and the Atlas Trophy Matches.
“The design gives us some options for tee choices, and we will use some to change things up in match play,” Hartmann said. “We don’t have to do much to it. It’s a challenge from wherever you play it.”
INFORMATION, TEE TIMES, RESULTS: Visit GAM.org