Cheboygan’s PJ Maybank Tops Junior Boys Honor Roll
FARMINGTON HILLS – Cheboygan’s PJ Maybank III entered three Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) junior tournaments over the summer and won each of them, highlighted by taking the title in the Michigan Junior State Amateur Championship at TPC Michigan.
“The thing I remember best from the summer was the last day of the Junior Am,” he said. “In the morning semifinal match it came down to (the 18th hole) tied and I pulled it out. My mom and my sister had come down from Cheboygan that morning and I wasn’t sure I was going to get to the final. Then I did, and then went on to win that final match with my whole family there. It was definitely special.”
Maybank, a GAM member through Hidden River Golf & Casting Club in Brutus, has been named the Golf Association of Michigan Junior Boys Player of the Year, Kyle Wolfe, director of handicap, course rating and junior golf, announced today.
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll/Player of the Year points system. Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org.
Last month James Piot of Canton was named the GAM Men’s Player of the Year, Anna Kramer of Spring Lake was named the Women’s Player of the Year, Steve Maddalena of Jackson was named the Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Julie Massa of Holt was named the Senior Women’s Player of the Year and Rick Herpich of Orchard Lake was named the Super Senior Player of the Year. In the next two weeks the GAM will announce three more Junior Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
Maybank, 15 and a sophomore who attends school on-line and spends the winter with family in Orlando, Fla., also won the GAM Junior Kickoff Championship to start the golf season and the GAM Junior Invitational to end the GAM golf season.
“It was a great summer,” he said. “It’s always a goal to win and winning all three junior GAM tournaments I entered was exciting. It showed me my hard work was paying off and just to do that in the state of Michigan with all the good players feels like a great accomplishment.”
Maybank, who also took second in an American Junior Golf Association tournament at Boyne Highlands over the summer, collected 1,404 Player of the Year points to dominate the 18-and-under age-group players.
Colin O’Rourke of Troy and Fieldstone Golf Club in Auburn Hills was second with 506 points. Rounding out the top five were Brockton English of Shelby Township and Fieldstone Golf Club with 555 points, Jack Zubkus of Ada and Egypt Valley Country Club with 457 points, and Evan McDermott of Spring Lake and Spring Lake CC with 435 points.
“My top performance of the summer was definitely the Junior Am,” Maybank said. “I played something like 120 holes in four days and I was consistent in all of those matches and in stroke play, hit some clutch shots, and made big putts on a very challenging course. I had tough matches and I came through.”
Maybank said one of his bigger disappointments of the summer was missing the cut to get into match play in the Michigan Amateur Championship at Boyne Highlands.
“I played pretty good the first day in stroke play and then the weather was bad and I struggled the second day and lost in a playoff to get into match play,” he said. “I really wanted to get into match play and see what I could do.”
He said playing well in the Michigan Amateur will be one of his goals for 2021.
“I have things to work on,” he said. “My short game can always get better, I can be more consistent with my shots to the green and get better birdie chances.”
While in Orlando over the winter Maybank works with his long-time teacher Brian O’Neill, the director of instruction and owner or Orlando Golf Academy and a former golf professional at Boyne Highlands.
“I think the great season I had this year came from the work I did with Brian in Florida last winter, so this winter I plan to do the same,” Maybank said.
Wolfe said Maybank had a rare season for a junior golfer.
“It is rare for a junior golfer to win that many tournaments over the course of four or five months,” he said. “To be on top of his game for that long of a stretch as a 15-year-old is impressive.”
The future is bright for Maybank, Wolfe said.
“He puts the effort in on the weaker areas of his game and he is already a player who can shoot low scores when he needs to do it, and his bad days are not all that bad,” he said. “I believe he will have his choice of college offers ahead and a real shot at playing professional golf for a living if he continues on his current path.”
via Greg Johnson