Mitch Wilson, the 57-year-old Kalamazoo College golf coach won the 7th GAM Senior Match Play Championship 2-up over Canton’s Mike Fedewain.
The Senior Match Play Championship was contested May 28 – 29 at Tullymore Golf Resort.
Mark Christenson of Flint Golf Club won the Super Senior bracket for the golfers age 65-plus. He turned back Terry Moore of Grand Rapids 5 and 4 in the final match.
Wilson and Fedewa, a retired General Motors employee who currently works part-time on the grounds crew at Pheasant Run Golf Club in Canton, were deadlocked through eight holes in the final match of the championship bracket.
Wilson won the ninth hole and took his first lead after Fedewa hit his first tee shot out-of-bounds right at No. 9. Fedewa answered at the par 3 No. 12 hole with a 44-foot putt for a birdie, but then lost Nos. 13 and 14 with bogeys to go 2-down. At No. 17, Fedewa chipped in from the fringe for a par while Wilson made a bogey to send things to the final hole. Wilson, who was still 1-up, won No. 18 when Fedewa had bunker troubles.
Wilson said some fatigue from the 18-hole qualifier and then five matches over the next three days probably contributed to the lack of birdies in the title match. He said he was able to keep making good shots when needed, thanked his wife Sarah for walking every hole with him through the match play and hinted at some heavenly intervention.
“Sarah and I talked about that,” he said. “You have to have people looking after you whether they are here or beyond. And for sure Jerry was doing that this week. There’s a lot of joy in this.”
Christenson, a 67-year-old insurance agent and tax accountant, wasn’t feeling joy when he started the Super Senior final with a double-bogey 6 on No. 1 and a bogey on the par 4 second hole.
“I think we both were shaky the first few holes, but then I played 3-under the rest of the way,” he said. “I made that fantastic bunker shot (at No. 13) when it looked like Terry had a putt to get closer, and then all of a sudden I’m 4-up. Match play is crazy, and making that sand shot at 13 is about as crazy as it gets.”
Moore, a 65-year-old golf writer and member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, said some three-putt greens, Christenson’s steady play and holed bunker shot at No. 13 did him in.
“Mark is a super competitor, and that bunker shot at 13 was the ultimate Mongolian Reversal,” he said. “He couldn’t even see the cup from down in that deep bunker and then he holed it out. Just a great shot.”