Novi’s Ben Smith Wins 38th Michigan Junior Amateur

MI Golf Ball 5Novi’s Ben Smith Tops Orchard Lake’s Devin Deogun, Wins 38th Michigan Junior Amateur

BENTON HARBOR – Ben Smith of Novi made a two-putt par to win the 18th hole and slip past Devin Deogun of Orchard Lake 1-up in the final match of the 38th Michigan Junior State Amateur presented by Pepsi at Point O’ Woods Golf & Country Club Thursday.

The senior at Detroit Catholic Central won his first Golf Association of Michigan title, and never trailed in the title match.

“It feels pretty good to win one of these,” said the Georgia Tech commit for collegiate golf. “It was fun playing Devin. We’re friends so there wasn’t any of that psychological stuff. It was just two good friends out there playing and trying to beat each other.”

Smith took a 2-up lead through six holes after making a birdie on the par 4 fifth hole and winning the par 4 sixth when Deogun had tree troubles and made bogey. He had just a 1-up lead at the turn after making a bogey on the par 3 ninth, but birdied the par 10th to go 2-up again.

Bunker troubles cost Smith at the par 4 12th and he made bogey to lose the hole, and then Deogun birdied the par 5 13th to square the match.

Smith birdied No. 14 right away, however, to go back in front, and then hit it in the trees twice on the tight par 4 16th hole on the way to a bogey and loss of the hole.

With the match all square again, both made par on No. 17 with Smith just missing an 8-foot birdie putt, and then came 18 where a water hazard protects the left side of the downhill par 4.

Deogun hit his tee shot several yards right of the fairway, and Smith hit his just right of the fairway. Deogun’s approach shot from 156 yards hit the green, but bounced over into the rough. He chipped, but missed a six-foot par putt, and Smith was able to two-putt from 20 feet for the win.

“The last shot just kind of took off on me, hit the green, but went over,” said Deogun, a senior at Cranbrook-Kingswood who has committed to Michigan State for college golf where he will join his brother Dylan.

“Then I didn’t read the par putt right. It was a good match. Ben is a great player. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy. I played good golf. I just had a couple of silly bogeys and Ben played great.”

Smith survived a morning semifinal match against 15-year-old Bradley Smithson of Grand Rapids in 19 holes. He trailed through 17 holes, but birdied the 18th and then won on the extra hole when Smithson played to bogey.

Deogun held off another Michigan State recruit, Zach Rosendale of St. Johns, 2 and 1, in the other morning semifinal.

The starting field of 84 golfers played 36 holes of stroke play to determine the match play bracket of 32 golfers. Tony Fuentes of East Lansing was medalist in qualifying with a 140.

RESULTS: Scores and the match play bracket are at


VIA: Greg Johnson

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