Piot Wins 97th GAM Championship
STRESS TEST: Canton’s James Piot Passes, Wins 97th GAM Championship
NORTHVILLE – James Piot of Canton called it his best scoring week of the summer, and less stressful as a result.
The stress-free 19-year-old Michigan State University golfer shot a closing 2-under 69 to win the 97th GAM Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland at Meadowbrook Country Club Tuesday.
His 10-under 203 total aided greatly by a pair of 67s on 36-hole day one on Monday, left him three shots ahead of defending champion Alex Scott of Traverse City and Grand Valley State University, who shot 69 for 206.
“It’s definitely the best I’ve scored this year by far,” said Piot, who was Big Ten Freshman of the Year last year for the Spartans. “The course fits me really well. It put any stress on the greens only. Off the tee you can pretty much bomb it, and I had a lot of wedges in my hands and put my ball in good spots for birdie chances the whole tournament. I made the most out of it, too.”
Michael Anderson of Northville, who was one of Piot’s high school coaches, shot 72 for 208. Also at 208 was Mitchell White of Muskegon, the 2015 champion and also a Grand Valley golfer who shot 68 to close.
Piot also bested one of his Michigan State coaches. Dan Ellis, an assistant for the Spartans, shot 69 for 209 to round out the top five. Brad Bastion of Clinton Township shot 70, and Henry Do of Canton, the 2014 Michigan Amateur champion, shot 69. They finished at 210.
Piot hit 16 greens in the final round, and was not sure where he stood against the others in the field.
“I had a stress-free two-putt for a good look almost every hole, which was great,” he said. “In the back of my mind was Alex Scott. He has the ability to go really low. He showed that when he won the Tournament of Champions this summer (with a closing 61), but I was playing well and just kept trying to make birdies.”
He said the key round was in the afternoon on Monday when he made a pair of eagles. He reached No. 4 in two shots with a 6-iron second shot and made the 15-foot eagle putt. Then on No. 9, a short par, he drove the green and made the 12-foot eagle putt.
“I’ve just been playing a lot and working on it, trusting the process,” Piot said. “The putter has been off and on this summer, but this week I gave myself enough good looks. I had a clear mind and make or miss I knew I was doing alright on the day.”
Piot, who started every tournament for the Spartans last year, is seeking his first college win, though he did have two several top 20 finishes, including two top 10s. The win Tuesday was his first GAM championship since winning the 2015 Michigan Junior State Amateur.
“It was a goal to get a win in Michigan this summer,” he said. “It helps a lot to see a run of red numbers before summer ends and build confidence going into the college season.”
RESULTS: Scores at gam.org