Randy Lewis Wins First Senior Title in 6th Golf Association of Michigan Senior Match Play Presented by Golfweek
REDFORD – Randy Lewis received some help from Ian Harris in the championship match of the 6th GAM Senior Match Play Championship presented by Golfweek, and suddenly a tight match wasn’t so tight.
Lewis, 57 and a two-time Michigan Amateur Champion, 2011 U.S. Mid-Amateur champion and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member won five consecutive holes in closing out Harris 5 and 3 in the championship match Friday at Western Golf & Country Club.
“I got away with the way I was hitting my driver all week, but you can’t make the mistakes I made against a player the caliber of Randy Lewis,” said Bloomfield Hills’ Harris, who plays out of TPC of Michigan in Dearborn. “I made those two birdies to get the match square at the turn, but Randy plays so steady. He isn’t going to make mistakes.”
Lewis, one of Michigan’s most decorated golfers, won for the first time among the senior ranks in Michigan. In fact, it was just his third senior event.
“It feels good to win again,” the Alma resident said. “I really locked on with my driver on the back nine and when I hit it like that it sets up my whole game.”
Lewis led early in the match when Harris made consecutive bogeys to start. But he battled back with a pair of birdies to close the front nine and even the match.
Lewis made a 25-foot birdie putt on 11 to go 1-up, and then won the next three holes with pars before being conceded a birdie by Harris at No. 15 to end the match.
“The birdie on 11 was big because it was a tough putt and I had just told myself that I couldn’t just make pars,” Lewis said. “Ian had a tough stretch there. You feel a little bad, but you have to take advantage. I just kept hitting quality golf shots.”
Lewis got to the final with a 4 and 2 win over Bill Zylstra of Dearborn, the 2009 and ’10 champion. Harris, meanwhile rolled past Mitch Wilson of Portage 6 and 4.
While Lewis topped the golfers in the over-55 senior competition, including defending champion Mike Raymond of Jackson in the first round of match play (2 and 1), Michael Phillips, a former Birmingham Country Club member won the super senior 65-and-over bracket. He topped Dave Kempner of Ann Arbor 4 and 3 in the title match played Friday morning.
“It feels great to win,” said Phillips, who is 69 and returned to Michigan from spending the winter in Phoenix just eight days ago. “(Kempner) had some putting woes, and I just played steady. The key hole was probably at the fifth hole. He was just off the green in two, and I had hit a bad 3-wood second shot and had about a 35-foot par putt. I made it, and he chipped way past. Everything seemed to change there.”
Kempner said his putting was great all week until the final match.
“I just didn’t have it,” he said, “and (Phillips) played steady. I couldn’t make anything to put any pressure on him.”
_ Greg Johnson