FINAL MATCH: Otsego’s Tyler Rayman Meets Grosse Pointe’s Patrick Sullivan Monday
GRAND RAPIDS – Patrick Sullivan of Grosse Pointe, a University of Michigan golfer who was runner-up in the 2019 Michigan Amateur, will meet Tyler Rayman, an Eastern Michigan University golfer from Otsego in the final match of the 110th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland at Cascade Hills Country Club.
They earned their spots in the Monday 9 a.m. final during a marathon day of golf Sunday at the rain-hampered event that was originally scheduled to end Saturday.
Sullivan and James Piot, the Michigan State University standout from Canton, finished the last 16 holes of a quarterfinal match that started Saturday on Sunday morning with Sullivan winning 2-up. He followed that up with a 3 and 1 semifinal win over Colin Sikkenga, an Oakland University golfer from Kalamazoo.
In addition to being a Michigan vs. Michigan State battle, the match versus Piot was also a battle of runners-up. Piot was second a year ago to Ann Arbor’s Tyler Copp, and Sullivan lost in the finals to Ben Smith of Novi in 2019.
“Getting to the finals is so hard and you just don’t know who you’re going to run into,” Sullivan said. “James and I have been playing against each other since we were about 13 and he usually beats me. I’m happy to be here and getting another chance in the finals. I learned two years ago that I’m not done yet. I just tried to stay in the moment, had to play good players to get here and now I can have my eyes on the prize.”
Rayman reached the finals with three wins on Sunday. He finished a round of 16 match with Dan Ellis of East Lansing, the Michigan State assistant golf coach, winning 2 and 1. He then took on Jimmy Dales of Northville and the University of Wyoming and won 3 and 2 before meeting Grant Haefner of Bloomfield Hills and the University of Jacksonville (Fla.) in a semifinal and winning 2-up.
Rayman is appearing in his first final, and for the first time moved past the Sweet 16.He capped off a day of 38 competitive holes with a final birdie at 18 to close out Haefner.
Leading 1-up on the tee, the tall lefthander hit his tee shot left into a stand of trees right of the fairway while Haefner missed the fairway wide right. Haefner pulled his approach shot into a greenside bunker, and then Rayman rifled a pitching wedge 155 yards to three feet. Haefner almost holed his bunker shot, and then conceded the birdie putt.
“I had 155 in, and there’s a strong right to left wind and as a lefty I just threw the biggest cut pitching wedge I could in there and it worked out,” he said. “It was probably one of the best shots I’ve hit all week so far.”
Rayman said he came to the Amateur this week wanting to get through the Sweet 16 and win.
“This is what we came here for,” Rayman said. “I think I always knew I could do this, and now that I’m here it’s a relief and at the same time I’m excited to go and play tomorrow. I proved to myself that I’m good enough to compete with these guys, but I didn’t have the success some of them have had. I just needed something to hammer it in that I was good enough, and this week is showing that.”
Sullivan, who finished his semifinal some three hours earlier, said he expected a tough final.
“Everybody who gets this far is playing well, and this week they’ve managed to get through all the delays and the rain,” he said. “I will get some rest and be ready to go.”
Rayman called Sullivan another accomplished player like Haefner that he is looking forward to playing.
“He’s got a lot of big wins for himself and I have never gone head-to-head directly with him,” he said. “So this will be a fun match, a tough match I’m sure.”
MATCH PLAY BRACKET RESULTS: Visit GAM.org
via Greg Johnson