MSU Golfer Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids Wins 2016 Michigan Amateur Championship
BATH – Sam Weatherhead, a 21-year-old Michigan State University golfer from Grand Rapids, said winning the Michigan Amateur Championship had been a goal of his since he started playing golf.
“Being from Michigan, born and raised, it was definitely a goal, and I knew I would have one of my better shots here,” he said.
Weatherhead turned back Domenic Mancinelli, a 19-year-old Grand Valley State University golfer from Northville, 4 and 2 in the championship match of the 105th Michigan Amateur presented by Carl’s Golfland at Eagle Eye Golf Club Saturday.
“It feels great,” he said. “I really wanted to play well here because I’ve played the golf course so many times, and practice here with my (MSU) team,” he said. “It was in great shape, too, firm and fast and playing really hard. It was perfect for a championship.”
Weatherhead, who beat University of Michigan golfer Reed Hrynewich of Muskegon 3 and 2 in the semifinals, trailed Mancinelli 1-down after bunker troubles in the fairway and greenside at No. 12, but then won five consecutive holes, two with birdies and three with pars to close out the match.
“I had a couple of lazy swings on those holes (12, 13 and 14) and fatigue was probably part of it,” said Mancinelli, who beat Ben Lewis, a caddie and form
er Hope College golfer from Holland, 2 and 1 in the morning semifinal. “I lost focus just a little bit, and that is all it takes on this hard of a golf course.”
Weatherhead, a former two-time high school individual state champion and Michigan’s Mr. Golf in 2012, won the par 3 No. 12 hole when Mancinelli couldn’t save par from a greenside bunker.
He followed that with a 30-foot birdie putt on the par 4 No. 13 hole, an eight-foot birdie on the par 5 No. 14 hole and won 15 and 16 with pars.
“I’m going to go home and sleep, and then sleep some more,” he said. “My hands are blistered. Eight rounds of golf in five days in the heat and on a hard course was tough, but it feels really good right now.”
Weatherhead said a 10-foot chip-in on No. 8 for birdie that matched a Mancinelli birdie from five-feet fired him up.
“I played better after that, gained some confidence,” he said.
Mancinelli, a first-team All-Great Lakes Conference selection as a freshman at GVSU, said he came to the tournament to do the best he could, learn and improve.
“I did that, and I’ll be back,” he said.
Weatherhead, meanwhile, likes that the 106th Amateur is going to be played in his hometown at Egypt Valley Country Club in 2017. The senior-to-be at Michigan State worked in the bag room there for three years.
“I’ve played that course countless times, like this one,” he said. “I’m already looking forward to it.”
via Greg Johnson