Spring Lake’s Craig Adams Makes Short Trip, Wins GAM Senior Championship
MUSKEGON – Craig Adams of Spring Lake entered his first Golf Association of Michigan senior tournament, in part because it was in the neighborhood.
Then he wowed the neighborhood and everybody else with a closing 6-under 66 to win the 31st GAM Senior Championship presented by the West Michigan Golf Show Tuesday at Muskegon Country Club.
“In the last couple of years I’ve gotten the fire burning again to compete more and the stuff in the neighborhood is easy to sign up for,” said the 57-year-old CEO of R.L. Adams Plastics in Wyoming after his 5-under two-day total of 139 bested the 144 posted by runner-up David Bartnick of Livonia.
“Then I came out yesterday and bogeyed the first three holes and thought to myself I can’t embarrass myself, and I started focusing a little more. I hit eight greens on the back nine (to shoot 73) and then today I hit eight greens on both nines and then the putter started heating up and it just got a little silly after a while.”
He had a blazing finish with consecutive birdies at Nos. 16, 17 and 18, and 16 came after he hooked a tee shot into the heather left of the fairway.
“I caught a good lie, hit a 6-iron over the trees, it kind of caught one little branch, bounced by the bunker and kicked on the green,” he said. “Then I made about a 30-footer.”
He hit a wedge on the approach at 17 and made a 10-footer for birdie, and then chipped to six feet after almost reaching the par 5 18th green in two shots and made the birdie putt.
“I told (pairing partner) Kevin Klemet that 2-under makes you a little nervous, but then when you get to 4 and 5 under you are not too worried about anything,” Adams said. “I had a great pairing with those guys. It was fun out there. Kevin and Dennis Smoker are great guys.”
After Bartnick closed with a 73 for 144 and second, Rich Herpich of Orchard Lake was third following a 69 for 145.
Four golfers finished tied at 146, including Coldwater’s Smoker, who shot 72, Randy Lewis of Alma, who shot 73, Brian Miller of Lake Orion, who shot 77, and Steve Maddalena of Jackson, who shot 75.
Adams said his rekindled passion for competition started slowly three years ago when he lost to an eighth-grader in the Spring Lake Country Club Championship. He returned the favor last year to Spring Lake High School standout Nick Krueger, only to fall to him in the match play finals again this year.
Adams, who is a Grand Rapids native and played college golf at the University of South Florida, attempted to qualify for the U.S. Senior Open in a qualifier at Dearborn Country Club in May and played well.
“I got myself back on the radar a little bit with a tie for second in the Senior Open qualifier,” he said. “I shot 71, ended up an alternate after going five holes in a playoff for that last spot with Lance Ten Broeck, the former PGA Tour player. That kind of got my fire going again though.”
He took home a silver medal from that event, and he and his wife Kelly recently won the Couples Club Championship at Spring Lake.
“I’m having a pretty good summer,” he said. “I might do a few more of these things now.”
COMPLETE RESULTS: Find them at gam.org under the Championships tab
VIA Greg Johnson
ATTACHED: An action photo of Craig Adams in action Tuesday