Grosse Pointe’s Patrick Sullivan Wins 40th Michigan Junior Amateur
SOUTHFIELD – Patrick Sullivan made his last Michigan Junior State Amateur count, though it took a come-from-behind eagle, dramatic par save and one extra hole.
The soon-to-be University of Michigan golfer from Grosse Pointe outlasted Spring Lake’s Nick Krueger in 19 holes and won the 40th edition of the junior state championship for boys Thursday at Plum Hollow Country Club.
“This is awesome,” said Sullivan, who last year was stroke play qualifying medalist and the GAM Junior Boys Player of the Year.
“I’ve always dreamed of this. I remember my first Junior Am. I shot a pair of 80s and obviously didn’t make match play. I remember thinking the scores were so insane and how I had a long way to go. Last year I won the stroke play, but to come back this year and close it out in match play and win the championship is just awesome.”
Sullivan won holes 9 and 10 to take a 2-up lead early on the back nine of the final match, but Krueger rallied to square the match through the 14th hole.
At No. 15, the senior-to-be at Spring Lake High School took a 1-up lead with a 15-foot downhill birdie putt and still had that lead at 17 when Sullivan made an eagle-3.
Sullivan powered the eagle with a 234-yard second shot to the green with a 4-iron from the right rough.
“I knew I had to make a birdie,” he said. “When he laid up I was thinking he might make five, so I had a sort of a flyer lie with the ball a little above my feet. I hit it really high and it landed really soft, about seven feet and I made it. That was big.”
The dramatics were not over. Sullivan had to save par on No. 18 after hitting his tee shot just into the bushes right of the fairway and having to punch out. He made a four-foot par saving putt to halve the hole.
On 18 it was Krueger who caught the flyer lie. His approach shot from the rough flew the green with help from a gust of wind, and almost ended up out-of-bounds. He eventually conceded the hole.
“You never really want to win like that, but you take it, especially after all that golf,” Sullivan said. “It was a long week.”
Krueger, who has committed to Grand Valley State University’s golf program for the fall of 2019, said he was proud of his effort.
“It was nerve-wracking, and it was different playing so many rounds of golf, and playing matches,” he said. “It is all about endurance. You play that well and that long, you really want to close it out, but Patrick played great. That was a great eagle at 17, and then he two-putted for par on 18 from 30 feet, and that was really good, too.”
Krueger said his last approach shot was more of a bad break that mistake.
“It wasn’t as far off as it ended up,” he said. “The wind carried it almost (out-of-bounds), and Patrick hit the green. He had me.”
Sullivan reached the final match with a 3 and 2 morning semifinal win over Kevin Healy of Rockford, and Krueger reached the final with a 1-up win over Drew Coble of Lake Orion. It was Coble who knocked out stroke play qualifying medalist Bradley Smithson of Grand Rapids 2 and 1 in the quarterfinals on Friday.
Sullivan bested the top 84 junior boy golfers in the state as determined by past performance or via sectional qualifiers presented earlier this summer across the state. In the end Sullivan and Krueger made it through 36 holes of stroke play and five rounds of matches.
RESULTS: A complete bracket can be found at gam.org
via Greg Johnson