Tom Werkmeister Holds Off Beau Breault to Win 106th Michigan Amateur Championship
ADA TOWNSHIP – It worked out for Tom Werkmeister of Grandville.
“It really couldn’t have worked out any better,” he said after winning the 106th Michigan Amateur Championship Saturday at Egypt Valley Country Club.
The 49-year-old marketing salesman who plans to leave the amateur ranks and turn professional and try to qualify for the Champions Tour when he turns 50, turned back Beau Breault of Hartland 3 and 1 in the championship match.
It was the second Michigan Amateur title for Werkmeister, who also won in 2009, was runner-up in 2012, won the 2013 Michigan Open as an amateur, has six GAM Mid-Am titles, a GAM Championship, a record number of wins on the local West Michigan circuit and was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2014.
“The first (Amateur) was obviously very special, and this one is a new sort of special by being in Grand Rapids, in front of my friends, my wife and everybody,” he said. “It’s great, every bit as good as the first one, and the fact that this is my last Michigan amateur – this could not have worked out better for me.”
Werkmeister topped Casey Baker of Ann Arbor 3 and 2 in his morning semifinal, and Breault, a 20-year-old Eastern Michigan University golfer, turned back Brett Hudson of Bloomfield Hills 4 and 3 in the other semifinal.
Werkmeister was off and running in the final. He won the first hole, the fourth, fifth and sixth holes all with pars as Breault struggled, three-putting twice, hitting a tee shot out-of-bounds and hitting an approach shot into a water hazard. With a birdie on the par 3 No. 12 hole with a 25-foot putt Werkmeister took his second 4-up lead in the match.
Breault, who hits the ball significantly farther than Werkmeister, was not finished though. His putter warmed up and he birdied Nos. 13 and 14 and won the par 4 No. 15 hole that was playing into significant wind to close the gap.
Then it was Werkmeister’s turn to respond as the course turned back with the wind. He did with a shot to eight feet for birdie on the par 3 No. 16 hole, and finally a conceded birdie following a wedge shot to five feet on 17.
Breault, a GAM Junior Invitational winner three years ago, said he started the match thinking the wrong way, in part because of who he was playing against.
“I started thinking I might get beat, and it was not how I should have been thinking about it,” he said. “After I missed that putt on No. 6, I was devastated, but I told myself you have got to make some putts and win some holes or you are going to get blown out.”
Werkmeister was impressed with Breault’s rally.
“I was trying to fight the demons in my head,” he said. “It was a kick in the butt I needed when he started coming back. He made a charge and I had to get back on the ball and hit some good shots. I did that down the stretch.”
Breault said he didn’t like losing, but if he had to lose, he would choose Tom to be the one to beat him.
“He’s such a great player, and he’s done so many things,” he said. “I’m happy for him. He had a lot of people out there, his fans, who wanted him to win.”
Werkmeister called the win in a tournament that started with 836 entrants and went through sectional qualifying, 36 holes of stroke play to start the final week and then six rounds of matches, very satisfying.
“It is so difficult,” he said. “It is such an endurance test physically and mentally.”
He said he will file it with his other experiences as he takes the next step in his golf career as a professional.
“I know it is going to be difficult because it is at another level, but my golf career has progressed and hopefully it keeps progressing. That’s the plan.”
Breault said he will go back to college golf with great confidence.
“To compete with Tim and beat some of the great players I beat this week, this is huge for my confidence,” he said.
Results/bracket: Find it at gam.org
About the GAM: Founded in 1919, the Golf Association of Michigan is the governing body for amateur golf in the state. As a not-for-profit organization, the GAM’s purpose is to promote, preserve and serve the game of golf. The GAM, served by over 250 dedicated volunteers, provides membership to more than 55,000 golfers and more than 470 Michigan golf courses, conducts over 30 amateur championships, oversees 18 USGA qualifying events, administers the GAM/USGA Handicap System and measures and rates almost 70 courses a year for the USGA. Learn more at www.gam.org.
via Greg Johnson