Tyler Copp Earns Medalist Honors, No. 1 Seed For Match Play at 2021 Michigan Amateur
GRAND RAPIDS – The defending champion is defending in the best form possible at the 110th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland.
Ann Arbor’s Tyler Copp earned stroke play medalist honors and the No. 1 seed for match play by besting the field over two days of play at Cascade Hills Country Club. He shot a second-round 2-under 68 Wednesday for a 6-under 134 total and will have his name added to the prestigious Chuck Kocsis Medalist Trophy.
His performance – winning medalist a year after being the champion – was a first since 1946 and the start of medalist records being kept by the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM).
His performance was also two shots better than Grant Haefner of Bloomfield Hills and Jacksonville (Fla.) University, who shot 69 for 136 and the No. 2 seed in the match play bracket of 64.
“I came in with the target on my back and now I guess I doubled it up,” said Copp, a 15-seed a year ago entering match play.
“It feels good to be the guy that everyone is wanting to beat, but now it really doesn’t matter if it is one versus two or one versus 64. We’re all going to want to win and we’re all going to be excited.”
A playoff at the cutline of 9-over 149 involving eight players for the final seven spots rounded out the field after the trophy ceremony.
The No. 64 player in the bracket, Jack Williams of Rochester, will meet Copp in an 8 a.m. match Thursday morning. The rounds of 64 and 32 will be contested Thursday with a “Sweet 16” being determined. The round of 16 and quarterfinal matches will be played Friday and the semifinal and final matches will be played on Saturday.
Copp, who shot 66 to lead after the first round, never trailed in the second round though his lead was trimmed to one shot for one hole after he made a bogey at the par 4 No. 7 hole, his 16th hole of the round. He went back to two strokes in the lead with a birdie at No. 8.
Haefner, 23, and transferring as a senior to Jacksonville University from Wayne State University, had an up-and-down front nine with three bogeys and two birdies, but birdied Nos. 12 and 13 coming in to highlight his 69.
James Piot of Canton and Michigan State University, the runner-up a year ago, shot 66 for 138 and a tie for third with one of his coaches at MSU, Dan Ellis of Lansing, who shot 67.
Three golfers checked in at 139 including Jimmy Dales of Northville and the University of Wyoming, who shot 71, Nick Krueger of Spring Lake and Grand Valley State University, who shot 69, and 2019 runner-up Patrick Sullivan of Grosse Pointe and the University of Michigan, who also shot 69.
Coalter Smith of Grosse Pointe Farms and the University of Wisconsin matched Piot’s low round of 66 to finish at even-par 140 in a tie for eighth. Colin Sikkenga of Kalamazoo and Oakland University was also at 140 after a 71.
Copp, a recent Mercer University (Ga.) graduate who plans to turn professional in the fall, is taking a run at being the first winner of consecutive amateurs in 75 years, and just the sixth to manage the feat in the 110-year history of the tournament. He said he is managing his game well.
“I’ve been a little loose here and there, especially with the driver, but I feel really good with my putting thoughts and have good speed control,” he said. “The good thing about last year is that I felt like every day I got better. Hopefully tomorrow is better and the next day better and then we will see what happens.”
Haefner said he wanted to make a run at being a medalist for the second time (medalist in 2017 at Egypt Valley Country Club) but didn’t have his full game clicking.
“I didn’t have it all, but I still shot one-under and I’m near the top of the board,” he said. “I’m looking forward to getting into match play and keep figuring out this course. Birdies are kind of rare here. Not only to you have to hit a good approach you have to hit a good tee shot to set up the right angle to the pin. I’m figuring out angles are very important on this golf course.”
Tom Senkowski of Rochester Hills made the 36-hole cut at 148 shooting a pair of 74s to get into match play and did it with a heavy heart. His mother Maryanne passed away at the age of 94 Tuesday morning. Senkowski, 63, along with Mitch Wilson of Portage, who is 63, are the oldest players in the field and both made it to match play.
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via Greg Johnson