FARMINGTON HILLS – Tom Werkmeister said being the Golf Association of Michigan Player of the Year is always one of his goals.
The 49-year-old Grandville golfer and the 2017 Michigan Amateur champion is the 2017 GAM Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann, senior director of rules and competitions, announced today.
GAM Honor Roll points, earned via performance in GAM, USGA and other sanctioned golf tournaments, are used to determine the Players of the Year among men, women and senior/junior age group tournament golfers. The remaining eight Players of the Year will be announced during the coming weeks.
This is the sixth time Werkmeister, a Sunnybrook Country Club member, has been named GAM Player of the Year. He also won the honor in 2016 after being a co-medalist while leading Team Michigan to the USGA State Team Championship, and announced his plans then to turn professional at the end of this year. He heads to Florida in the coming days to prepare for PGA Tour Champions Qualifying in November.
“It was nice to justify making that decision by having a good year,” he said. “It makes me feel more confident that I made the right choice. Now, I’m working on putting everything behind me and trying to focus on the next step in turning professional.”
Werkmeister, a salesman for MCS Marketing, built his winning point total of 760 with a busy schedule highlighted by his second Michigan Amateur title, and a second-place finish in the Michigan Open Championship.
Alex Scott of Traverse City, a Grand Valley State University golfer who won the GAM Championship, was second with 585 points. Scott Strickland of Birmingham (485), Brad Bastion of Shelby Township (465) and John Quigley of St. Clair (455) rounded out the top five. See the complete Honor Roll under the Championships tab at gam.org.
“Winning the State Am was a huge bonus, especially with it being my last one,” said Werkmeister, who is also a six-time GAM Mid-Amateur champion, the 2013 Michigan Open champion, the 2016 GAM Champion, a dominant golfer in West Michigan and a 2014 inductee to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
“I don’t feel like I had the best year ever, but my consistency was there. I had the major win and a second at the Michigan Open. I was consistently competitive is probably the best way to put it. The one big win obviously made the biggest difference.”
Werkmeister will play in a first stage of qualifying Nov. 14-17 at Disney Palm in Orlando. Qualifiers from that stage move on to the finals in Arizona in late November. He has a group of sponsors, and he will be eligible to play depending on qualifying status on the PGA Tour Champions after his 50th birthday in early March.
Hartmann said the GAM wishes Werkmeister the best in his professional endeavors, and that ending his amateur career as Player of the Year is a great accomplishment.
“It’s not a surprise, but at his age it is especially good,” he said. “He is a tough competitor and never throws in the towel. Everyone in the state knows how good he is, and they don’t really want to have to play against him because he is just that good. In my 16 years with the GAM he’s one of the best if not the best player I’ve seen.”
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 as well as a full-time staff, provides membership to almost 60,000 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