Zach Robbins of Grand Rapids Leads 100th GAM Championship at Franklin Hills
- Zach Robbins shoots 65-68
- Robbins carded 14 birdies and 7 birdies in first two rounds.
- James Piot is one shot behind with rounds of 69 and 65
- Bradley Smithson is five back after rounds of 70 and 68.
FRANKLIN – Zach Robbins made more bogeys than he would like, but he said a ton of birdies made up for it.
The Cleveland State University golfer from Grand Rapids shot a 5-under 65 in the afternoon following a morning 68 at Franklin Hills Country Club and held the lead after the first day of the historic 100th GAM Championship.
Robbins, who actually made 14 birdies against seven bogeys in his two rounds, was 7-under 133 with James Piot, the Michigan State University standout and 2018 champion, right behind at 6-under after rounds of 69 and 65.
They will make up the final threesome with Bradley Smithson, a Grand Rapids golfer like Robbins, and a Michigan State golfer like Piot. He’s also the golfer who beat everybody in winning the Michigan Open Championship earlier this summer. Smithson fired rounds of 70 and 68 for 138, five behind his former Forest Hills Eastern High teammate Robbins.
“It will be fun playing with good players who are playing well,” Robbins said. “I know those guys well and we all play aggressive. I’m going to have to keep making birdies.”
Robbins, who is heading back to Cleveland State for a final year, said he has been struggling for much of the summer and was hitting draws with his irons that were not working out well.
“I went to see John Seltzer (PGA teaching professional in Grand Rapids) and he got me hitting nice fades and that was working today,” he said. “Shout out to John. He really helped.”
Piot said he was striking the ball so well in the afternoon he felt like he lost shots.
“I hit it so well,” he said. “I had a lot of birdie looks. Of course I had a few short game errors and made a few putts maybe I shouldn’t have, so it probably balanced out.”
Piot is coming off a final 16 match play appearance at the Western Amateur last week where after 72 holes to set up the 16 for match play he was tied for ninth.
“That’s definitely a good momentum booster for this week,” he said. “I’ll try to go out and give it my best tomorrow. I feel like I’m playing good enough to do it.”
Player after player lauded the golf course conditions, including the fast greens at Franklin Hills.
“The whole place is perfect, and I love putting on fast greens,” Robbins said.
Piot called it phenomenal.
“Some of the pins were super tough, it was set up really nice,” he said. “I think this place fits my game. There is course management stuff you have to think about, but I get to hit a lot of wedges and I like where I’m at.”
Three golfers will make up the second-to-last group.
Defending champion Jimmy Chestnut of Royal Oak, who shot 69-70, Charlie DeLong of DeWitt and Grand Valley State University, who shot 72-67, and Michigan Golf Hall of Famer Greg Davies of West Bloomfield, who shot 68-71 are six shots off the lead at 139.
Michigan Amateur champion Patrick Sullivan shot 68-72 for 140 to round out the top seven.
The 36-hole cut fell at 5-over 145 with 31 players moving on to the final round.
RESULTS, PAIRINGS: Go to GAM.org
via Greg Johnson