CHAPMAN’S FINAL BIRDIE WINS MICHIGAN AMATEUR
MUSKEGON — Andrew Chapman said over three years ago his golf game was as low as low can be.
He was soaring high with the game after making a 20-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole at Muskegon Country Club on Saturday to win the 102nd Michigan Amateur Championship.
Chapman, a 33-year-old financial planner, Grand Blanc native, Traverse City resident and father of twin boys, turned back former Major League Baseball pitcher Mike Ignasiak of Saline 1-up in the championship match.
“It means a lot,” Chapman said. “This is a huge highlight for me. It seemed like every match when it ended this week had a surreal feel to it for me. I played very well in spots, but sloppy and got away with it in spots, too. I don’t know. It’s amazing.”
The match went back and forth through the afternoon, but it appeared Chapman was pulling away to win with a 2-up lead after the 15th hole. He hit his drive in the fescue left though on No. 16 and lost the hole, and then hit a drive left again on No. 17 and three-putted. The match went to 18 for the final dramatics.
Chapman hit his second shot from the left rough to the right rough several feet down a slope to the right of the green on the 550-yard par 5 last hole. He then pitched it to 20 feet, and made the putt on a line similar to that of Ignasiak, who had about an 18-foot putt after his second shot from the fairway went over the green a few yards. Ignasiak just missed his putt to the right of the cup.
“That was just grueling,” Ignasiak said. “The pins are so hard. What a test of patience today. Andrew was just a little bit better in the short game that I was. He made some great up-and-downs. The one on 18, a chip-in on 9 and the up-and-down at 12 were all great. I tried. I didn’t give up. ”