Course Challenges Field During First Round of 99th Michigan Amateur

Defending Champion Tom WerkmeisterThanks to the difficult conditions at Oakhurst Golf & Country Club, there were plenty of high scores in the first round of stroke play qualifying at the 99th Michigan Amateur Championship on Tuesday, June 22, 2010.

The championship field of 156 Michigan players faced a constant swirling wind, 3 to 4 1/2-inch rough, and green speeds stimping at 10 1/2. Only two players shot under par, and 71 players finished with a score of 80 or higher.

Leading in the clubhouse with scores of 1-under-par 70, are defending champion Tom Werkmeister of Kentwood and Matt Thompson of Battle Creek. Both Werkmeister and Thompson attributed their solid rounds to consistency and talked about the difficulty of the Oakhurst G&CC greens.

“I got off to a good start and turned at one over”, said Thompson. “I birdied holes 16 and 17which calmed my nerves. This course fits my game. It’s probably one of the toughest courses that the Michigan Amateur Championship has ever been played on.”

“I played really badly yesterday during my practice round and didn’t know what was going to happen today," Werkmeister said. "I was consistent. I had two birdies on 5 and 7, and one bogey. I played the tough par 3s even par – so I was happy with that.  It was very windy and we did get caught in the rain early on but overall I’m happy and ready for tomorrow.”

Oakhurst Golf & Country Club

Despite the obvious difficulty, players were very complimentary of the host course.

“The wind protects this course and the greens are severe enough that you can’t get it close to the hole," commented Russ Cunningham, who won the 2002 GAM Championship at Oakhurst. "When asked about the difficultly of a golf course based on weather conditions, I use the analogy of bowling; think of it as if you are playing different bowling lanes with different speeds and you have no idea where or how fast your ball is going to go. That’s what happens when the wind is blowing hard and green speeds change. The players then have to regroup and try to figure out club selection and how hard to hit a putt. This course is challenging but fun to play.”

          
Stroke play continues Wednesday morning at 7:30 a.m. Following Wednesday’s round, the 36-hole stroke play medalist will be determined and a hole-by-hole playoff will take place, if necessary, to cut the field to an even 64 players for match play.

Match play begins Thursday morning with two rounds of matches on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. For more information and live scoring throughout the week, visit www.gam.org.

 

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