BIRMINGHAM – With some long-hitting golfers fresh off their college seasons adding a spark the Golf Association of Michigan team rolled to a 12.5 – 5.5 win over the Michigan PGA team in the 46th Fuller Cup Matches Wednesday at Birmingham Country Club.
The GAM won six of the first eight singles matches of the afternoon and scored 9.5 of the possible 12 available to break a 3-3 tie through the morning four-ball matches.
“Our college guys have an advantage with their length on what is now a more open course,” said non-playing captain Ken Hartmann, the senior director of rules and competitions for the GAM. “With the renovation in the last few years the club took out a lot of trees and with the distance the college kids can hit it, they just cut across some of the doglegs and feel more confident swinging a way out there.”
Jake Kneen of White Lake and Connor Jones of Rochester, who just completed their senior seasons at Oakland University, and Beau Breault, who just completed his junior year at Eastern Michigan, bombed away and had a hand in scoring points in the morning and afternoon. In addition, GAM veterans Nathan Clark of Charlotte and Mike Ignasiak of Saline also carded points in both sessions.
“It feels good to get the cup back,” Hartmann said. “It’s been very competitive the last 10 years or so.”
Brett Hudson of Bloomfield Hills beat host head pro Joe Herbstreith 6 and 5 in the first match of the afternoon, but assistant Birmingham pro Steve Vecellio topped John Quigley of St. Clair Shores 2-up to make the score 4-4.
Then the GAM blitz started with four consecutive wins by Ignasiak, Clark, Jones and Kneen. Scott Strickland of Birmingham, a member at Birmingham CC, secured the clinching point with a 7 and 5 win over Josh Fryer of Franklin Hills Country Club.
Vecellio and Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club were the only PGA players to be part of wins in both sessions. Kyle Martin of Lochmoor Club teamed with Dodson in the morning for a win, and earned a halve with AJ Varekois of Rockford in singles.
The GAM has won six of the last 11 competitions, but still trail 35-10-1 in the series. Prior to 2001 the PGA teams dominated the Ryder Cup-style competition.
The format has changed over the years, but the matches have always been presented to promote sportsmanship, friendship and great golf between the professionals and amateurs in the state. The GAM team is selected through the use of the GAM Honor Roll and the PGA selects its team via money list standing.
Fairway & Greene was the clothing sponsor and outfitted both teams. The PGA Michigan Section Tournament Director Justin Phillips and Hartmann were the non-playing captains.
Find more information on the Golf Association of Michigan at gam.org. Find more information on the Michigan PGA at michiganpgagolf.com. Learn more about Birmingham CC at bhamcc.com.
46th Fuller Cup Matches
Morning Results (four-ball matches) GAM 3, PGA 3
(PGA) Joe Herbstreith/Steve Vecellio def. (GAM) Brett Hudson/John Quigley 3 and 1
(GAM) Mike Ignasiak/Nathan Clark def. (PGA) Lee Houtteman/Gary Lewandowski 4 and 3
(GAM) Connor Jones/Jake Kneen def. (PGA) Ron Beurmann/Scott Hebert 1-up
(PGA) Travis Dodson/Kyle Martin def. (GAM) David Praet/AJ Varekois 3 and 2
(GAM) Jack Weller/Beau Breault def. (PGA) Cody Haughton/Jordan Young 4 and 2
(PGA) Brian Cairns/Josh Fryer def. (GAM) Jeff Champine/Scott Strickland 3 and 2
Afternoon Results (singles matches) GAM 9.5, PGA 2.5
(GAM) Brett Hudson def. (PGA) Joe Herbstreith 6 and 5
(PGA) Steve Vecellio def. (GAM) John Quigley 2-up
(GAM) Mike Ignasiak def. (PGA) Lee Houtteman 1-up
(GAM) Nathan Clark def. (PGA) Gary Lewandowski 3 and 2
(GAM) Connor Jones def. (PGA) Ron Beurmann 2-up
(GAM) Jake Kneen def. (PGA) Scott Hebert 4 and 2
(PGA) Travis Dodson def. (GAM) David Praet 5 and 4
(GAM) AJ Varekois halved with (PGA) Kyle Martin
(GAM) Jack Weller def. (PGA) Cody Haughton 2-up
(GAM) Beau Breault def. (PGA) Jordan Young 1-up
(GAM) Jeff Champine def. (PGA) Brian Cairns 1-up
(GAM) Scott Strickland def. (PGA) Josh Fryer 7 and 5
Final score: GAM 12.5, PGA 5.5