Andrew Chapman, a 33-year old financial planner and married father of twin boys, living in Traverse City, Mich. knocked out former Major League Baseball pitcher and 47-year-old Dairy Queen owner Mike Ignasiak of Saline 1 up in the final match of the 102nd Michigan Amateur at Muskegon Country Club.
With two rounds of stroke play and six matches played over five days, the Michigan Amateur is respectfully called “The Grind”.
“This has been a great week for golf in the State of Michigan,” said David Graham, Executive Director of the Golf Association of Michigan. “We’re thrilled to bring the state championship to Muskegon CC.”
“This 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 than I was. He made some great up-and-downs. The one on 18, a chip-in on 9 and the up-and-down on 12 were all great. I tried. I didn’t give up.”
It was a tight match all afternoon. With a 2-up lead after the 15th hole, it appeared that Chapman was going to breeze to victory. But, as the match-play gods would have it, he hit his tee shot left on the par-4, 453-yard 16th into the fescue and lost the hole. After pulling it left again on the par-4, 17th hole, he three-putted squaring the match.
“If you would have told me before the match started that we would be standing on hole No. 18 all square, I would have taken it,” said Chapman. “It was a great match, back and forth and a hard-fought battle between both of us.”
Chapman pitched it to 20 feet on the last hole, a 550-yard par-5, while Ignasiak chipped to 18 feet on the same line. With the green surrounded by spectators Ignasiak missed his putt just right of the cup while Chapman holed out for the victory.
“Mike was really in the driver’s seat after my drive on No. 18,” Chapman said. “I tried to cut mine and it didn’t cut. I was a little blocked out and tried to hook a 6-iron, but it stayed out to the right but I was able to get my pitch shot to stop where I would have a flat spot to run at it. Just fortunate to make it. The greens were really slick.”
Chapman’s wife Brooke and his twins Graeme and Lincoln were with him today for the post-round celebration. He said that six months ago he started putting two dots on his ball to remind him of his twin boys.
“Mike puts three dots on his ball for his kids,” Chapman said. “He’s a great guy, a great player, and it’s an accomplishment to beat him”
To set up the final match between the two former University of Michigan athletes, Chapman beat Brad Bastion, a 28-year-old retirement planner from Clinton Township, 3 and 2; while Ignasiak stopped 51-year-old Tom Gieselman, a corporate vice president from Commerce Township, 3 and 2.