A list of very talented amateur golfers in Michigan capped off a year in review for 2017, with Tom Werkmeister, Aya Johnson, Randy Lewis, Julie Massa and Rick Hagenbach winning Players of the Year awards in their respective categories.
Werkmeister won Men’s PoY for the second consecutive year and sixth overall, yet soon after the announcement killed his chances to make it No. 7 – but for good reason. Werkmeister, of Grandville, turned pro and ended up conditionally-qualifying for the PGA Tour Champions, 50-and-older professional circuit through the December Q-School.
“Winning the State Am was a huge bonus, especially with it being my last one,” said Werkmeister, who is also a six-time GAM Mid-Amateur champion, the 2013 Michigan Open champion, the 2016 GAM Champion, a dominant golfer in West Michigan and a 2014 inductee to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame. “I don’t feel like I had the best year ever, but my consistency was there.”
Johnson, of North Muskegon, rebounded beautifully from two injury-plagued seasons and back surgery while at the University of Wisconsin to earn Women’s PoY. She took the Michigan Women’s Amateur at Saginaw Country Club and also qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur as a sectional medalist.
“Looking back on the last two years; at one point I was wondering if I was ever going to be able to live without shooting pain through the lower half of my body,” Johnson said. “It means a lot that I was able to play again, and then play consistently well, have a great summer and then play well in the fall for my team.”
Randy Lewis of Alma, who played in the 2012 Masters as the oldest amateur ever to qualify, earned his fourth consecutive Men’s Senior PoY.
Julie Massa of Holt convincingly earned PoY in the Women’s Senior division for the third consecutive year by winning the GAM Senior Women’s Championship, the Michigan Women’s Senior Championship and the Michigan Women’s Golf Association State Championship.
Rick Hagenbach of South Lyon took home the Super Senior PoY. His key accomplishment among the age 65-plus set was winning the 3rd GAM Super Senior Championship at his home course, Oak Pointe in Brighton, with a closing 72 to win by five shots.
The following Junior golfers took home Player of the Year honors for their respective age groups:
Junior Boy’s – Patrick Sullivan
Junior Girl’s – Mikaela Schulz
15-and-under Boy’s – Brockton English
15-and-under Girl’s – Savannah Haque