JACKSON – Former Michigan State University classmates and teammates, Dan Ellis of East Lansing and Jimmy Dewling of Brighton, take on golf courses in similar brute-force fashion.
“We swing hard and go find it,” Ellis said. “You saw that on TV this past weekend with (Bryson DeChambeau) doing the same thing in the U.S. Open. If they’re going to let you do it, that’s the way to do it around a lot of these older golf courses. You hit it as far as you can and figure out a way to get it on the green from there.”
Ellis, an assistant coach at Michigan State, and Dewling, a real-estate broker who also coaches the Brighton High School golf team, bombed their tee shots over 300 yards repeatedly and teamed up for an 11-under 61 at Country Club of Jackson Monday to win the GAM Four-Ball Championship for the second time.
The 2017 champions at Country Club of Lansing, Ellis and Dewling, topped the morning wave half of the field by five shots, and bested the afternoon wave winners by four shots to earn the overall championship in the 48-team tournament presented by Imperial.
Colin Sikkenga of Kalamazoo and Owen Tucci of Macomb, Oakland University golf teammates, won the afternoon wave trophies with a 7-under 65.
The father-son team of 51-year-old Todd and 19-year-old Evan Johnson of Grosse Ile shot 66 to take the morning wave runner-up trophies behind Ellis and Dewling. The team of Jacob Malcangi of Eaton Rapids and Joel Bush of Rockford, and the team of professional hockey player Chris Terry of Northville and Chris Hulgrave of Birmingham shot 67s.
Three teams tied at 66 behind Sikkenga and Tucci in the afternoon. David Lughermo of Trenton and Brandon Gray of Livonia won the three-way card playoff to take home the trophies. The other teams at 66 were Jay Overy of Wolverine Lake and Keith Hazely of Beverly Hills, and the duo of Garrett Kuppler of Macomb and Eric Autio of Troy.
Ellis, last year’s GAM Player of the Year who shot 66 on his own ball, and Dewling, who shot 67 on his, first met as golf team freshmen in 2008 at MSU, and they have played the game in similar power fashion since.
“I don't know that we hit many fairways today, but we were getting away with the ones that were going swirly and the ball was rolling nice on the greens,” Ellis said. “We got the momentum going early and had a good day. We have an advantage with the golf ball (technology), especially the way we both hit it. It’s really a privilege to play this kind of golf course, too. It’s one of Michigan’s great old tracks. We hit enough good shots and made some putts.”
Dewling, who nearly aced the 352-yard downhill par 4 No. 13 hole by bouncing his tee shot on the green and six-feet past the hole location, said Ellis brings out the best in him.
“Dan’s a great golf coach, I mean it’s his profession, but in general he sees the game so well,” he said. “I feel like I’m two or three shots better when I’m on the course. He sees things the same way I see them, if not way better, and we make a good team. We always have said if you can get it on the ground way out there with some kind of swing, we will be all right.”
Ellis said they have learned along the way to manage their crash and burn golf games.
“You don’t have to be perfect if you are planning well,” he said. “You can get away with misses and manage your golf ball in a big puzzle way. You can hit three bad shots and make a birdie if you do it right. And Jimmy was crushing it today. We had a lot of fun.”