ANN ARBOR – Fellow Oakland Hills Country Club members Tom Gieselman of Commerce Township and Scott Strickland of Bloomfield Hills earned a par on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff with the father-son team of Dean and Dan Ellis and won the finals of the 11th GAM Senior/Mid-Am Team Championship Tuesday at Barton Hills Country Club.
As they made the turn to the back nine and switched from four-ball or best-ball to foursomes, also known as alternate shot, Strickland noticed on live scoring that the Ellis duo had pulled away from the field and were 5-under through 10 holes and four shots ahead of them.
“I figured they would run away with it, but I happened to check with a couple of holes left and saw we were still in it,” he said. “I told Goose, ‘hey we still have a chance.’”
The 2017 champions made good on that chance by winning on the third hole of a sudden-death playoff to put their names on the championship plaque for the second time.
“It’s always nice to win,” Gieselman said. “The alternate shot is a tough format. Somehow we stayed in it and it worked out.”
Six two-golfer teams played in the finals having emerged from a field of 81 teams that played the 36-hole (18 four-ball, 18 foursomes) first part of the tournament at three sites in late September. Each team had a senior player age 55-and-over and mid-am player over age 25.
The same two final teams from Tuesday met in a playoff in September at Travis Pointe Country Club to determine the site winner, and Ellis and Ellis won that one with a par on the first hole.
“It wasn’t to be,” said Dan Ellis, last year’s GAM Player of the Year. “We made those three bogeys in a row and let everybody back in it.”
Ellis and Ellis shot 4-under 32 on the front nine in best-ball, and then birdied the par 5 No. 10 hole on the switch to alternate shot. Three consecutive bogeys followed at Nos. 11, 12 and 13, and they closed with bogeys at 17 and 18 for a 4-over 39 on the back for an even-par 71.
Meanwhile Gieselman and Strickland shot 1-under in best-ball and 1-over in alternate shot for their 71, including a bogey on No. 18.
The playoff was held starting on hole No. 13. The teams traded a best-ball par, then an alternate-shot par at No. 14 until Gieselman was the only one to hit the green and make a par on No. 15 in the best-ball format for the win.
Mike Kohn of Belding and Joel Siegel of Rockford shot 3-over 74 on the day and tied for third with the father-son team of David and Matt Bartnick of Livonia.