FARMINGTON HILLS – Jackson’s Steve Maddalena has taken his game to the national stage in recent years, but still manages to star at home at age 60, too.
“Honestly, I’m playing better now than I have in a long time,” he said. “I’m more comfortable with my game and playing against national players has helped.”
Maddalena, a Country Club of Jackson member, is the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM) Senior Men’s Player of the Year, Ken Hartmann senior director of competitions and USGA services, announced today. It’s the second consecutive year that Maddalena has earned the honor.
GAM Players of the Year are determined by the Honor Roll/Player of the Year points system. Player of the Year point totals can be found on a pull down from the PLAY tab at GAM.org.
Last week James Piot of Canton was named the GAM Men’s Player of the Year and Anna Kramer of Spring Lake was named the Women’s Player of the Year. Over the next few weeks the GAM will announce more Players of the Year in gender and age categories.
“It was one of my goals this year – to try and repeat as Senior Player of the Year – and I was fortunate to do that,” said Maddalena, who was elected to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame in 2007. “The competition is great and it doesn’t get easier. Every year a new group of guys turn 55 and make it even more competitive.”
Most of the national events outside of USGA competitions don’t factor in GAM Player of the Year points, but Maddalena did have four top-10 finishes in significant tournaments around the country. His best finish was a second in the recent Society of Seniors – Founder’s Cup Championship at Pasatiempo Golf Club in Santa Cruz, Calif.
His 393 GAM Player of the Year points were built primarily by winning the Michigan Senior Open in a sudden-death playoff with fellow Hall of Fame member and professional Jeff Roth of Boyne Golf Academy, as well as reaching the semifinals of the GAM Senior Match Play Championship where he was topped by eventual champion Mitch Wilson of Portage.
It was Wilson, a member at the Moors Golf Club and the 2018 Senior Men’s Player of the Year, who finished second in the 2020 Player of the Year point totals with 233 points.
Gregg Bonamici of Grosse Ile Golf & Country Club, the GAM Senior Champion, was third with 200 points. Jerry Gunthorpe of Ovid and Owosso Country Club was third with 190 points, and John Barbour of Grand Rapids and Cascade Hills Country Club rounded out the top five with 150 points.
Barbour lost in a playoff to Bonamici in the GAM Senior Championship at Belvedere, and Maddalena said missing a putt on the final hole of regulation play to miss being part of the playoff was one of his few regrets of the summer.
“I really wanted to win that tournament at Belvedere, one of my favorite courses,” said Maddalena, who won his first of three Michigan Amateur titles at the Charlevoix classic course.
Otherwise, Maddalena, who also won the Jackson City Golf Championship for a record eighth time and became its oldest winner ever, said he had a solid summer and plans to keep playing a combination of Michigan and national tournaments.
“I’ve had a lot of fun traveling around playing against the best players in the country,” he said. “To get ranked in the national top 50 seniors in the country (World Amateur Golf Rankings) was one my goals for the summer and I finished at 46. I would like to keep improving on that. As long as I feel I’m competitive and have a reasonable chance to win, I’ll keep playing like this. As soon as I feel I don’t have a chance to win, I probably will not be playing much and saving myself a lot of money.”
Hartmann said he expects Maddalena to remain competitive for a long time.