ANN ARBOR – Chester VandenBerg of Portage and Chelsea Collura of Riverview closed out the Golf Association of Michigan tournament season with wins in the GAM Tournament of Champions at Travis Pointe Country Club Monday.
VandenBerg, a 32-year-old sales representative for Corteva Agriscience, shot a 5-under 67 to win the men’s title by three shots, and Collura, 28 and the owner of Nuggett Leasing in Plymouth, shot an even-par 72 to take the women’s title.
A field of 60 golfers, each eligible for having won a GAM member club championship or a GAM title during the 2021 golf season, played a final 18-hole stroke play round to determine winners.
Vandenberg, a former Cornerstone University golfer and coach who won the club championship at Mullenhurst Golf Course of Delton to get in the tournament, moved back to Michigan in April after living the last seven years in Florida. He said he spent this summer getting used to playing Michigan courses again.
“They are different, different terrain, different grasses,” he said. “I played really well today, and last winter I played some really good golf. I won a Florida winter series event and that got me into the Florida State Amateur and the Florida Mid-Am.”
George Cornwell of Ira shot 70 and finished second to VandenBerg, and Tyler Rayman of Otsego, this summer’s runner-up in the Michigan Amateur Championship, shot 71. Five golfers tied at 72 including defending champion Brad Bastion of Shelby Township.
VandenBerg said he didn’t force anything during the round.
“I did a really good job of keeping the golf course in front of me and I got off to a good start making 25-footers on 2 and 3 for birdie,” he said. “I think the best shot I hit was on 14 after I hit the drive right. I thought that was a super gettable par 5 today, but I had to layup to 106. I hit that to one foot for birdie, so that got me back on track after bogeys at 10 and 11.”
VandenBerg said it was a great way to end his golf season.
“You always want to end on a good note,” he said. “It makes you want to come back next year.”
In the women’s competition, Natalie Samdal of Caledonia shot 73, one shot off Collura’s lead.
Terry Delcamp of Grand Blanc shot 75 for third, and Ashley Mumby of Ann Arbor and Julie Massa of Holt each shot 77.
Collura, a Lakes of Taylor Golf Club champion, credited her putting.
“I did not hit the ball great but I stayed patient and trusted my putting,” she said. “From the moment I stepped on the putting green today it felt good. I had a lot of 15-to-18-footers and that was what was dropping.”
She recently played in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship in South Carolina and made match play.
“It feels great to get a win,” she said. “I lost in match play in South Carolina and was disappointed. It feels really good to end the season this way.”