Grand Blanc’s Robert Burns Wins 15-and-under division
DEARBORN – PJ Maybank III of Cheboygan has some impressive golf credentials – winning the celebrated Drive, Chip and Putt before the Masters Tournament at age 13, and previously winning Golf Association of Michigan junior tournaments and others on the traveling golf circuit.
He called winning the 42nd Michigan Junior State Amateur Championship at TPC Michigan Thursday, the biggest win so far.
“To be the number one junior in Michigan, that means a lot to me,” said the smiling 15-year-old who topped Evan McDermott of Spring Lake 5 and 4 in the afternoon championship match.
“I played pretty solid this afternoon, made a good birdie putt on 8, got the lead and made a couple more on the back nine to win. This feels amazing. This was one of my big goals coming into the summer – to do well in this event and hopefully win it. I’m very happy I won.”
Robert Burns of Grand Blanc was the other big winner on the day. He won the 15-and-under Division Championship with a 6-and-5 triumph over Vibhav Alokam of Ypsilanti in the final match.
“It was a grind getting through the week, but if feels good to get in the finals and finish it,” said the 15-year-old Burns, who was a semifinalist a year ago.
The final match of the overall championship was the first one of the five Maybank played this week in which he wasn’t pushed to the final hole. He was the top seed as stroke play medalist.
“I played very solid all week but wasn’t consistent the whole time,” he said. “It was tough with a lot of tough matches. I was more consistent this afternoon. It was very windy, tough conditions, but I kept the ball in play and made some putts.”
McDermott, a 16-year-old junior to be at Spring Lake High School in the fall, said despite finishing second he was pleased with the week.
“It was my first time making it to match play after three tries so that definitely made it a really good week and getting to the final was icing on the cake,” he said. “I was happy with how I played even today. PJ just outplayed me. I’m happy. I always want to win, but runner-up is still good. Congrats to PJ. He’s a really good player.”
Maybank, who is an online student through Cheboygan Schools, earned his spot in the final match with a 1-up win over Caleb Bond of Williamston in the morning semifinals. McDermott topped Colin O’Rourke of Troy 4 and 2 to move on to the final.
In the 15-and-under, Burns topped McCoy Biagioli of White Lake 2 and 1 in the semifinals, and Alokam held off Greg Braun of Northville 1-up.
Burns saved par from the left of the green on the par 3 No. 12 hole in the title match and called his chip that lipped out the key shot.
“I stayed in the lead there and I was making putts,” he said. “I played pretty good given the circumstances.”
Alokam, 13 and headed to Ann Arbor Skyline in the fall, said he came to TPC Michigan with a goal of making the stroke play cut and getting into match play.
“I feel good that I got to the finals,” he said. “I played alright, but Robert played really well and deserved to win.”
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