112TH MICHIGAN AMATEUR: Eastmanville’s August Meekhof Wins
BLOOMFIELD HILLS – August Meekhof, a Michigan State University golfer from Eastmanville near Grand Rapids, lost in the semifinals in 2020 and last year, and came back this year wanting another chance.
He got it and made the most of it, topping Will Anderson, a University of Michigan golfer from Portage, 2 and 1 Saturday to win the 112th Michigan Amateur Championship presented by Carl’s Golfland on the North Course at Oakland Hills Country Club.
“It feels really good,” Meekhof said. “This field is one of the greatest fields we play against and obviously match play is really hard and it’s a long week for sure. This is something that I have wanted to win for a while now. I’ve been close the past couple of years, but never got it. It feels good to finally be the Michigan Amateur champion.”
Meekhof had a 2-up lead through 12 holes but lost the par 3 No. 13 hole to a flop shot birdie chip-in by Anderson from behind the green. He went back to 2-up on 14 though when Anderson three-putted for bogey. Anderson was not done yet. He rolled in an eight-foot birdie putt on 16 to close the gap. That sent them up 17 where Meekhof rolled in a six-foot birdie putt to win.
Meekhof said the pair acknowledged the MSU vs. UM rivalry thing with some talk before the final match, but they said they talked more about knowing each other since age eight and competing with and against each other.
“It was a little bittersweet beating a friend,” Meekhof said. “You want your friends to do well, but then when you’re playing them, you want to beat them.”
Anderson said he was talking a lot of positives from the long week and being runner-up.
“Knowing that I can hang with the best players when I don’t have my best game, that I can just battle and see where it puts me at the end of the day,” he said. “I lost to a great player and a good friend. We were laughing about playing all those statewide Meijer Junior Tour events when were like eight. It was a little strange walking down the fairway in the championship match with him, but not really a surprise. We both wanted to be there and win. Battling with him, that’s a positive I can build on.”
Meekhof, with longtime friend Kurt Sprague as caddie, earned his spot in the final match with a morning 2 and 1 semifinal win over Jimmy Dales of Northville, a University of Wyoming golfer. He got the lead on the back nine in similar fashion to the final match with timely birdies.
Anderson, meanwhile, beat fellow Portage resident Jared Lyons, a former Saginaw Valley State University golfer, 1-up. He did it in dramatic fashion, winning hole 17 to tie the match and making a birdie on 18 to win.
Meekhof, while holding the Staghorn Trophy for pictures, said he was glancing at the historic names.
“It’s starting to sink in that my name is going on there,” he said. “Being part of that elite group is special to me.”
Meekhof and Anderson each have final years remaining at their schools, and they plan to try professional tour golf in the future. The reigning GAM Champion, Meekhof was going to start driving Saturday night to Pinehurst Resort in North Carolina. He was invited to play in the prestigious North and South Amateur.
“This is a great confidence boost for me going into that national tournament, and the golf course this week was tough, one of the best country club courses I’ve ever played,” he said. “I do like match play. It was a long week but I enjoyed it.”