Matt Paterini shatters scoring record on way to third Ann Arbor city golf championship
Practice makes perfect and, in the case of Saline’s Matt Paterini, it makes for a record-setting tournament.
Paterini won his third City of Ann Arbor men's amateur golf championship in the past four years, breaking the scoring record in the process Sunday at Leslie Park Golf Course.
Paterini shot a 4-under-par 68 to finish the 54-hole tournament with a 12-under-par 204. The previous record of 209 was set in 2003 by Bill Lyle Jr.
“I was aware of the tournament record, I knew if I shot under par I’d have a good chance of beating it,” said Paterini, who won city titles in 2009 and 2010. “Me and my caddy stuck to our gameplan the whole week. We had a few bad shots, but for the most part we were able to play the bad shots.”
Paterini shot a tournament-low 5-under-par 67 on Saturday and picked up where he left off when he birdied two of the first five holes Sunday to extend his lead. The 22-year-old had just one bogey in the tournament and was bogey-free over the last 37 holes.
“I’ve been playing really well this whole summer, but as far as that prolonged amount of holes without bogeys, that’s the best stretch of golf I’ve ever put together,” Paterini said.
In order to get used to the conditions at Leslie Park, Paterini shot a few practice rounds earlier in the week. He said that experience paid huge dividends as the tournament wore on.
“This course always plays really hard and dry this time of year. It’s different than a lot of courses we play for other tournaments during the summer,” Paterini said. “You have to land shots short and roll them up, and not necessarily aim right at the pin. The greens were a lot harder and faster than in practice rounds.”
Huron High School graduate Alex Wunderlich took second place (73-72-69-214) after shooting a 69 on Sunday, including eight birdies for the round. He also had five bogeys on the day.
“I putted really well. Now that I add it all up, it doesn’t really feel like eight birdies,” Wunderlich said. “It was just kind of up and down.”
Wunderlich, who just finished his freshman year at Emory University in Georgia, finished with birdies on the final three holes to close out his round.
Jacob Sitzmann (73-68-74-215 finished third on an unfamiliar track. Having recently moved to Ann Arbor from Iowa, Sitzmann had only played the course one other time. He was pleased with his weekend performance, which included an eagle during Sunday’s final round.
“This is a good tournament," Sitzmann said. "This is the first time I’ve played in it. For the amount of people that we had, it was really good.”
Defending champion Peter Spittler (77-73-70-220) finished 16 shots off the lead.
Paterini becomes the second Saline native to set a tournament record during this year’s city tournaments, following Sarah Hoffman’s record-breaking effort during the women’s tournament last month.
“Sarah always plays well in this event and I tend to play well here too,” Paterini said. “The Saline (High School) program is great.
“I think she’s got four now and I only got three, so I have a little work to do.”