Spring Lake's Krueger finishes runner-up at Junior State event

Tribune Staff • Jul 27, 2018 at 12:15 AM

Spring Lake's Nick Krueger held a late lead over Patrick Sullivan at the 40th annual Michigan Junior State Championship on Thursday at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield.

Unfortunately for the Lakers' standout golfer, he was outdueled by the soon-to-be University of Michigan golfer from Grosse Pointe on the 19th hole.

Sullivan staged a dramatic comeback with a come-from-behind eagle and par save on the 18th hole to force a playoff hole and won the first elimination hole to capture the title.

Sullivan won holes 9 and 10 to take a 2-up lead early on the back nine of the final match, but Krueger rallied to square the match through the 14th hole.

At No. 15, Krueger took a 1-up lead with a 15-foot downhill birdie putt and still had that lead at 17 when Sullivan made an eagle-3.

On 18, Krueger's approach shot from the rough lifted over the green and almost out of bounds. The tough lie would make it difficult for him to win the hole and he ultimately had to play for the draw.

The future Grand Valley State University commit said he was proud of his effort, despite the narrow loss.

"It was nerve-wracking, and it was different playing so many rounds of golf, and playing matches," he told Greg Johnson of GAM.org. "It is all about endurance. You play that well and that long, you really want to close it out, but Patrick played great. That was a great eagle at 17, and then he two-putted for par on 18 from 30 feet, and that was really good, too."

Krueger said his last approach shot was more of a bad break than a mistake.

"It wasn't as far off as it ended up," he said. "The wind carried it almost (out-of-bounds), and Patrick hit the green. He had me."

Sullivan reached the final match with a 3-and-2 morning semifinal win over Kevin Healy of Rockford, and Krueger reached the final with a 1-up win over Drew Coble of Lake Orion.

Sullivan bested the top 84 junior boy golfers in the state as determined by past performance or via sectional qualifiers presented earlier this summer across the state. In the end, Sullivan and Krueger made it through 36 holes of stroke play and five rounds of matches.

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