TROY — Last week was a good week on the golf course for Troy’s Michael Walker. Maybe his best.
He started by celebrating his birthday on Sunday (he was born on his mother Nancy’s birthday), played with Hall of Famer Hale Irwin in the Troy Bicentennial Golf Classic on Monday, won the Troy Country Club’s Gala Day tournament on Thursday — and he finished by winning his 13th Troy CC men’s club title on Saturday.
He was a part of the bicentennial event along with other amateurs, local pros Mark Robart and Kyle Courtright and the two featured pros, three-time U.S. Open champion Irwin and two-time tour winner Frank Lickliter.
The pros played 18 holes, the amateurs nine. Walker was paired with Irwin on the front nine and shot a two-under-par 32, a stroke better than the Hall of Fame tour star who has won a record 45 times on the senior tour and 20 times on the regular tour.
Then Thursday he won the TCC’s Gala Day tournament for a record 10th time, shooting an even-par 70, two shots better than three others.
He capped things off Saturday with a convincing 8-and-7 victory over Jon Brading in a scheduled 36-hole finale.
“I started to get my tempo back playing with Irwin and during a couple of practice rounds,” Walker said. “Then I was able to keep my swing under control on Thursday and against Jon.”
Walker was 5-up after the first 18, shooting a four-under-par 66. The match was never close in the afternoon and it ended on 11.
The key hole was the seventh in the morning. The match was all even when Walker made a 50-foot putt for birdie to win the hole.
“It’s been a long time since I’ve made a putt like that when it meant something,” Walker said.
He birdied the next hole to go 2-up, and 18 holes later he was 8-up with just 10 to play. He made nine birdies in the 29 holes they played.
While Walker was winning the club championship for a 13th time, Gareth Johnston was on her way to winning for the 25th time.
Like Walker, she played with Irwin in the bicentennial event, then beat Jan Wilkins 3-and-2 in the women’s club finals.
Johnston’s son, Jason the vet, won the TCC men’s president’s flight with a 2-and-1 victory over Mick McClurg; John Stickel beat Tom Orr 2-and-1 to win the first flight; and Monte Ross won the 18th for a l-up second flight win over Steve Smith.