Craft, Noble playing in Michigan Amateur

Former Dowagiac standout Chris Craft will begin play in the 102nd Michigan Amateur being held at the Muskegon Country Club Tuesday when he tees off at 8:24 a.m.

The first two rounds of the amateur will be stroke play with the field being cut to the top 64 players following Wednesday’s round for the final three days of match play.

Craft qualified for the Michigan Amateur May 21 at Arbor Hills Golf Club in Jackson when he tied for second with a 70.

Craft, who played collegiate golf at Northwood University in Texas last fall, had never seen Arbor Hills before stepping onto the first tee.

“I just went up there completely blind,” Craft said. “I have never played it and had never even seen it.”

That won’t be the case when Craft arrived Monday at Muskegon CC. He has played the course before and is playing a practice round there Monday afternoon.

“I have played this course once and it’s a little tricky,” he said.

Craft said he is ready for his first Michigan Amateur.

“I’m playing well right now and I definitely expect to be in the mix come match play time,” Craft said.

There could be a problem, however, if he does advance to match play because he is also scheduled to play June 21-22 in a tournament in Evansville, Ind.

He teed off of No. 1 Tuesday morning along with Glenn Piot Jr. of Canton and Matt Bartnick of Livonia.

Craft traveled to Texas after a successful high school career in Dowagiac and played well last fall at Northwood.

He has since returned to Dowagiac, attended Southwestern Michigan College for a semester and is in the process of transferring to Grand Valley State University.

He is unsure if he will play college golf for the Lakers.

“I had a really good fall, but decided to go to SMC for a semester and then transfer to Grand Valley,” Craft said. “I don’t know if I will play there, it depends on my class schedule. They encourage you to not take classes Monday, Wednesday and Friday, but I have to take 18 credit hours a semester. It’s more important to get my degree.”

Craft is majoring in finance.

He noted that if he is playing well, it doesn’t matter if he is on a college team or not.

Craft isn’t the only local player competing in the Michigan Amateur.

Former Niles standout Chris Noble is also in the field.

He is scheduled to tee off from No. 10 Tuesday at 12:35 p.m. with Dan Warner of Saginaw and Connor Jones of Shelby Township.

Noble qualified at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Battle Creek where he tied for fifth with a 74.

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