LANSING – Kosta Ramirez of Treetops Resort celebrated his first professional victory and his third wedding anniversary at the same time in winning the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship Wednesday at Country Club of Lansing.
The 31-year-old Dearborn native made use of a fast start and held off Kyle Dobbs of Oak Pointe Country Club 1-up in the championship match.
His wife Cara, who he met eight years ago while completing the Professional Golf Management Program at Ferris State University, served as his caddie.
“This is pretty sweet, and to do it on me and my wife’s anniversary makes it even more special,” he said after accepting the $3,200 first-place check.
“Go figure that you’re going to spend your anniversary on a golf course, but she was a trooper and it was definitely special.”
Cara said it wasn’t her first time serving as caddie, but there’s a good chance it will be the most memorable.
“It’s always an honor to walk alongside him and watch him do what he does best,” she said. “And what a what a great anniversary gift – to win this and get to do it together.”
Ramirez birdied the first two holes of the championship match, hitting an approach shot on No. 1 to three feet, and then hitting a 7-iron from a fairway bunker to inside three feet on No. 2.
He maintained that lead through the first six holes, pushed it to 3-up with a tee shot on the par 3 No. 7 hole to just inches from the hole for birdie, and went 4-up through 11 holes when Dobbs made bogey. He led just 2-up through 13 holes but chipped in from off the front fringe for birdie on 14 and went 3-up again.
Dobbs was not going down easy. He built a rally across the back nine with birdies on 11, 13 and 15 to make things tense and push the match to the final hole.
“I was struggling a little bit at the end,” Ramirez said. “I was trying not to make mistakes and Kyle was hitting some great shots and making putts. I felt the pressure. I’ve never been in the championship match for a major tournament. I had to rely on my short game today and this week, and it definitely got me out of some bad situations.”
Ramirez appeared in the final 16 of the championship for the first time and secured a key 1-up quarterfinal match win Tuesday over two-time past champion and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club.
In Wednesday’s morning semifinal he had to fight off Grand Rapids teaching professional Jeff Caminiti of Maple Hill Golf Club 2 and 1.
Meanwhile, Dobbs had to finish a quarterfinal match Wednesday morning that had advanced to extra holes and was suspended by darkness and weather Tuesday night. He finally fought off Ryan Lenahan of Kendall Academy at Miles of Golf in Ypsilanti in 22 holes. Then he faced off against Jim Deiters of Midland Country Club in the semifinals, winning 2 and 1.
“It was a long day and I’m tired, but Kosta hit some great shots, got off to a good start and I had to chase,” Dobbs said. “Tough match.”
BRACKET RESULTS: Click HERE