It wasn’t easy, but Keaton Inglis came back Sunday to beat Brad Tate 2-1 in match play in the Oceana Golf Club Men’s Championship.
Keaton captured his fourth OGC championship in the last five years, and became just the second golfer ever to win three consecutive cups. Rick Weaver first accomplished that feat in 1991-93.
“This championship match was the worst I played in any of them,” said the 20-year-old champ. “I’ve been focused on hitting my irons all week, and I didn’t realize how bad my putting got until I got here.”
Keaton’s father, longtime Oceana club pro Marc Inglis, has been Keaton’s most important coach, but Marc had some mixed emotions prior to this championship match.
“Brad’s father Jim was a big part of my life and a great mentor,” Marc said. “He was my high school golf coach for four years, baseball coach for three years, basketball coach for two years, and teacher for two years.”
Years later Marc paid it forward and helped Brad develop into a college golfer at Alma College, where he lettered all four years and earned All-Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association honors for two years.
“Marc was a great supporter when I was Keaton’s age,” said the 46-year-old Tate. “I had the success I had in college because of him.”
“I didn’t want to see Brad win, because Keaton is, after all, my son,” says Marc. “But against anybody else I would be rooting for Brad. The whole Tate family has been so supportive of my whole family.”
Now Brad has become a big fan of Keaton.
“I remember when Keaton was born,” says Tate. “I’ve watched him grow up, play at Shelby High, and encouraged him all through his career. I’m so proud of him.”
Inglis won the second hole of the match to take the first lead, but Tate birdied the third hole to draw the match back to even. His par won the 4th hole for a 1-up lead, then when he birdied the 10th hole, Tate owned a 2-up lead.
“I knew I had to play my best round of the summer,” said Tate, the current Oakridge High golf coach. “Then I had to hope Keaton would not play like the golfer that he is.”
Inglis responded with a par on the 11th and a birdie on the par-3 12th to even the match. He closed it out with pars on the 15th and 16th holes. He was the number one seed going into the championship but didn’t feel the pressure of being the target.
“I expect to win so it doesn’t really affect me,” said Keaton. “But it feels good to know that I can battle through when I’m not playing well and still win.”
“He did what he had to do in the back nine,” said Tate. “He hit fairways and put the ball within ten feet of the hole.The best golfer won today.”
Keaton was just 16 years old in 2015 when became the youngest golfer ever to win the OGC championship. This past spring Keaton earned NJCAA All-American honors at Muskegon Community College. Keaton is headed to Wayne State University later this week. He is a finance major, but was recruited to play golf.