Thomas Draper Jr. was one of Michigan’s top amateur golfers over four decades and made a mark on the national scene after turning 50 as well.
The Red Run Golf Club member won the prestigious North and South Amateur in 1965 at the age of 50, and later won the 1971 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship. In the ’65 North and South 36-hole final Draper lost the first three holes of the final match but closed the gap over the final 33 holes and won 1-up over Don Allen. In the ’71 U.S. Senior Amateur he topped what was then considered one of the elite fields in tournament history. He beat Ernest Pieper of California in the final, 3 and 1, at Sunnybrook Golf Club in Plymouth Meeting, Pa.
In Michigan, Draper was 34 when he won the 1949 Michigan Amateur Championship that included a 3 and 2 final win over Harold Brink of Grand Rapids at Belvedere Golf Club in Charlevoix. He was also runner-up in the state championship twice – to Glenn Johnson of Grosse Ile in 1958 at Belvedere, and Don Stevens of Detroit in 1960 at Black River Country Club in Port Huron.
Draper also won three Golf Association of Michigan Championships in three different decades, taking titles in 1956, ’60 and ’74.