Archives for June 2015

Mississippi Golfer Ally McDonald Wins 22nd Michigan Women’s Open Championship

  THOMPSONVILLE – Former Mississippi State University All-American golfer Ally McDonald wasn’t sure what to think about winning her professional debut in the 22nd Michigan Women’s Open Championship at Crystal Mountain Resort.

   “I guess it hasn’t quite set in yet,” she said. “This is my first time playing for money, but I wasn’t trying to focus on that. I was just doing what I’ve always tried to do, focus on one shot at a time and see where it falls from there.”

Ally McDonald

Ally McDonald

 It fell to a 2-under 70 on the Mountain Ridge course to give the rookie professional a 5-under 211 total in the $42,000 open state championship.

  McDonald, who is from Fulton, Miss., won $6,000 with a two-shot advantage on long-time friend and rival golfer Kendall Martindale of Jefferson City, Tenn., a former Vanderbilt golfer who shot a closing 72 for 213 on a chilly, windy day.

  Emmie Pietila of Brighton, the University of Tennessee golfer who led the first two rounds, slipped to a 76 for 214. She tied for third place and low amateur with Muskegon’s Hailey Hrynewich, an Ohio University golfer who shot the day’s low round of 68. They were also the two low Michigan golfers in the field.

  “I made a lot of club (selection) errors and one coming in (at No. 17) that cost me a double bogey,” Pietila said. “The wind and mental errors made it tough. I guess I was a little nervous. I wasn’t as relaxed as I would have like to have been. It was different way to play, having the lead like that. It’s something else I just had to learn, so I’m pleased to have had that experience.”

  Hrynewich, whose brother Reed was low amateur in the men’s Michigan Open last month, and McDonald were the only two golfers to shoot under par in the final round. McDonald said she hit her driver especially well in the final round.

  “I made a 10-foot birdie putt on No. 8 and then hit a real good shot into 9,” said McDonald, who wrapped a blanket around herself often during the final round. “That got me going, and I hit the driver really well. I stayed out of trouble.”

  McDonald, on the road an in the golf car Wednesday with her mother Angie, had the lead by the 10th hole, but didn’t realize she had a chance to win until seeing a scoreboard at No. 14.

    “I was kind of oblivious to it all, and just focused on each shot,” she said.

  Martindale, who played in the same group with McDonald and has been competing with her since a junior tournament at age 12 and through many SEC college events, said their experience in golf helped them deal with suddenly finding they had a chance to win at No. 14.

  “We’ve played quite a bit of golf so we know how to keep our emotions in check and not to focus on the finish,” Martindale said. “Ally played solid all day. She hit her driver in play and played tough like she usually does. It was tough out there, cold and windy and the pin positions were harder and some of the tees were back, too.”

   Sandra Angulo Minarro of Port Saint Lucie, Fla., shot 73 for 215 and fifth place. Former Michigan State standout Caroline Powers of Bowling Green, Ohio, shot 75 for 216. Sarah Hoffman, the former Grand Valley State golfer from Saline who had been among the leaders the first two rounds, struggled to a 79 and 218.

  The Symetra Tour players from the field, including Powers, Whitehall’s Laura Kueny, Liz Nagle of Dewitt and Christine Meier of Rochester, move on to Tullymore Golf Resort in Stanwood for the inaugural Tullymore Classic slated for Friday through Sunday.

  More information on the Michigan Women’s Open can be found at

  More information on Crystal Mountain Resort can be found at

For final results and payout click HERE





  THOMPSONVILLE – A record 114 entries, including defending champion and former Notre Dame golfer Becca Huffer of Littleton, Colo., will tee off Monday for the start of the 22nd Michigan Women’s Open Championship hosted by Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa.

Becca Huffer

Becca Huffer

The $42,000, 54-hole state championship administered by the Michigan Section of the PGA of America, will run through next Wednesday.

  The Michigan Women’s Open is not restricted to Michigan residents. Typically the field includes the top professionals and amateurs with Michigan ties as well as LPGA Symetra Tour players and mini-tour professionals from across the country and other nations as well.

  Huffer, a Symetra Tour player is returning to defend her championship.

  Also in the field is Whitehall’s Laura Kueny, the former Michigan State star now on the Symetra Tour, past champion and former LPGA Tour and current Legends Tour star Elaine Crosby of Jackson and former LPGA Tour player Sue Ertl of Ionia.

   Michigan State University women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll, who recently won her eighth Michigan Women’s Mid-Amateur Championship and is the winningest amateur golfer in state history with 15 major titles, is in the field as are 19 other golfers with Michigan State ties from the powerhouse Big Ten program she had built over the years.

  This year the championship falls on the calendar between two Symetra Tour events in Michigan – the June 26-28 Island Resort Championship in Harris and the inaugural July 3-5 Tullymore Classic at Tullymore Golf Resort in Stanwood.  Kueny has been featured in promotional materials and on Michigan billboards for the Symetra Tour’s visit to Tullymore later in the tournament week.

  “The schedule works so I can play in our state championship and be on the Symetra Tour, so that’s perfect,” Kueny said. “It’s tough traveling around the country, so having two events I really want to play in close to home and back-to-back in the same week at great Michigan resorts is great for me, my family and a lot of other Symetra Tour players. I’m proud of being a Michigan Women’s Open champion. It is part of the reason I’m chasing this dream of being on the LPGA Tour.”

    The format is 54 holes of stroke play, and the field will be cut to the low 70 scorers and ties after 36 holes of play.

  Crystal Mountain Resort and Spa in Thompsonville is hosting the state championship for the 13th consecutive year. Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort that is nationally recognized for its skiing, golf and award-winning spa.

  Located in northwest-lower-Michigan, a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the resort features downhill and cross-country skiing, Michigan Legacy Art Park, 36 holes of championship golf, Michigan’s only alpine slide, an outdoor water playground, a variety of lodging and dining options, countless year-round activities and kids programs, an IACC-approved conference center, weddings, real estate and Crystal Spa. See .

   Tee times and other information can be found at under the Events pull-down tab.  Justin Phillips of the Michigan PGA is the tournament director and available at 517-641-7421 or

   As always, the Michigan Women’s Open offers free parking and admission. Spectators are welcome and can be shuttled to various spots on the course.

For Live Scoring Click HERE

For Round 1 Pairings Click HERE

Ziska & Deiters win the Greg Norman Collection / Dunning / Yamaha Golf Cars Pro – Pro Championship

East Lansing, MI – Their morning round of (-8) under par 64 at Hawk Hollow Golf Club proved to be enough as Ian Ziska and Jim Deiters won the rain shortened 2015 Greg Norman Collection / Dunning / Yamaha Golf Cars Pro – Pro with sponsors

What was supposed to be a 36 hole best ball event turned into an 18 hole event as the heavy rains and thunderstorms came early arriving in between rounds and not allowing the teams to get out and start their second round. 

With their score of 64 Ian Ziska from Katke Golf Course at FSU and Jim Deiters from Midland Country Club finished one shot of the teams of James Troy and Clark Peterson from the Golf Performance Academy and Frank McAuliffe from Meadowbrook CC and his partner Jeff Gniewek from Knollwood Country Club. 6 teams  finished two shots back at (-6) under par – 66.

The teams played Hawk Hollow Golf Club in the morning and were scheduled to play Eagle Eye Golf Club in the afternoon. We would like to thank  our host site – Hawk Hollow Properties for hosting this event.

We would also like to thank our two new sponsors  – Greg Norman / Dunning along with Yamaha Golf Cars for stepping up this year to sponsor the event. We appreciate their support of the Section  and our Tournament program.

For final results and payout click HERE

Cruise Control: Jeff Cuzzort Holds Lead, Wins Michigan Open Championship

     HIGHLAND – Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile said winning the 98th Michigan Open Championship means everything to him.

   “Just everything, because I closed the deal,” he said after shooting a final-round 3-under 69 Thursday to hold off all challengers for the state championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac at Prestwick Village Golf Club.

   “I didn’t make it through (PGA Tour Qualifying) again in 2013 and realized I was tired of chasing it and tired of spending the money of the great sponsors who believed in me,” he said. “I’ve just tried to make money since then, working for Pure Performance Golf Labs and caddying. I figured Michigan Open and the (Michigan) Tournament of Champions would give me that competitive fix.”

  It did that and more Thursday when his 69 left him with a 15-under 273 total and a four-shot win over mini-tour players Randy Hutchison of Traverse City and Jeff Bronkema of Wayland who each made chase with final rounds of 67 for 277.

  “We needed him to come back a little for us to have a chance, and credit to him, he held the lead and won,” Hutchison, the 2011 Michigan Open champion, said.

  Bronkema, who came as close as three shots with a birdie binge early on the back nine, said every time he made a putt it seemed Cuzzort matched him.

  “He played tough, and when it really looked like I had a chance at 16, he made just a great par-saving putt,” said Bronkema, a Plainwell native who is on the mini-tour circuit after trying the PGA apprentice program.

   “It could have been really different if he didn’t save that.”

   Cuzzort had a four-shot lead headed to 16, teed off with a 3-iron for safety but pulled it into long grass left of the fairway. A punch out followed by a shot to 20-feet from the pin left him with a sliding downhill putt he made. Bronkema made his birdie putt to pull within three shots, but it easily could have been two shots.

   “That was big,” Cuzzort said. “It was moving, but it went in and then I knew I could get it in.”

    He got it in with the help of a 204-yard 5-iron approach shot at 18, won the $8,500 first-place check and accepted the keys to a 2015 Cadillac SRX. Sponsoring LaFontaine Cadillac presented him with a one-year lease, and announced that for the third consecutive year they have agreed to be the presenting sponsor and Prestwick Village Golf Club will again be the site in 2016.

    “I’ll be back for sure,” said Cuzzort, who won the 2004 Michigan Amateur.  “Maybe I rethink the playing thing, but right now I’m going to enjoy winning the state championship. I’ve had a lot of vehicles, but I’ve never had a Cadillac. That’s going to be nice. It’s been a while since I felt this good about playing golf.”

    Andy Ruthkoski, the 2007 Michigan Open champion from Muskegon shot a final 68 for 279 and fourth place alone, and Doug LaBelle of Mount Pleasant, the former PGA Tour player, closed with a 71 for 280 and fifth place.

   Low amateur honors went to University of Michigan golfer Reed Hrynewich of Muskegon, who had a final 68 for 283 and sixth place alone.

   Traverse City amateur Patrick Colburn, who shot 73 for 284, Fox Hills Learning Center pro Brian Cairns, who shot 70 for 285, 2013 champion Tom Werkmeister of Kentwood, who shot 69 for 286, Ferris State golfer Ben Cook of Caledonia, who shot 71 for 287, and Jim Troy of Golf Performance Academy, who shot 72 for 287, rounded out the top 10.

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For final results and payout click HERE








2015 Class Inducted at Michigan Golf Hall of Fame

BIG RAPIDS, Mich. –  LPGA star Kelly Robbins, six-time Michigan Open winner Scott Hebert, award-winning PGA teaching professional David Kendall and self-taught amateur standout Greg Davies were inducted in Michigan Golf Hall of Fame ceremonies Sunday at Ferris State University.

Their election brings the Hall of Fame’s membership to 109. Ferris State’s Katke Golf Course is the home of the Hall of Fame, which will soon be part of a planned new golf facility.

Robbins, who currently lives in Maine and was unable to attend the ceremony, was represented by her parents.

The 45-year-old long hitter won nine times on the LPGA Tour including the major McDonald’s LPGA Championship, was a member of six Solheim Cup teams and assistant captain of the 2009 Solheim team.

She was also a two-time first team All-American at the University of Tulsa where she led the team to the NCAA title in 1988. In 1991, Robbins was honored as NCAA Co-Player of the year along with the University of Arizona’s Annika Sorenstam.

After winning the North and South Amateur in 1991, she turned professional. Robbins had 91 career top ten finishes, won $5,738,599 and is second only to Hall of Fame member Meg Mallon among Michigan golfers in LPGA earnings and titles. Her career was cut short by a back injury and her last Tour appearance was in 2005.

“She is really excited by this,” said her mother Margie, who read a letter to the Hall of Fame audience from her daughter. “She was always proud to be from Michigan and Mount Pleasant, and she feels blessed by the career she had and that people remember her.”

Hebert, 46 and an Escanaba native, is playing this week in the 98th Michigan Open. His six Open championships have him tied with Al Watrous, who was a member of the Hall’s first class. Like Kendall, Hebert is a graduate of Ferris State University.

He turned professional in 1993 and won twice on the NGA Hooters Tour after winning the state championship six times. He considers his biggest win the 2008 PGA Professional National Championship, which is the top prize for club professionals.

Hebert continues to dominate in the state. He has won the Michigan PGA championship seven times, which are three short of another Watrous record, and has developed a strong following as a teacher. Hebert recently became head professional at Traverse City Golf & Country Club.

“This is clearly one of the highlights of my career,” Hebert said. “I look at the names of the golfers in the Hall of Fame and I’m humbled to have my names with them.”

Kendall, 60, has the distinction of being part of only the second class to enter the landmark Professional Golf Management program at Ferris State University. Dave was one of two PGM graduates to first earn the classification of PGA Head Professional. His first head job was at Cadillac Country Club in 1981. Later, he moved south to Ypsilanti where he established the Kendall Academy at Miles of Golf.

He was ranked No. 2 on Golf Digest’s list of Top Teachers in Michigan. He has been named Michigan PGA Teacher of the Year twice, Golf Professional of the Year twice and was inducted into the Michigan PGA Section Hall of Fame in 2013.

 As a player Kendall has won the Michigan Senior Open championship twice, the Senior PGA, Senior Match Play, the PGA State Pro-Am, the State Pro-Pro three times and played on six Fuller Cup teams.

“I can’t believe I’m in the Hall of Fame,” Kendall said. “And this class I’m going in with of great champions. I’m so happy to be the fourth golfer in this group.”

Davies, 47 and a West Bloomfield resident, considers the 2006 Michigan Amateur win his greatest. It came at age 36 and followed consistent excellence in Golf Association of Michigan and Michigan Publinx Golf Association tournaments.

 After playing college golf at the University of Oklahoma, he made the Publinx Honor Roll 18 times and the GAM Honor Roll eight times, was in the “Sweet 16” at the Michigan Amateur nine times, was the only golfer to win the Michigan Publinx trio of major titles in the same year (1999) and also won GAM Mid-Amateur (2003, 2005) and GAM Mid-Senior Amateur (2013) titles. 

His eight times as Publinx Player of the Year is the most all-time, and a reflection of his four Publinx State Match Play wins, two State Medal Play titles and two Syron Memorial wins.

  “I never thought this was possible,” Davies said. “I always just enjoyed the process, the practice and trying to accomplish things. To think I’m going in the Hall of Fame with Kelly Robbins, Scott Hebert and Dave Kendall is such an honor, so humbling.”

MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Johnson 616 560 8995

June is Michigan Golf Month!

LANSING – Sarah Roberts (D), a Michigan legislator for the 18th District, including St. Clair Shores, does not play the game of golf.

But she showed appreciation for what the sport means to the state’s tourism and economic outlook.

“Tourism is one of our top economic engines, and that doesn’t mean just our water,” Roberts said, after boasting about a recent national bass fishing tournament that took place in her district. “We have some beautiful golf courses throughout the state and it’s a part of our important tourism industry.”

Roberts made those comments Thursday, when Michigan state legislators, golf course owners and other golf advocacy groups met in Lansing for the annual Michigan Golf Day at the Capitol event, consisting of a variety of speeches, networking, golf tips and lunch on the Capitol lawn.

While Roberts and others do not play the game, she was impressed enough with golf’s ability to support other networking opportunities that she has partnered with Sara Wold of the Michigan Women’s Golf Association to plan a golf skills event, next week at MSU’s Forest Akers, that’s for Michigan women legislators from both sides of the aisle.

“Part of the reason I’m doing this is because in the era of term limits, it’s so important for us as legislators to have an opportunity to really get to know one another, to build relationships,” Roberts said. “So much of that is lacking. So, while I don’t play golf, golf can be good for our economy. It can be good for bipartisan cooperation.”

Thursday’s event began with David West, vice-president of Travel Michigan, making the day’s opening remarks and stating that the popular Pure Michigan advertising campaign would get a boost of $4 million in the state budget that was approved Wednesday in the Michigan House. West also read a proclamation from Gov. Rick Snyder declaring June ‘Michigan Golf Month.’

“In terms of tourism, bringing people into the state, showing off how beautiful the state is, golf provides that avenue,” said Pat Somerville (R) of the 23rd District covering southern Wayne County. “So it’s very important. I think probably most people don’t realize, unless you’re a golfer yourself, or you’re involved in the industry, you probably don’t realize how huge of an impact golf plays in the state of Michigan.”

Part of that influence, according to comments from Kate Moore of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, is: golf has a $4.2 billion total economic impact in Michigan, contributes $1.4 billion in wage income in the state, generates more than 58,000 jobs and has a $118 million charitable impact in Michigan.

Alex Coss, general manager of Hawk Hollow Properties in East Lansing and the golf and banquet services at Eagle Eye golf Club, said his place of business alone supports 350 jobs.

“I think a lot of people don’t understand how big of an impact golf has on the economy,” Coss said. “From golf you have banquets; from golf you have outings and charity fund raisers. There is a huge economic impact.”

Jason Sheppard (R), the 56th District rep serving Monroe County, said he’s happy when Ohioans come across the border to spend their money at Michigan golf courses and neighboring businesses.

Klint Kesto, (R) for the 39th District in Commerce Township, likes the annual Golf Day for the same reason each legislator mentioned; he wants the open dialog with people in their industry.

“We want to have the opportunity for people to go to a golf event, or a Tour that’s here, or whatever it might be,” Kesto added. “And we want to especially encourage the youth to get into golf. It doesn’t matter where you live, whether you’re from Detroit or Mt. Pleasant or Commerce Township. Here’s another sport where we can get kids involved and engage them to being outside, enjoying Michigan. And with Michigan being one of the top states (for golf) that’s pure Michigan.”