Bath, MI –With comfortable temperatures, a light fall breeze, and the sounds of Spartan Stadium in the distance, 27 competitors took the home of Michigan State University golf this past Saturday. Nearly half the field was playing challenging Forest Akers West for the first time.
16-18 year old champion Brendan Ludwig, of Milford, won by two strokes with a 1-over 73. Ludwig immediately found his comfort zone around the course and finished the front nine 1-under, with two birdies. As the wind slowly picked up the back nine proved tough for most of the field, including Ludwig, who handled the back nine with by shooting just two over. The victory is a first for Ludwig on the MPGA Junior Tour.
Trailing Ludwig closely in second was Cameron Dekuiper, of Zeeland, whose consistency gave him a final tally of 3-over 75. The highlight of Dekuiper’s round came at the 13th hole, a short par-5 where he reached the green in two and drained a 20+ foot eagle putt, a first for Dekuiper in tournament competition. Three shots behind Dekuiper was Ian Helm, of Dewitt. After going to a scorecard playoff, Helm finished third with a round of 78 (+6). This is Helm’s second podium finish in a row as he finished runner-up last week at Hawk Hollow GC.
In the 13-15 year old division, tour newcomer Justin Sui made ease of the West course, finishing with a total of 75 (+3). Sui made the turn having shot an even 36 on the front nine, which included three birdies in his first five holes. Sui joined the field in battling a late surge in wind as the tournament entered mid-afternoon, but he battled and finished the back nine with a three over 39.
Following Sui was Jack VanderMolen, of Richland, who ended the day six over giving him the final score of 78. VanderMolen has a tied tournament high of 12 pars as well as one birdie on the lengthy par-5 2nd. Nick Krueger, of Spring Lake, matched VanderMolen with 12 pars but finished one stroke behind with 79.
This event was the second event of the Michigan PGA Junior Tour Fall Series. We would like to extend our thanks to Operations Manager Ray Dolish and the entire staff at Forest Akers West for providing us with wonderful conditions for the event. Assisting with the event was long time rules official Mick Kildea as well as volunteer Carol Tonkin, who assisted with rulings and spotting throughout the course.
Next up for the Fall Series is event #3 at Mystic Creek Golf Club in Milford, MI. The event will be held Sunday, October 4th with first tee times commencing at noon. Registration closes Tuesday, September 29th.
Listed below is a link to scoring from our September 26, 2015 event at Forest Akers West: