CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN HOSTS MICHIGAN WOMEN’S OPEN STARTING MONDAY

THOMPSONVILLE – Defending champion Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor, who was recently inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, is returning as Crystal Mountain Resort will host the Michigan Women’s Open for the 15th consecutive time starting Monday on the Mountain Ridge Golf Course.

The 24th edition of the championship, which does not require Michigan residency, will feature an international field of 113 golfers, including professionals and amateurs representing 21 states and three countries.

The field will play 54 holes of stroke play over three days to determine the champion with a cut after the first two rounds to the low 70 scorers and ties. The professionals will play for a share of the $40,000 purse.

The championship is administered by the Michigan Section of the PGA of America, and the field typically 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. The Symetra Tour is in Michigan, headed next for the June 30 – July 2 Tullymore Classic at Tullymore Resort in Canadian Lakes.

Green-Roebuck, a mother of three who won a record third Michigan Open at the age of 49 a year ago, said she always looks forward to playing at Crystal Mountain. Her father, Pete Green, caddies for her on what becomes a family trip up north. They are the first parent-child combination in Michigan’s Golf Hall of Fame.

“I don’t have many opportunities to compete any longer, so this one is special and now more special because I really had a great tournament last year,” she said. “I proved to myself I can still play, and that all the years of practicing and working on my game that I put in when I was younger still pay off.”

A large number of new names are entered this year, but also some very familiar players.

Symetra Tour player Laura Kueny, the former Michigan State standout and 2011 champion, is in, as are former LPGA Tour players and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members Elaine Crosby of Jackson and Sue Ertl, a Grand Rapids native now teaching in Florida. Crosby won the Michigan Open in 2001 and 2002 after her long and successful LPGA Tour career.

Many of Michigan’s top golfers are also lined up to play, including 2014 Michigan Amateur champion Jennifer Elsholz of Grand Rapids, who is now a professional, and last summer’s Golf Association of Michigan champion, Anna Kramer of Spring Lake.

Grand Blanc’s Shasta Averyhardt, who now lives in Florida, Saline’s Sarah Hoffman and Lindsey McPherson of Flushing, all making the rounds on the professional circuit, are entered, as are the Shipley sisters from Hastings — Gabrielle, who is a professional, and Sarah, an amateur who plays at the University of Kentucky.

Michigan State women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik, the low amateur a year ago and another recent inductee into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame with Green-Roebuck, is also in the field.

Crystal Mountain Resort was established in 1956, and 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 www.crystalmountain.com .

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.

Tee times, scoring links other information can be found at www.michiganpgagolf.com. Justin Phillips of the Michigan PGA is the tournament director and available at 517-641-7421 or JPhillips@michiganpga.com.

Media contact: Greg Johnson, 616-560-8995, greggie24@hotmail.com

Scott Hebert Secures Spot in the 99th PGA Championship

Congratulations Scott Hebert!

Scott Hebert

SUNRIVER, OR – June 19: Scott Hebert hits his tee shot on the 14th hole during Round Two of the 50th PGA Professional Championship held at Meadows Course at Sunriver Resort on June 19, 2017 in Sunriver, Oregon. (Photo by Traci Edwards/PGA of America)

 

Hebert shot 2-over for 289 at the 2017 PGA Professional Championship and secured a spot with the top 20 PGA Professionals at the 99th PGA Championship, August 10-13, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina. Hebert, the 48 year old Head Professional at Traverse City Golf and Country Club, will be making his fifth career PGA Championship appearance (2007, ’08, ’09, ’10, ‘17) at Quail Hollow.


Omar Uresti Leads Contingent of 20 PGA Club Professionals to Play the 99th PGA Championship

By John Dever
PGA of America

SUNRIVER, ORE. (June 21, 2017) – Omar Uresti of Austin, Texas, who won the 2017 PGA Professional Championship in a playoff on Wednesday, will lead a contingent of 20 PGA Professionals to the 99th PGA Championship, August 10-13, at Quail Hollow Club in Charlotte, North Carolina.

A 48-year-old PGA Life Member, Uresti will be playing in his third consecutive PGA Championship after edging Dave McNabb of Newark, Delaware on the second playoff hole at Crosswater Club.

Uresti’s string of three straight PGA Championship berths is tied with Matt Dobyns of Glen Head, New York for the longest active streak among PGA Club Professionals. Dobyns (2012, ’15-17) will be playing in his fourth PGA Championship this August.

McNabb, the PGA Head Professional at Applewood Golf Club in Malvern, Pennsylvania will be making his third career PGA Championship appearance (2013, ’14, ‘17) at Quail Hollow.

By earning a trip to Quail Hollow, Mike Small of Champaign, Illinois punched the 10th PGA Championship ticket of his career, first since 2013.

Stuart Deane of Arlington, Texas and David Muttitt of Albuquerque, New Mexico earned the final two PGA Championship exemptions available this week, as they emerged from a tense eight-player playoff.

For Muttitt, it was the second straight year he emerged with a PGA Championship exemption via a playoff after the PGA Professional Championship.

Eight of the 20 PGA Club Professionals at Quail Hollow in August will be making their PGA Championship debuts.

PLAYER

HOMETOWN

CLUB/FACILITY

PGA SECTION

PGA CHAMPIONSHIP EXPERIENCE

Alex Beach

Summit, N.J.

Baltusrol G.C.

New Jersey

None

Rich Berberian Jr.

Hooksett, N.H.

Vesper C.C.

New England

2016

Jamie Broce

Ottawa Hills, Ohio

College Coach

Northern Ohio

2014

Paul Claxton

Claxton, Ga.

PGA Life Member

Georgia

None

Stuart Deane

Arlington, Texas

University of Texas-Arlington

Northern Texas

2014

Matt Dobyns

Glen Head, N.Y.

Fresh Meadow C.C.

Metropolitan

2012, ’15, ’16

Greg Gregory

Joshua, Texas

Hidden Creek G.C.

Northern Texas

None

Jaysen Hansen

Solon, Ohio

Beechmont C.C.

Northern Ohio

None

Scott Hebert

Traverse City, Mich.

Traverse City G.&C.C.

Michigan

2007, ’08, ’09, ’10

Dave McNabb

Newark, Del.

Applewood G.C.

Philadelphia

2013, ’14

Chris Moody

Provo, Utah

Riverside C.C.

Utah

None

David Muttitt

Albuquerque, N.M.

Los Altos, G.C.

Sun Country

2013, ’16

Rod Perry

Port Orange, Fla.

Crane Lakes G.&C.C.

North Florida

2012, ’13, ’14, ’16

Kenny Pigman

Norco, Calif.

Goose Creek G.C.

Southern California

None

Adam Rainaud

Chester, Conn.

Winged Foot G.C.

Metropolitan

2015

Mike Small

Champaign, Ill.

University of Illinois

Illinois

2004-07, ’09-13

Brian Smock

Coronado, Calif.

Coronado G.C.

Southern California

None

Omar Uresti

Austin, Texas

PGA Life Member

Southern Texas

2015, ’16

Ryan Vermeer

Omaha, Neb.

Tiburon G.C.

Nebraska

None

J.J. Wood

Houston

Golf Performance Group

Southern Texas

None

Marshall’s Matt Thompson Pulls Away to Win Historic 100th Michigan Open Championship

HIGHLAND – Matt Thompson, Marshall Country Club’s new golf professional, made five birdies on the back nine to pull away from the field Thursday and win the 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Automotive Group at Prestwick Village Golf Club.
The six-shot win powered by a 6-under 66 for a 16-under 272 total earned the Battle Creek native and former University of Michigan golfer $8,500 and a two-year lease on a new Cadillac.
“I’m beyond excited about the car,” he said. “I’ve been car shopping the last few months and held out for a little bit. I have a Dodge Stratus, almost to 200,000 miles. This could not have come at a better time.”
It was also about time for Thompson, who has had several close calls in the Michigan Open in recent years, including back-to-back seconds in 2009 and 2010 to Ryan Brehm.
“I feel great and it is so nice to finally get a win in the state of Michigan,” he said. “I knocked on the door too many times not to win one. Oh man, it was great to finally push through and get it.”
Tom Werkmeister, the amateur from Grandville who won in 2013, finished second at 10-under 278 with a closing 68.
Mini-tour player Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc rallied with a 65 and tied at 279 with Chris Mory, the teaching pro from Haslett, who closed with a 72.
Jeff Cuzzort, the 2015 champion who either led or shared the lead the first three rounds, shot 74 in the final round for 280 and fifth place, and Tom Gillis, the former PGA Tour player from Lake Orion, fired a 71 for 281 and sixth place.
Defending champion Jeff Bronkema shot 72 for 285 and a tie for 12th.
Mory said Thompson hit great shot after great shot and earned the win.
“He was great,” he said. “I’m proud of how I played all week. Matt just played better than everybody.”
Thompson, whose last win was 2 ½ years ago on the GPro Tour in North Carolina said a birdie on the par 5 No. 10 hole followed by a birdie on the long par 3 No. 11 hole jump-started his back nine 31.
“Getting up and down on 10 for the birdie from that front bunker was huge,” he said. “Then I birdied 11, hit good shots on 12 and 13 and made pars, then birdied 14 and 15 and just kept going from there. I just concentrated on hitting good shots and figured I would worry about everything else at the end.”
Turned out there was little to worry about.
“I surprised myself,” he said. “I just took the job at Marshall and decided to give up the mini-tours, the travel and the long hours of practice and playing. It’s funny how it works. I got here Monday and about 10 minutes before my tee time I found something with squaring my clubface. I went with it and for the first two days it was okay, and then the last two days I was just dialed in.”
The former high school Mr. Golf in Michigan at Battle Creek Lakeview said this does not give him second thoughts about tour golf. He and his wife Kayla will be house hunting soon.
“No, I’m going to drive a Cadillac in Marshall,” he said. “I have to get back tonight and do scoreboards for the member-guest. It starts tomorrow.”

COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found by clicking HERE

Marshall Pro Matt Thompson, Grosse Ile’s Jeff Cuzzort Share Lead at 100th Michigan Open

HIGHLAND – Matt Thompson just recently dropped the mini-tour life, joined the Michigan PGA apprentice program and took a head professional job at Marshall Country Club, but the Battle Creek native and former University of Michigan golfer can still play with the state’s top golfers.
He is tied for the lead with 2015 champion Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile through three rounds of the 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac.
Despite bogeys on the last two holes at Prestwick Village Golf Club Wednesday, the 27-year-old Thompson shot a 7-under 65 to land at 10-under 206.
Cuzzort, who held the lead after the first round and has shared it the last two days, shot 69 for his 206.
They were up one on Chris Mory of Haslett, who shot 70 for 207.
The 2013 champion, amateur Tom Werkmeister of Grandville, shot 68 to climb into the mix at 210, four shots back. Former PGA Tour player Tom Gillis of Lake Orion shot 72, and was also at 210.
The final field of 78 golfers will play the final round Thursday for a share of the $57,500 purse. The winner also receives a two-year lease on a new Cadillac from sponsoring LaFontaine. Tee times start at 8 a.m. Thursday with the final group of Thompson, Cuzzort and Mory going off at 11:54 a.m.
Thompson, a two-time runner-up in 2009 and 2010 to Ryan Brehm in the Michigan Open, said with the new job he has not had time to play and practice.
“Funny how your game can turn around when you stop playing and practicing; maybe I got rid of my bad habits,” he said. “I didn’t finish the way I wanted, but I hit the ball great today, holed one out from the fairway for eagle and made some great putts, too.”
He was in pursuit of Brehm’s course record of 9-under 63, which the three-time Michigan Open champion and field member in this week’s U.S. Open set when he won in 2014 at Prestwick Village. Thompson made eight birdies and an eagle 2 on No. 12 by holing out a wedge shot from 145 yards. He had three bogeys, and lamented the final two.
“At 17 I hit a shot that looked like it was all over the pin, but it came up short in the bunker and I made bogey, and then 18 I had probably the only bad swing of the day (6-iron from the fairway), almost swung out of my shoes and missed the green to make bogey,” he said.
“I have a chance though. I’m in the last group and have to play well tomorrow no matter what. It is what it is. All I ask for is a chance, and I have that.”
Cuzzort thought he got away with some bad golf in the second round, and said the third round was much better and keyed by consecutive birdies at Nos. 8, 9 and 10. His 5-iron at the par 3 No. 8 hole hit within inches of the hole, hit the flag and stopped inside one foot.
“I played well, hit it good,” he said. “I feel good, too. I liked the way I played today. Not everything has clicked in yet, and I think tomorrow might be that day.”
Chris Mory, the teaching pro from Haslett and Jason Guss Academy at Hawk Hollow Properties, said he played similar to the first two rounds just didn’t take advantage of as many birdie opportunities.
“I feel good about being in it for the last round, and hopefully I make a few more putts,” he said. “You have to play great in the last round. There are so many good players.”

COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found by clicking HERE

Legislators Learn of Golf Industry’s Impact at Golf Day at the Capitol

LANSING – Lt. Governor Brian Calley presented the proclamation declaring June is Pure Michigan Golf Month, and then he told the members of the Michigan Golf Alliance that they are a big deal.

  “What you do is a big deal,” he said at the Michigan Golf Industry Legislative Day on the Capitol Lawn Thursday.

  “The economic impact is massive. What is happening is so special. It is a quality of life enhancement to our communities and is a great illustration of what makes pure Michigan so amazing.”

  Sen. Wayne A. Schmidt, R-Traverse City, said he always enjoys lunch at the turn with the golf industry partners.

  “This is a great event to help the legislators to understand the business side of golf,” he said. “There’s a lot of impact, a lot of people employed, especially in the spring, summer and fall and these are mostly small businesses, independently owned and family-owned.

  “When you talk over $4 billion total economic impact from an industry, wage contributions of almost $1.5 billion, $118 million in charitable impact, 58,000 jobs, it’s clear golf is not just a wonderful, enjoyable sport, but important to Michigan in so many ways.”

   The Michigan Golf Alliance is made up of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, the Michigan Golf Course Superintendents Association, the Michigan Section PGA, the Golf Association of Michigan, the Greater Michigan Club Managers Association, the Michigan Turfgrass Environmental Stewardship Program and the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation.

   Members of the Alliance spread out around the Capitol to visit to each legislator in their Senate and House offices, and legislators and staff members were also treated to a “lunch at the turn” in a large tent on the Capitol Lawn.

   Kate Moore, executive director of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, was thrilled by the response of legislators and the large crowd that joined the alliance members for lunch.

  “The goal of Michigan Golf Day at the Capitol is to educate and enlighten the state legislature about the importance of our industry in the state – the economic impact, the impact on tourism, employment and we don’t think people realize or recognize how big our industry is with $4.2 billion in economic impact, 58,000 employees, being caretakers of the earth, education, exercise, all rolled into one,” she said. “It’s also important for people to realize the collaboration among the golf groups and associations, how strong we are and how important it is that we all work together.”

 

PHOTO CAPTION: Lt. Gov. Brian Calley, center, is holding the June is Pure Michigan Golf Month proclamation, and is joined by, from left, Ron Osborne of the Michigan PGA, Bill Fountain of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association, Doug Johanningsmeier of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation, Mark Ostrander of the Golf Course Superintendents Association, John Allen of the Golf Association of Michigan and Tom Schwark of the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association.

Contact: Kate Moore, Tel. 800-860-8575, Cell Phone: 517-230-8040, Email: kmoore@mgcoa.org

Jeff Cuzzort and Chris Mory Share Lead, PGA Tour Vet Tom Gillis Charges in 100th Michigan Open

HIGHLAND – Jeff Cuzzort said his short game saved him from bad golf. Chris Mory said he played mostly mistake free for the second consecutive day. And Tom Gillis came charging, surprising only himself.
Cuzzort, the 2015 champion from Grosse Ile who shot 70, and Chris Mory, a teaching professional from Haslett who shot 69, shared the lead at 7-under 137 at the halfway point of the 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac Tuesday at Prestwick Village Golf Club.
Just one back is Gillis; the Laker Orion resident who is just one season removed from the PGA Tour, turning age 49 in July and awaiting a shot at the Champions Tour. He shot a 6-under 66 for 138.
“Gilley was hot today, but that was expected,” Cuzzort said. “A tour player of his caliber, you know he is going to do that kind of thing. I think the only reason I was able to stay under par and shoot 70 was working hard to stay ahead of him.”
The field of 156 golfers was cut at 151, and the 79 remaining players play through Thursday in the $57,500 tournament. The winner not only receives first-place money, but a two-year lease on a new Cadillac from sponsoring LaFontaine Cadillac.
Several golfers remain in the mix, including Berkley High School golfer Jake Radom of Royal Oak, a University of Arizona commitment who shot 69 for 140, and mini-tour golfer Joe Juszczyk of Dearborn Heights, who shot a second consecutive 70 for 140.
Defending champion Jeff Bronkema of Wayland shot 70 and is one of three golfers at 141. Also there are two-time Michigan Open runner-up Matt Thompson of Franklin, who shot 70, and mini-tour pro Patrick Colburn of Traverse City, who shot 67.
Tom Werkmeister, the amateur from Grandville who won the Michigan Open in 2013, shot 70 for 142. Also at 142 are Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc (71), Wes Gates of Novi (73) and amateur Francesco Ruffino of Bloomfield (72).
Mory, a former mini-tour player who took a job two years ago teaching with the Jason Guss Academy at Hawk Hollow Properties, said he is very happy with the way he is playing.
“Maybe getting older and having a good perspective from coaching and teaching has helped me play mistake-free,” he said. “It helps to teach one shot at a time, and that is what I’m trying to do out there.”
He said he isn’t really feeling pressure, just enjoying playing.
“Now that I’m teaching it is not my job to play well anymore, but it is fun to do,” he said.
Cuzzort said he spent the day slashing and gashing, and went to the range to work on some things.
“Hey, there’s two more days and if this is my bad day and I still managed to stay up there, then it’s a good day,” he said. “It would have been an easy day to just let the score go, but I fought hard and I’m in a good spot.”
Gillis, who taught a high school golf team this spring, said he has played maybe 10 rounds this year and teed it up this week to support the 100th anniversary of the Michigan Open. He didn’t expect to shoot a 66 and get in the mix for the final two days.
“I putted well for two days and that was encouraging,” he said. “For the last five years on tour that was one of my best stats. When you take time off like I have, you wonder how you are going to putt, but so far so good. I’ve actually had a great short game for as little as I’ve played.”
The two-time Michigan Open champion (1994 and 2008) said he isn’t totally prepared to make a run at the championship.
“But when you have done it for 25-years plus, you get in there and have fun,” he said. “It’s always fun when you get in there and play for it. That is what you play for.”
Some extra excitement was produced in the second round when Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, the 2012 Michigan Open champion, made seven consecutive birdies on the first seven holes of the course in shooting a 68 for 146. In his 2012 win at The Orchards in Washington Township Kelpin tied the all-time tournament scoring record of 23-under first set by Chick Harbert in 1942.
Also, Brandon Barrows of Lake Orion, made a hole-in-one on the par 3 No. 3 hole in shooting a 70 for 146.

 COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found by clicking HERE

Grosse Ile Pro Jeff Cuzzort Sets First-Round Pace in 100th Michigan Open Championship

HIGHLAND – Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile liked that he was paired with former Michigan Open champions like himself in the first round of the historic 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac at Prestwick Village Golf Club Monday.

“I was very comfortable with those guys,” he said of Tom Gillis of Lake Orion and Randy Hutchison of Traverse City after shooting a 5-under 67 to set the first-round pace in the state championship.

“We had a laid back atmosphere, and it was easy to play golf. Hutch and Gilley are quick golfers like me and play relaxed. Gilley pushed me along for a while, and I tried to push him along.”

Cuzzort, the 2015 Michigan Open champion and newly engaged to Ashley Kowalski, had a one-shot lead on Haslett teaching pro Chris Mory, whose 68 put him second alone.

Rich Saferian of Milford, a former junior college national champion who also played at the University of Arizona, and mini-tour pro Wes Gates of Novi checked in next with 69s.

Three golfers shot 70, including amateur Francesco Ruffino of Bloomfield, mini-tour pro Joe Juszczyk of Dearborn Heights and Northwood University golfer Matt Garland.

Defending champion Jeff Bronkema of Wayland was among those who shot 71. Also shooting 71 was mini-tour pro Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, two-time Michigan Open runner-up Matt Thompson of Franklin and four amateurs – Jake Radom of Royal Oak, A.J. Verekois of Rockford and Michigan State, Connor Jones of Rochester and Oakland University, and Alex Scott of Traverse City.

The field of 156 golfers will be cut to the low 70 scorers and ties following Tuesday’s second round. The $57,500 championship continues through Thursday. In addition to a first-place check, the winner receives a two-year lease on a new Cadillac from LaFontaine.

Gillis, on the PGA Tour through last year and a recent inductee into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, was 3-under for a while in his round, but closed with a 72. He won the Michigan Open in 1994 as a young pro and then again in 2008 on a visit home from the PGA Tour. Hutchison, who won in 2011, had a tough day and shot 80.

“I just played solid, did my job,” said the 32-year-old Cuzzort who caddies and teaches golf. “I didn’t really drive it well, but hit a lot of greens and made a few putts. I chipped in on five from over the green. I had a pretty nasty lie there, and would have been lucky to make four from where I was at. It went in. Then I made a nice 25-footer up the hill on No. 9 for birdie. That was a good birdie. That hole was into the wind and had a back pin.”

Mory, who teaches at the Jason Guss Academy at Hawk Hollow Properties, also described his round as solid. The 27-year-old former Michigan State golfer said he hasn’t played much tournament golf this year.

“I didn’t know what I was going to get, but I feel pretty good with the day,” he said. “I played smart the whole day and putted pretty well. I had a couple of good up-and-downs and managed to get around with a good score.”

Cuzzort said his LaFontaine lease from winning two years ago recently ended, but he signed another for a new Cadillac. He said he could handle getting another Cadillac this week.

“Ashley needs some new wheels,” he said.

For complete scores click HERE

Historic 100th Michigan Open Championship, presented by LaFontaine Cadillac, Starts Monday at Prestwick Village Golf Club

HIGHLAND TOWNSHIP – When Jeff Bronkema won the Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac at Prestwick Village Golf Club a year ago, he took home more than a trophy and the first-place check.
The 28-year-old mini-tour golfer from Wayland was given a two-year lease on a black, sleek and stylish Cadillac SRX.
“I love it, and I would love to add another one for two more years,” he said Friday while playing in a large LaFontaine customer appreciation event at Prestwick Village.
Bronkema will lead the field of the historic 100th Michigan Open Championship starting Monday and continuing through Thursday at Prestwick. LaFontaine and Prestwick have teamed up for a fourth consecutive year to sponsor and host the state championship, and Ryan LaFontaine said the company is proud to be part of the Michigan Open heritage.
“We are part of it, Cadillac is part of it, Highland Township is part of it, Prestwick is part of it, and the players tell us this is their favorite tournament,” he said. “Prestwick and my Cadillac staff do such an amazing job.”
On Friday 150 golfers played, including a professional or top amateur from next week’s Michigan Open field being placed in each foursome.
Bronkema said it felt great to turn into Prestwick off M-59 for the first time since winning.
“I have a great feeling here and I love this golf course, so I’m really looking forward to getting back on it,” he said.
He has competed in just a few events since last year’s Web.com Tour qualifying where he reached the second of three stages, but said he has been practicing and is confident he will play well in his title defense.
“I played in a tournament in South America and in a U.S. Open sectional,” he said. “I played decent in South America, but didn’t put it together for four days. That will be the goal here again.”
Bronkema said the win last year means a lot.
“This has been the biggest tournament of my life for a long time,” he said. “When I first started playing in I just wanted to make the cut. I struggled so hard, and I got better every year. It felt really good to finally win it.”
He said his favorite memory is having a four-shot lead standing on the tee at No. 18 during the final round.
“I hit some really good shots and made some really good putts that week, but the thing I remember most is standing on that tee knowing that it was over, and I had it won if I could just get the ball off the tee and then somewhere around the green and finish the hole.”
Bronkema closed with a 2-under 70 for a 12-under 276. He topped 2007 champion Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon and Eric Lilleboe of Okemos by three shots.
He said the key at Prestwick is control of the golf ball.
“The greens are super-fast so you have to control putts and your approach shots, which means you have to hit it in the fairway,” he said. “There are some places here, too, where if you miss the green you have no chance at par. It is a ball-striker’s course.”
Bronkema is one of 13 former champions representing 21 Opens who are in the starting field.
Five-time champion Randy Erskine of Lake Orion (1976, ’78, ’79, ’84, ’85), three-time champion Steve Brady of Oakland Hills Country Club (1991, ’92, ’96), two-time champion Bob Ackerman of Ackerman Golf in West Bloomfield (1975, 2003), two-time champion Tom Gillis of Lake Orion (1994, 2008), 2015 champion Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile, 2013 champion Tom Werkmeister of Grand Rapids, 2012 champion Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, 2011 champion Randy Hutchison of Traverse City, 2007 champion Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon, 1989 champion Barry Redmond of Boyne Resorts, 1987 champion Jack Seltzer of Jack Seltzer Golf Academy and 1986 champion Tim Matthews of Scotts return for the historic Open.
Prestwick will challenge the field with a variety of golf holes, including some links style, traditional parkland and some carved from woodlands. Located just north of Milford in Highland Township on 426 acres of natural, rolling terrain amid a family-focused community, Prestwick was designed by architect Ron Garl.
The Michigan Open was first played in 1916 and won by Leo Diegel, who also played in the inaugural Ryder Cup matches and The Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Many of golf’s most famous have their names listed on the Michigan Open’s James Standish Trophy including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Al Watrous, Horton Smith, Walter Burkemo and John Barnum.
Play starts Monday at 8 a.m. The field will play 72-holes over four days with a cut after 36-holes to the low 70 scorers and ties. The public is welcome free of charge. Follow signs for parking and fan shuttles.
Contact: Justin Phillips, director of tournament operations for the Michigan PGA at jphillips@michiganpga.com or 517-641-7421
Visit www.michiganpgagolf.com for more information
Media contact: Greg Johnson 616-560-8995

Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Inducts Class of Super Six Players

BIG RAPIDS – They could be called the Super Six.

The Michigan Golf Hall of Fame’s newest class was presented Saturday in induction ceremonies at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club, and it featured six decorated and celebrated championship golfers.

PGA Master Professional Bob Ackerman of West Bloomfield, PGA Professional Brian Cairns of Walled Lake, PGA Tour veteran Tom Gillis of Lake Orion, former LPGA Tour player Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor, the late Alex Ross of Detroit who was a U.S. Open winner 110 years ago, and Michigan State University women’s golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll of Haslett tied for the largest class in history with the induction group of 1990. They bring the number of inductees to 119.

“It’s humbling to be in the Hall of Fame,” said Green-Roebuck who joins her father Pete Green, a 1986 inductee, in giving the Hall of Fame its first parent-child members. “It’s hard to find the right words to describe how wonderful it feels.”

Ackerman, 63, owner of Bob Ackerman Golf in West Bloomfield, won his first Michigan Open title in 1975 as an amateur and added a second in 2003 while also winning the Michigan Senior Open that year and being named Michigan PGA Player of the Year.

Cairns, 52 and a teaching professional at Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, was inducted into the Michigan PGA Section’s Hall of Fame last year. His credentials include being a three-time Michigan PGA Professional Champion and being named the national Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year in 2015.

Gillis, 48, played nine seasons on the PGA Tour including 2016 and has been a touring professional since 1993, including stints on the European Tour, the Web.com Tour and has played competitive golf in 26 countries. He plans to play the Champions Tour when he turns 50.

Green-Roebuck, 50, won her third Michigan Women’s Open title last summer at age 49. She played for seven years on the LPGA Tour in the 1990s, and was a four-time winner on what is now the LPGA’s Symetra Tour. As an amateur she won the Michigan Women’s Amateur among other titles.

Ross, who died in 1952 at age 72 is the brother of famed golf course architect Donald Ross, and is credited with having won seven of golf’s major championships because of his 1907 U.S. Open win at the Philadelphia Cricket Club and six North and South Opens at Pinehurst Resort (considered a major in the early 1900s). The native of Dornoch, Scotland, was the head professional for 31 years at Detroit Golf Club.

Slobodnik-Stoll, 45 and a Grand Rapids native is the successful head women’s golf coach at Michigan State University with five Big Ten titles and 10 trips to the NCAA Championships, and as a player is the winningest golfer in Golf Association of Michigan history with 15 titles, including two Michigan Women’s Amateur Championships and an unprecedented eight GAM Mid-Amateur wins.

The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that currently commemorates the likes of Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins. The collection will soon be housed and displayed in the new Professional Golf Management Learning Center planned by Ferris State University at its Katke facility. A $4 million fundraising effort is nearing completion.

The MGHOF is administered by the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame Committee, which is funded through the non-profit Michigan Golf Foundation (501(c) (3) since 1996) and includes 18 members representing a cross-section of the state’s golf associations as well as the golf media. The MGHOF committee conducts an annual election to recognize the achievements of competitive Michigan golfers, but also those of individuals who have contributed to the growth of the game.

  Find out more at http://www.michigan-golf-foundation.com.

  Media contact: Greg Johnson, co-chairman, 616-560-8995, greggie24@hotmail.com

MICHIGAN OPEN, 100 YEARS: Steve Brady, JR Roth, Scott Hebert, Ryan Brehm Represent Fourth 25-Year Span of the Championship

EDITOR’S NOTE: This is the last in a series of four releases regarding 25-year segments of the Michigan Open Championship, which will be played for the 100th time June 12-15 at Prestwick Village Golf Club in Highland. The fourth 25-year span of tournaments were presented from 1992-2017.
BY GREG JOHNSON
The favorites to win the Michigan Open in recent years have usually been the touring professionals who are working to make the dream of playing on the PGA Tour happen, and yet find time to return home to play in the state championship.
Steve Brady, JR Roth, Scott Hebert and Ryan Brehm, a decorated foursome of the most recent 25 Michigan Opens, each chased the dream in some fashion.
Brady tried many times in the old form of PGA Tour Q-School. Roth has made his tour chase largely as a senior golfer with some success, and he made the cut in the recent Senior PGA Championship. Scott Hebert won multiple mini-tour events on the tour golf road and has been dominant at home in the Michigan PGA Section. And Brehm, at age 30, made it happen this year with full status on the PGA Tour and earlier this week qualified for the U.S. Open, too.
In Michigan Open history they are multiple winners, and seemingly always played in the final groups in the final round.
Brady won the state championship three times (1991, ’92 and ’96) and Roth won twice (1998, 2004) often going head-to-head. Hebert is tied with legend Al Watrous with the most wins all-time at six, including a record four consecutive (1997, ’99, 2000, ’01, ’02 and ‘06). Brehm has won three times (2009, ’10, and ’14).
Brady is the only one of the four playing in the 100th Michigan Open next week. Roth lives in New Mexico and doesn’t fulfill the residency requirement. Hebert, the 2002 PGA Professional National Champion, had to choose between the Michigan Open and the national championship for club pros which conflict this year on the golf schedule. Brehm also has a conflict on the schedule – the U.S. Open next week at Erin Hills in Hartford, Wis.
“It’s the 100th Michigan Open, I think I can still play a little bit and it just felt like I should be there,” said Brady, who is the director of golf at Oakland Hills Country Club, in his 20th year there, highly regarded as a teacher of the game and is a member of the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.
A Saginaw native, the 58-year-old Brady started playing in the Michigan Open as an amateur and remembers close calls before winning his first in 1991.
“For a long time I was close, but couldn’t punch it over the goal line,” he said. “When I won in 1991 it was my first year working at Detroit Golf Club and John Traub (head golf professional) allowed me to play some. Then I made it two in a row, and I was ready to make it three.”
He awakened the first day of the 1993 Michigan Open with neck spasms, and surmises today he hit too many practice shots in preparation.
“I was always a grinder,” he said.
He said his third win in the Michigan Open stands out.
“Right behind me was Hebert, Roth and (Tom) Gillis,” he said. “It was never easy to deal with those guys, a tour player like Tom (Gillis) and two other guys who were good enough to be on tour for a long time. It was pretty cool beating them.”
He laughs at the memory of his second win at The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort. It was 1992 and in the final round Brent Veenstra, who would win in 1993, fired a stunning course record 10-under 62.
“I became a trivia answer,” he said. “Who won the Michigan Open the year Veenstra shot 62 at The Bear?”
Brady won in his mini-tour days, but considers the three Michigan Open titles the thing that gave him credibility in Michigan golf.
“Great memories, too, especially of taking the family up to The Bear, and there are so many great golfers who have won it,” he said. “You win a Michigan Open it says something about you. You have to have some guts. You have to really want to do it. You have to grind it out. I’m proud of it.”
Roth, 59 and the head golf professional at San Juan Country Club in Farmington, N.M., these days, said his first Michigan Open in 1998 is the one he remembers with the most favor.
“That was a big one for me because I spent so many years trying to do it,” he said. “I started playing in them when I was a junior in high school. I remember having a two or three-shot lead in ’92 with three holes to go, but made bogey at 17 and 18 at The Bear and then made a bogey on the first playoff hole, too. That stung for a long time.
“It helped in ’98 when I finally won that I was six or seven shots back starting the final round, and I knew I would have to shoot the round of a lifetime to have a chance. I shot 65 and birdied the first playoff hole. I was thrilled, as thrilled to win as I was disappointed to lose in 92. ”
Roth, who is tied with Hebert and Watrous for the most major wins in Michigan PGA Section history at 15, said the Michigan Opens were huge for his career.
“I might not be in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame without those Open wins,” he said. “It says something to beat the guys who play in it and to achieve at something you put so much time and work into.”
Roth, who returns each year to play in the Boyne Tournament of Champions, called the years at The Bear and Grand Traverse Resort (1981-2008 the tournament was played on the resort’s courses, including 24 times on The Bear) the pinnacle of Michigan PGA Section golf.
“It had great sponsorship, great purses, a tough golf course and it was special to be up there with the family,” he said. “We would rent a house with the (1989 Open champion Barry Redmond’s family) at Elk Rapids. It seems like our families grew up together there.”
Hebert, 48 and the head golf professional at Traverse City Golf & Country Club, grew up at The Bear in a way. The native of Escanaba worked at the resort early in his career and then again later in his career before taking his current position. He was considered the horse for that Jack Nicklaus-designed course.
“I love the Bear, no doubt,” he said. “I wasn’t thinking about records or the Hall of Fame or any of that when I was playing and still don’t really. Back in those days I was trying to make some money so I could keep playing (tour golf), and I was never really about counting the victories. It’s the competition. I still play to get in those spots, get myself nervous and try to do well.”
The Michigan PGA Hall of Fame and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member said the Michigan Open wins have helped him at every step of his career.
“They certainly helped me get the jobs I had at Grand Traverse, and here at Traverse City,” he said. “It helps with credibility in instruction. I can work with the young kids, the college golfers and give them a sense of what it is going to feel like when they get in those pressure spots.”
He said he would be in the field this year without the conflict of the PGA Professional National Championship on the schedule.
“I still want that one more,” he said. “So maybe I count in a way now, but it is more because I still think I have a little bit of golf left in me. Plus, 100 years, I really don’t like missing that. That’s a testament to Michigan golf really. The sponsorship through all those years, and the PGA’s involvement in running it; 100 years is a lot of history and quite an accomplishment.”
Brehm, living the dream this year that so many have chased, was still working toward it when he won his most recent Michigan Open. It was 2014, the first of four consecutive at Prestwick Village in Highland, and he talked about what the win meant to him.
“This tournament means so much to me because it is at home, in Michigan and honestly I feel every win gets me one step closer to my goal, which is to play at the highest level,” he said. “It’s not about the money or the car, though those are really great and I will enjoy them. It’s about the satisfaction of accomplishing something, getting the job done.”
The Mount Pleasant native and former Michigan State University standout showed a long game that marked him as a player headed for stardom when he played in the Michigan Open starting in the mid-2000s.
Often the talk about him was about how far he hit it on various holes, but he said he had to become a more complete player beyond sending the golf ball great distances. He said the Michigan Open wins helped him build a complete game.
“I learned to win, and you gain a lot from that,” he said.
While Brady, Roth, Hebert and Brehm stood out in the final 25-year span of the Michigan Open, other notables were champions along the way.
Tom Gillis, who last week was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, won in 1994 and again in 2008 after traveling the world and playing on various tours, including the European Tour and the PGA Tour. He plans to try the Champions Tour when he turns 50 in two years.
Barrett Kelpin, a Kalamazoo mini-tour golfer, shot 23-under in his first pro event to win the 2012 Michigan Open at The Orchards in Washington Township. It tied the all-time tournament scoring record first set by Chick Harbert when he won in 1948 at Tam O’Shanter Country Club.
Tom Werkmeister of Grandville, a Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member, became the first amateur to win since Bob Ackerman in 1975 when he took the 2013 title at The Orchards.
Ackerman, 63, won his second Michigan Open in 2003, 28 championships later as a Master PGA Professional. He was inducted into the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame last week, and he is in the field for the 100th Michigan Open next week.
“Looking forward to it,” he said.

FEATURED: Collage; clockwise from top left Scott Hebert, Steve Brady, JR Roth and Ryan Brehm
MICHIGAN PGA CONTACT: Justin Phillips, director of tournament operations, jphillips@michiganpga.com or 517-641-7421
MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Johnson, greggie24@hotmail.com, 616-560-8995
Visit www.michiganpgagolf.com for more information