Eric Lilleboe of Okemos Wins Michigan Open; Final Round Rained Out

  ACME – Eric Lilleboe of Okemos was declared the winner of the 102nd Michigan Open Championship presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union after the final round was rained out Thursday.

  “I was ready to play today, I wanted to play today just because that is how I’ve always been,” the 31-year-old mini-tour players said. “I want to play golf, and I know on a day like today anything could have happened. In a way, I’m grateful, but I did want to play.”

  Heavy rain through the night and Thursday morning left several holes on The Bear course with standing water issues.

  “Five holes of The Bear were unplayable under the rules of golf so it’s unfortunate we had to cancel the final round,” Justin Phillips, tournament director for the Michigan Section of the PGA said. “Eric clearly played the best through 54 holes and he is our champion.”

 Lilleboe, who had a five-shot lead on the field through three rounds, won the first-place check of $8,000 out of the total purse of $55,000 and said winning the Michigan Open is tops in his golf career.

 “It is special for me,” he said. “It is my home state’s open and I beat a lot of great players. It’s feels different because I didn’t have to face down those final round nerves of coming up 18 and needing to make a putt or anything like that, but it is sinking in that my name is going to be on that (James D. Standish Jr. Trophy) forever with some amazing other names. It is really cool. I’m happy to be champion.”

  Lilleboe shot a 7-under 65 on The Bear Wednesday to make it to 13-under. Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, a PGA Tour Latinoamerica player and the 2012 Michigan Open champion, finished second at 8-under, five shots off the lead.

  “You always want to play four rounds if you can, but it has been a long week and I know the PGA would have played it if it was possible,” Kelpin said. “Some weeks you just can’t get it in. Monday was a long day. I was ready to go do it again today, but Eric played really well this week. He did great, so it is great he is the champion. It’s great for him. I know what he is feeling.”

  Michael Nagy, a mini-tour player from Manistique, and Willie Mack III, a mini-tour player from Grand Blanc, finished in a tie for third at 5-under, and mini-tour player Brett White of Caledonia and the week’s top amateur, Zach Sudinsky of Ypsilanti, an Eastern Michigan University golfer, were next at 4-under.

  Domenic Mancinelli, a mini-tour pro from Northville, finished at 3-under and Francesco Ruffino, a mini-tour player from Bloomfield Hills, was at 2-under. Rounding out the top 10 were 1-under finishers Blaze Hogan, a mini-tour pro from Big Rapids, first-round leader Darren Husse of Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, and Sam Weatherhead, a mini-tour pro from Grand Rapids.

  Lilleboe, who heads for the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic pre-qualifier and a qualifier for the John Deere Classic as well, said he hit his driver well the first two rounds, caught some breaks in the third round and saved some pars with his putter. He also noted that his final shot in the tournament ended up being a 65-foot birdie putt on No. 18 Wednesday that dropped.

  “It was a good way to end it,” he said. “I just didn’t know that was the end. I feel really fortunate and really happy at the same time.”

For final results and payout click HERE

Final Round of Michigan Open Washed Out; Eric Lilleboe of Okemos Declared Champion

The final round of the 102nd Michigan Open Championship presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union has been cancelled and the championship has been declared final at 54 holes. Eric Lilleboe of Okemos is declared the winner.

View the Michigan Open Championship Results here:

Eric Lilleboe of Okemos Charges to Five-Shot Lead in 102nd Michigan Open Championship

  ACME – Eric Lilleboe of Okemos, with the help of a 65-foot birdie putt on No. 18, an eagle-3 on No. 15 and what he deemed good luck, built a five-shot lead Wednesday through three rounds of the $55,000 102nd Michigan Open Championship presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union.

  The 31-year-old mini-tour professional shot a 7-under 65 on The Bear course to land at 13-under 203. Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, 29 and a PGA Tour Latinoamerica player who won the 2012 Michigan Open, was second at 8-under after a second consecutive 68.

  “I was in some pretty bad spots but ended up making a bunker shot on 16 from the middle of nowhere, and at 11 I was so fortunate to find my ball inbounds touching the white line,” Lilleboe said. “I had some really poor swings, especially after it started raining, and I made some quality shots, too. It feels good to put a round together and be in the lead, but it takes luck, too. I made a couple of 30 footers for par. I made eagle at 15. It was that kind of day.”

   Lilleboe and Kelpin will be joined in the final playing group at Noon Thursday by Mike Nagy, a Manistique mini-tour pro who shot 72 and was at 5-under, eight shots off the lead. Ted with him in third place starting the final round will be the second-round leader Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, who shot 74.

   Brett White, a mini-tour player from Caledonia who played at Eastern Michigan University, shot 70 and was next at 4-under with amateur Zach Sudinsky, a current Eastern Michigan player who shot 71 and is low among the amateurs in the field.

  Kelpin held the lead briefly during the round but lamented some missed putts on the back nine as well as a bogey on No. 15 with a plugged shot in a greenside bunker. It was the same hole where Lilleboe in the group behind then made eagle and took the lead.

  “I got a plugged lie in that bunker, but I shouldn’t have put myself in that position with a poor lob wedge,” Kelpin said. “I really was playing well, 4-under through 10 holes, and then I just didn’t make as many good putts coming in as I should have. I hope tomorrow I start out like I did today and put some pressure on Eric. I’m playing well and I’m confident.”

  Kelpin has a low-scoring track record, especially in the Michigan Open. He tied the all-time Michigan Open record of 23-under in his 2012 win at The Orchards in Washington Township (tied with Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Walter Burkemo).

  “It would be nice to give myself a chance to win tomorrow,” he said. “Playing well in Michigan events means a lot to me, and I would like to join the club of multiple winners in the Michigan Open.”

  Lilleboe is in the final group of the Michigan Open for the second consecutive year, and also was in the final group in the 2016 Open. He said it would mean a lot to finish on top this time, and not just because of the $8,000 first-place check.

  “I’ve played in these since I was in college,” he said. “To win would mean everything. I mean, it is the state Open. I was born and raised in Michigan. That makes it mean a lot. I’m going to be ready tomorrow, ready to tee it when it is time to go. I’m not going to call anything, but I’m definitely playing good golf.”

For complete results click HERE

Grand Blanc’s Willie Mack Clubs The Bear, Takes Lead at Michigan Open

  ACME — Willie Mack III of Flint came home from his mini-tour wanderings for the Michigan Open Championship with some new, hot clubs in his golf bag.

  “I’ve won two of the last three events I’ve played so I’ve been playing pretty good,” he said after shooting a 5-under 67 Tuesday to take a one-shot lead at the halfway point of the state championship being played on The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.

  “I put some new clubs (Miura irons from Japan, PING wedges and driver, 3-wood) in the bag a few months ago and I’ve been playing good ever since.”

  The 36-hole cut fell at 8-over 152 and 73 golfers out of the starting field of 156 will move on to Wednesday’s third round in the 102nd Michigan Open presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union. The leaders will tee off in the third round at Noon. The $55,000 championship continues through Thursday.

  Mack had a one-shot lead on mini-tour player Francesco Ruffino of Bloomfield Hills, who shot an 8-under 64 with a 7-under 29 on the back nine to check in at 6-under 138 for two rounds, one shot behind Mack at 7-under for the tournament.

  Ruffino had company at 6-under – first-round leader Darren Husse of Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, who shot 70, and Eric Lilleboe, a mini-tour professional from Okemos who shot 69.

  Andrew Ruthkoski of Muskegon, the 2007 Michigan Open champion, shot 66 to check in at 5-under with Mike Nagy, a mini-tour professional from Manistique who shot 70, and Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, the 2012 Michigan Open champion, was at 4-under after shooting a 68.

  Mack won a mini-tour event in Orlando recently, and on May 20 won the Advocates Pro Golf Association Tournament at Innisbrook in Palm Harbor, Fla. That win netted him $7,000, but also an exemption into a PGA Tour event and a paid entry into Tour Qualifying this winter.

  “I’m hitting it and putting it pretty good and everything kind of came together today,” he said. “I was bogey free until 17, and the greens were smooth and the wind wasn’t bad. Luckily, we had nice weather. We got the right wave of the draw yesterday in the afternoon, and this morning was great, too.”

  Mack, 30, has topped the Advocates Tour and the Florida Pro Golf Tour money lists in his eight years as a professional. He counts 53 wins on various mini-tours around the country, and he made national golf news last winter while on the road in Florida when his car caught on fire. The ultimate goal remains the PGA Tour for the former Michigan Amateur champion, but he would love to catch fire the last two days and add a Michigan Open along the way.

  “I’ve had a couple of good tries in the Michigan Open,” he said. “I think to win both the Amateur and Open would be like icing on a cake.”

   Ruffino, 24, turned professional in 2018 and battled a neck injury. He played in the Metropolitan Open in St. Louis last week and will try to qualify for the PGA Tour’s upcoming Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit Golf Club.

  “I’ve been hitting it really good and just not getting any putts to drop,” he said. “Yesterday I struggled. I hit it out of play six times, so I spent a lot of time on the range and got my numbers dialed in. On the back nine I finally trusted it, and it worked out really well.”

  He started hitting his approach shots close, as in five-feet for birdie on 10, five-feet on 11, two-feet on 12, five-feet on 15, two-feet on 16 and four-feet on 18.

   “It’s my lowest round as a professional and it’s cool to do it in the Michigan Open,” he said. “I feel good about my game, and I’m healthier than I’ve ever been in my life. I had injury problems in the past, but I started working with a trainer and it has helped a lot with doing the right training for golf. I feel great, and I’m excited about it helping me.”

Brain Surgery Survivor Darren Husse Leads Michigan Open Championship

  ACME –  Darren Husse, an assistant golf professional at Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club, had major brain surgery six years ago and has wires running from his brain through his neck to a pacemaker in his chest.

  Little wonder he considers just being able to play golf again a bonus, and it’s a double-bonus that he was the leader through the first round Monday of the 102nd Michigan Open Championship presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union and played on The Bear.

Make it a triple-bonus: He holed out a 111-yard wedge shot on No. 18 for an eagle-2 to shoot 4-under 68 to get his one-shot lead on four golfers – PGA Tour Latinoamerica player Otto Black of Brighton, Okemos mini-tour pro Eric Lilleboe, Manistique mini-tour pro Mike Nagy, and Jacob Losey, a golf professional at Deer Run Golf at Watermark Country Club in Grand Rapids.

  Four more golfers were at 70 including Grand Blanc mini-tour pro Willie Mack III, DeWitt mini-tour pro Alex Jones, Traverse City amateur Thomas Hursey, who just graduated from Suttons Bay High School and Zach Sudinsky, an amateur from Ypsilanti.

  “Leading the Michigan Open, that’s crazy and a bonus even if it took a shot to go in on the last hole for a 2,” he said. “You never expect to hole out, and to do it there on 18 of The Bear. I mean, I hit my best two shots of the day to finish, which leaves a really good taste in my mouth.”

  Husse, 36 and in his third year at Warwick Hills, topped a field of 156 golfers who will play the second round today to determine the 36-hole to the 70 low scorers and ties. He played in the afternoon, which was cool but sunny and nothing like the morning wave of steady cold rain.

  The low score among those in the morning half of the field was an even-par 72 by Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo, another Latinoamerica player and the 2012 Michigan Open champion. All 11 scores under par on the day were in the sunshine of the afternoon, and Kelpin was the only golfer who did not finish over par in the morning.

  Husse said just being able to play golf means it’s a nice day for him.

  “It was a motor function issue,” he said. “My hands would shake really bad, and it got so bad I couldn’t write my name, I couldn’t eat because my hands were shaking, I had trouble even holding on to a golf club because my hands were going all over the place,” he said. “The surgery became about quality of life, not golf. They think it might have been caused by a four-wheeler accident I had after high school (2002) where I had some head trauma, but they don’t know. All I know is now you can see that there are wires running down my neck underneath the skin, and I have a whole different perspective on everything. I used to be pretty fiery, but now, honestly, bad shots don’t bother me. You can’t tell if I’m shooting 68 or 88. I’m just happy to be playing golf again.”

  Kelpin said he was happy when his round was over, and that the Bear he played in the morning was very wet and very difficult.

  “The rain didn’t let up the entire round, there was wind and it was tough to score,” he said. “I feel pretty good about a 72. I had one miscue, a double on 14 when I picked the wrong club, but other than that I scored well for the conditions we had.”

  Black, who played in the same group as Husse, said he felt good about his game and being one shot behind.

  “I played pretty solid,” he said. “I missed a few putts, but nothing bad really. I’m looking forward to the next few days.”

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

LANSING –  State Sen. Ken Horn, R-Frankenmuth, proclaimed “June is Michigan Golf Month” on behalf of Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the state legislature, and former Lt. Governor Brian Calley, who is now the president of the Small Business Association of Michigan, coached Michigan Golf Alliance members on how to approach their legislators and build relationships. 

It was all part of the Legislative Day 2019 Golf on the Capitol Lawn event Thursday in the shadow of the Capitol Building. Members of the Michigan Golf Alliance, a cooperative body of six state golf associations, visited each state legislator in their Senate and House offices and then invited them and their staffs to have “lunch at the turn.”

“Golf is a great sport where you get to be outside to enjoy Michigan,” Horn said before reading the proclamation. “Where I live in Frankenmuth people can come and enjoy a beautiful golf package along with the other great things to do in our community, and it is like that in a lot of our communities around the state.”

Calley told the Alliance members to try and move the message from its fun to go out and play golf to what’s at stake when there is legislation that impacts the golf industry.

“What’s at stake is an industry that is integrated into so many other things that happen and are important in our state,” he said. “Let them know the economic impact in Michigan is $4.2 billion, yes billion with a b. Let them know 60,000 people are employed by Michigan golf courses and that Michigan has the most public course in the nation. Build a relationship and tell them what is at stake. That is what you have built here and you should be really proud of it.”

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

For over a decade golf course owners, operators and superintendents have gathered each spring to voice a cooperative message. The executive directors, presidents and members of the organizations in the Michigan Golf Alliance took part in the visits to offices and then shared conversation and concerns over a lunch.

“The Michigan Golf Alliance created this event to facilitate golf industry representatives introducing themselves and informing the Legislators and their staff on who we are and what our industry brings to the State of Michigan,” Jada Paisley, executive director of the MGCA said. “I can’t overstate the importance of this day in delivering the message to our government leaders.”

PHOTO: Sen. Ken Horn and Tom Schwark of the Michigan Golf Course Association hold a proclamation from Gov. Gretchen Whitmer declaring June is Michigan Golf Month. From left, Bob Bales of the Michigan PGA, Sen. Horn, Schwark, Chris Angott of the Golf Association of Michigan and Doug Johanningsmeier of the Michigan Turfgrass Foundation.

Contact: Jada Paisley at 800-860-8575 or

Amateur Then, Pro Now, Jake Kneen Defends Michigan Open Championship Starting Monday

  ACME – Winning the Michigan Open Championship last year at The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa was validation for then-amateur golfer Jake Kneen of White Lake.

  “It validated for myself that I am good enough to give this professional thing a really good shot,” he said.

  Kneen, now a professional with four professional mini-tour wins to his credit from over the winter in Florida, is one of 13 past champions who will play in the 102nd Michigan Open Championship presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casino/Yamaha Golf Cars Plus/Lake Trust Credit Union next Monday through Thursday, June 10-13.

  The 2019 championship, the 30th visit and second consecutive to the resort for the Michigan Open, is presented by Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos, Yamaha Golf Cars Plus and Lake Trust Credit Union with additional support from Pepsi and Traverse City Tourism.

  Kneen, a 23-year-old former Oakland University golfer, was just the second amateur to win the Open since 1975 last year, and he said he is excited about the 2019 tournament.

  “It’s always a big deal to play in a Michigan Open,” he said. “I have a lot of good memories from there last year, and the Michigan Open has an incredible history. A lot of big names in golf have won it, and I’m going to put my best effort into trying to win it again.”

   Grand Traverse Resort and Spa hosted the Open 28 times between 1981 and 2008, and in the last 25 of those years The Bear course, designed by Jack Nicklaus, helped identify the champion as it helped identify Kneen a year ago.

  “It is a great championship venue, very demanding,” said Kneen who overcame a triple-bogey 7 on the par 4 No. 16 hole in the final round to win. “You can make a big number on any hole if you hit a shot in the wrong spot. You just have to be on with your ball-striking, and if you are not on, then you are going to get penalized. When it comes to a tournament like the Michigan Open, with the history it has, I think The Bear is a great track for the tournament.”

  He said he was teased by a few folks over the winter and asked about what he might hit off No. 16 in this year’s championship.

  “I tell them I will have the same game plan as last year, but I will try not to hit it 70 yards right of the fairway,” he said and laughed.

  Another among the 13 returning champions is Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club, who won his record-tying six Michigan Open titles on The Bear between 1997 and 2006. He is a past head golf professional at the resort and also worked for the golf operation after college. When he won most of his Michigan Open titles, he was playing mini-tour golf like Kneen is doing now.

  Some of the other returning champions also won on The Bear, including Steve Brady, the director of golf at Oakland Hills Country Club, who won his three Michigan Open titles at The Bear (1991, ’92 and ’96).  Jeff Roth of Boyne Golf Academy was the 1998 and 2004 champion at The Bear. Bob Ackerman has two titles, and his second was in 2003 at The Bear. Others back as Bear/Open champions are Tim Matthews of Scotts (1986), Barry Redmond of Crooked Tree Golf Club (1989) and Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon (2007).

  Rounding out the group of 13 former winners in the field are Randy Hutchison of Traverse City (2011), Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo (2012), Tom Werkmeister of Grandville (2013), Jeff Bronkema of Caledonia (2016) and Matt Thompson of Marshall Country Club (2017).

  The elite field also includes Ben Cook of Caledonia and Yankee Springs Golf Course, who recently played in the national PGA Championship, Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, John Seltzer of Seltzer Golf School in Grand Rapids, former PGA Tour player Doug LaBelle of Mount Pleasant, Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, Eric Lilleboe of Okemos, Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids, Chris Mory of East Lansing, Mike Nagy of Manistique and James Holley of Howell, who finished second by two shots a year ago.

  As always, many of the state’s top collegiate and amateur players are in the 156-golfer starting field, including last summer’s Michigan Amateur champion, Beau Breault of Hartland and Eastern Michigan University and Andrew Walker of Battle Creek and Michigan State .

  The field will play 72 holes with a 36-hole cut to the low 70 scorers and ties. The purse will be announced during the tournament.

  The Michigan Open was first played in 1916 and won by Leo Diegel, who also played in the inaugural Ryder Cup matches and the first Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga. Many of golf’s most famous have their names listed on the Michigan Open’s James Standish Jr. Trophy including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Al Watrous, Horton Smith, Walter Burkemo and John Barnum.

  The championship is administered by the Michigan Section of the PGA. Justin Phillips is the tournament director.

Learn more about Grand Traverse Resort at and learn more about the Michigan PGA and the championship at

Media Contacts: Greg Johnson of the PGA, 616-560-8995,, Jillian Manning of Grand Traverse Resort,

Roth / Ketterer win the Adidas State Pro Am at Boyne Highlands !

Harbor Springs, MI –

Congratulations to the team of professional Jeff Roth from the Boyne Golf Academy and his amateur partner Cole Ketterer on winning the 2019 Adidas State Pro Am at Boyne Highlands !

Their round was jump started when Jeff holed out from the woods for eagle on hole #2. This lead to a blistering front nine score of (-7 under ) 29 on The Ross course in this best ball format. They continued their solid play on the back in windy conditions to finish at (-8) under for the day and (-13 under ) 131 total, good enough for a two shot victory !

Finishing just two shots back at a (-11 under ) 133 total were the teams of professional Joe Pollack from Yamaha Golf Cars Plus and his amateur partner Derek Klimek as well as professional Lynn Janson from The Legacy at Hastings and his partner Doug Dingwall.

This is the first victory for the team of Jeff Roth and Cole Ketterer. They are both very familiar with the courses at Boyne with Jeff currrently teaching there and Cole is from Harbor Springs and just finished up his freshman year at Ferris State University. This is the 3rd time that Jeff has won this event.

We would like to thank our host site – Boyne Highlands. The golf course conditions on both the Ross and the Heather received rave reviews all week. Boyne is no stranger to tournament golf and always does a great job hosting our events.

We would also like to thank our sponsor – Adidas. John Jenkins and his team was onsite and set up a adidas mobile pro shop as everyone received $100 to spend as a part of their sponsorship.

For complete results click below :…/mip…/contest/19/leaderboard.htm

Foursome Inducted, GAM Honored by Michigan Golf Hall of Fame

BIG RAPIDS –  The late George Bayer, a former Detroit Golf Club head professional and PGA Tour player, Ron Beurmann, head professional at Country Club of Jackson, Bernie Friedrich, senior vice-president of golf operations and resort sales for Boyne Resorts, and Al Mengert, a former Oakland Hills Country Club head professional, were inducted Sunday to the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame (MGHOF).

In addition, the MGHOF presented just its fourth Special Award in history to the Golf Association of Michigan (GAM), which in 2019 is celebrating its centennial year of service to the game.

The festivities were presented following a ribbon cutting at the new home of the Hall of Fame, which is now housed in the Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Club.

Beurmann, Friedrich and David Graham, the retiring executive director of the GAM, took part in the induction program. Mengert was unable to attend due to a recent health issue, and Bayer was inducted posthumously.

Beurmann, 58, has been the head professional at CC of Jackson for 26 years, and one of the Michigan PGA Section’s top golfers. He won the Michigan PGA Professional Championship in 2010, and the Michigan PGA Match Play Championship in 1998, and has also won a Michigan PGA Senior Championship (2013) and two Michigan Senior Open Championship titles in (2012, ’13).

He called induction day his best day in golf ever and said when first notified of his election by nominating member Randy Erksine he researched the golf greats in the Hall of Fame.

“I couldn’t believe, I still can’t believe I belong with those people, those names,” he said. “I had my family here on the 18th green today, and that meant so much to me, and I’ve been so fortunate to work at a job I love at a great club with great members. And then this happens.”

Friedrich, 66, has worked for Boyne Resorts for 44 years and currently oversees a staff of over 200 employees in agronomy, course and golf shop operations for 12 golf courses, including 10 at three resorts in Michigan and one course each at resorts in Maine and Montana. He is a two-time Michigan PGA Golf Professional of the Year (1998, 2001).

Friedrich said when he got the notification call from nominating member Larry Mancour, he thought his long-time friend was kidding.

“I’ve never been a great player, and the Hall of Fame was something held for great players so I never let my mind drift to being in the Hall of Fame,” he said. “This is obviously, the high point of my life.”

Bayer, who died in 2003 in California at the age of 77, was once one of golf’s longest drivers and won four times on the PGA Tour between 1957 and 1960. He was the head golf professional at Detroit Golf Club for 12 years (1972-1983). Prior to becoming a golf professional at age 29, the 6-foot-5, 230-pound Bayer was an All-American college football tackle and end for the University of Washington and was drafted and played briefly in the NFL.

Mengert, 89 and a resident of Carefree, Ariz., was a club professional who also played on the PGA Tour. He suffered a recent fall and doctors did not want him to travel to the ceremony.

Mengert worked at many notable clubs, including Oakland Hills Country Club as head professional from 1976 to ’86. He won the 1976 and 1980 Michigan PGA Professional Championships, three Michigan Senior PGA Professional titles (1980, ’83, ‘86)  and two Michigan Senior Open titles (’83 and ’85) as well as several other PGA section titles from around the country. He also played in 27 major championships, including eight Masters Tournaments.

The MGHOF is a heralded collection of portraits, plaques and memorabilia that now commemorates 127 members, including Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and more current notables Dave and Mike Hill, Dan Pohl, Meg Mallon and Kelly Robbins.

The new Ken Janke Sr. Golf Learning Center is named for the Hall of Fame founder. His son, Ken, and Ken’s wife, Kim, attended the ribbon cutting.

Learn more at

PHOTO: From left, Ron Beurmann, David Graham of the GAM and Bernie Friedrich.

MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Johnson, chairman MGHOF, 616-560-8995,

Ben Cook Named to U.S. Team Roster for 29th PGA Cup

May 22nd, 2019

By Bob Denney
PGA Historian

The United States will attempt to win back a trophy as it sends six rookies and four veterans to face Great Britain & Ireland in the 29th PGA Cup, to be conducted Sept. 27-29, at the Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. The Americans lost the Llandudno International Trophy on home soil for the first time in 2015 at CordeValle in San Martin, California, and the GB&I team held onto the trophy in 2017 with a victory in England

The 10-member U.S. Team in the biennial international showcase for PGA Professionals was determined through a two-year points system that included the past two PGA Professional Championships and two PGA Championships. The points race ended last week at the conclusion of the PGA Championship.

The final two players – 2016 PGA Professional Champion Rich Berberian Jr. of Hooksett, New Hampshire, and Sean McCarty of Solon, Iowa – clinched berths after final points were tabulated.

They will join the eight who earned a spot April 28 – May 1, at the 52nd PGA Professional Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, South Carolina: reigning PGA Professional Champion Alex Beach of Stamford, Connecticut; Danny Balin of Irvington, New York; Jason Caron of Oyster Bay, New York; Ben Cook of Caledonia, Michigan; Stuart Deane of Arlington, Texas; Ben Kern of Round Rock, Texas; reigning Senior PGA Professional Player of the Year and 2004 PGA Professional Champion Bob Sowards of Dublin, Ohio; and 2018 PGA Professional Champion and reigning PGA Professional Player of the Year Ryan Vermeer of Omaha, Nebraska.

Berberian, Balin, Deane and Sowards are all veterans, having competed in a combined six PGA Cups.

The PGA Cup began in 1973, and although the U.S. Team dominated early, GB&I has made a resurgence. The U.S. is 17-7-4 overall, but hasn’t won the trophy since 2011 at CordeValle.

“I am impressed by the talent on the team,” said PGA Past President and U.S. Captain Derek Sprague of Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida. “We do have six rookies, but they are proven champions in many respects. And, we have those who have won our PGA Professional Championship in Alex (Beach), Rich (Berberian Jr.), Bob (Sowards) and Ryan (Vermeer). Overall, I feel good about this team because of their experience. They will be very competitive this September.”

The Great Britain & Ireland Team is captained by Captain Cameron Clark, who was a player in 2015, and served as a vice captain in 2017 on the way to a 16-10 triumph over the Americans at Foxhills in Ottershaw, Surrey, England.

The 2019 United States PGA Cup Team:

Danny BalinIrvington, N.Y.Fresh Meadow Country Club/Lake Success, N.Y.New England2011 (2-2-0)
Alex BeachStamford, Conn.Westchester Country Club/Rye, N.Y.MetropolitanDebut
Rich Berberian Jr.Hooksett, N.H.Vesper Country Club/Tyngsborough, Mass.Metropolitan2017 (3-2-0)
Jason CaronOyster Bay, N.Y.Mill River Club Oyster/Bay, N.Y.MetropolitanDebut
Ben CookCaledonia, Mich.Yankee Springs Golf Course/Wayland, Mich.MichiganDebut
Stuart DeaneArlington, TexasTexas Star Golf Course/Euless, TexasNorthern Texas2015 (2-2-0)
Ben KernRound Rock, TexasGeorgetown Country Club/Georgetown, TexasSouthern TexasDebut
Sean McCartySolon, IowaBrown Deer Golf Course/Coralville, IowaIowaDebut
Bob SowardsDublin, OhioKinsale Golf & Fitness Club/Powell, OhioSouthern Ohio2005, ’13, ‘15 (7-4-2)
Ryan VermeerOmaha, Neb.Happy Hollow Club/Omaha, Neb.NebraskaDebut