Michigan PGA Member, Monty Elam, Named 2018 PGA of America Deacon Palmer Award Winner

A HUGE congratulations to Michigan Section PGA Member, Monty Elam, PGA, for being named the 2018 PGA of America Deacon Palmer Award Winner!
“What an amazing story of true grit, determination and perseverance. Life gave Monty a raw deal and in his situation, most would give up hope, some would keep doing what they were doing, but only a very select few would do what Monty did. He went out and made himself even more of an asset to his facility. He is a model PGA Professional that we all should learn from,” said Michigan PGA President, Kevin McKinley.
William “Monty” Elam, a 23-year PGA Member in the Michigan PGA Section, is the PGA Director of Golf at Whiteford Valley Golf Club in Ottawa Lake, Michigan.
The Deacon Palmer Award honors a PGA Professional who personally displays outstanding integrity, character and leadership in the effort to overcome a major obstacle in their life.
In 2007, Elam had a routine eye procedure that went terribly wrong and left him completely blind. After six months, a special procedure enabled him to regain limited sight in his left eye, while he remained completely blind in his right eye.
The advice from health professionals was to give up his dream and leave the golf business. However, Elam knew that was NOT an option, as he was ready to tackle the new challenges he faced, while determined to continue his lifelong passion as a PGA Member.
Elam’s ability to adapt to different situations, combined with his knowledge of club operations and impeccable attention to detail, has allowed him to re-assume a leadership role at his club.
Elam is an advocate for individuals with special needs, as his facility hosts several programs annually for golfers with disabilities. And, his work with the Northwest Ohio Sight Center is close to his heart, as he enjoys giving lessons to blind golfers. Elam is an inspiration through his actions and commitment to excellence on a daily basis.
When Monty found out he won the Deacon Palmer Award, he said, “My family was very excited and are very proud. I am very honored and humbled by the award. It means a lot that it is associated with Arnold Palmer and his Dad. I always idolized Mr. Palmer, especially after meeting him in one of my PGA classes in Orlando many years ago. I know it is a tremendous honor to be receive this award, but for me it is just an honor being able to do what I love everyday, despite my disability.”
Monty is one of only 11 PGA Professionals and one PGA Section that will be awarded a PGA of America 2018 National Award. The Deacon Palmer Award will be presented on Nov. 6, as part of the 2018 PGA Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California.
Congratulations, Monty!!!

Dan Pasternak, James Sieckmann Headline 2018 PGA of America National Award Recipients

Pasternak Named PGA Golf Professional of the Year,
Sieckmann PGA Teacher of the Year; Lead Class of 12 Honorees 

Editor’s Note:
For images of the 2018 PGA of America National Award recipients, please click here.

For more information on the individual award winners, click here.

PALM BEACH GARDENS, Fla. (Aug. 1, 2018) – Dan Pasternak, the PGA General Manager at Essex Fells (New Jersey) Country Club, has been named the 65th recipient of the PGA Golf Professional of the Year Award. In winning the highest annual honor given to a PGA Golf Professional, Pasternak heads the 2018 PGA National Awards class for “qualities of leadership, strong moral character, and a substantial record of service” to the PGA and the game of golf overall.

As the first-ever PGA Professional to assume the role of General Manager at the 122-year old Essex Fells Country Club, Pasternak has enjoyed a distinguished 22-year career as a PGA Member. A selfless leader and mentor, Pasternak has guided more than 20 former assistants and colleagues to PGA Head Professional status. This is part of an unrelenting passion to ensure his fellow colleagues and young professionals are equipped with the tools needed to advance in their careers.

Pasternak, the first New Jersey PGA Section Member named PGA Golf Professional of the Year, has served as a New Jersey PGA Section Officer and on virtually every committee in the Section, as well as at the national level on the PGA of America’s Board of Directors. This commitment to volunteerism and service is reinforced by his current role as President of the New Jersey Golf Foundation, which he helped launch in 2004, as the charitable arm of the NJPGA. Additionally, recognizing the importance of continued education, he recently earned certification in General Management through the PGA Certified Professional Program.

The 2013 Bill Strausbaugh Award recipient on the national level, Pasternak also received the award from the New Jersey PGA Section on four occasions (2007, ’08, ’09, ’11). Among his many awards, he is also a two-time recipient of the NJPGA Golf Professional of the Year (2007, ’11).

James Sieckmann, a 23-year PGA Member in the Nebraska Section and the PGA Director of Instruction at The Golf Academy at Shadow Ridge Country Club in Omaha, is the recipient of the 2018 PGA Teacher of the Year Award for his “outstanding services as a golf teacher, innovator and coach.”

Recognized by GOLF Magazine as a “Top 100 Teacher in America,” Sieckmann currently instructs 16 PGA Tour, LPGA Tour and Web.com Tour players, including Stewart Cink, Ben Crane, Anirban Lahiri, Cameron Tringale, Ben Marten, Tom Pernice Jr., Duffy Waldorf and 2017 Ricoh Women’s British Open Champion In-Kyung Kim, among others. He has also been named to Golf Digest’s “50 Best Teachers in America” list from 2015-2018.

Sieckmann is highly regarded as a mentor, educator and role model for fellow PGA Members. His recognition as 2018 PGA Teacher of the Year follows a long list of awards and accolades, including nine times as the Nebraska PGA Section’s Teacher of the Year (1996, 2000, ’01, ’02, ’04, ’09, ’14, ’15, ’16). He was also named the Nebraska Section Horton Smith Award Winner in 2000, and was inducted into the Nebraska Golf Association’s Nebraska Golf Hall of Fame in 2016.

“The PGA of America National Awards winners represent the best of the best among our nearly 29,000 PGA Professionals,” said PGA President Paul Levy. “Their expertise and acumen for both the game and business of golf is so highly respected throughout the industry. Through their best practices and innovations in teaching, coaching, management, merchandising, growth-of-the-game initiatives, community and veterans outreach, and much more, they have earned the admiration of their peers. Congratulations to this outstanding class of PGA Members who serve as consummate PGA Professionals.”

Pasternak and Sieckmann lead a group of 11 PGA Professionals and one PGA Section in winning the PGA of America’s 2018 National Awards. The majority of the awards will be presented on Nov. 6, as part of the 2018 PGA Annual Meeting in Indian Wells, California. The three PGA Merchandiser of the Year Awards will be presented during the 2019 PGA Magazine Merchandiser of the Year Conference prior to the PGA Merchandise Show in Orlando next January.

Recipients of the 2018 PGA of America National Awards include:

  • PGA Golf Professional of the Year:
    Dan Pasternak, PGA, Essex Fells (New Jersey) Country Club
  • PGA Teacher of the Year:
    James Sieckmann, PGA, The Golf Academy at Shadow Ridge C.C.-Omaha, Nebraska

  • PGA Youth Player Development Award:
    Cameron Milton, PGA, Polson (Montana) Bay G.C.

  • Bill Strausbaugh Award:
    Cameron Doan, PGA, Preston Trail G.C.- Dallas

  • Horton Smith Award:
    Joseph Hallett, PGA, Vanderbilt Legends G.C.-Franklin, Tennessee

  • PGA Player Development Award:
    Marvol Barnard, PGA/LPGA, Haven G.C.- Green Valley, Arizona

  • Patriot Award:
    Ken Juhn, PGA, Terrace Hill Golf Center- Temple Terrace, Florida

  • Deacon Palmer Award:
    Monty Elam, PGA, Whiteford Valley G.C.- Ottawa Lake, Michigan

  • Herb Graffis Award:
    Colorado PGA Section

  • PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Private Facilities:
    Nick Muller, PGA, C.C. of Lincoln (Nebraska)

  • PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Public Facilities:
    Mark Rashell, PGA, The G.C. at Newcastle (Washington)

  • PGA Merchandiser of the Year-Resort Facilities:
    Erik Wilson,PGA, Fairmont Grand G.C.- San Diego

    For bios and information on the individual award winners, click here.

    About the PGA of America
    The PGA of America is one of the world’s largest sports organizations, composed of PGA Professionals who daily work to grow interest and participation in the game of golf. For more information about the PGA of America, visit PGA.org, follow @PGA on Twitter and find us on Facebook.

    Media Contact:
    Michael Abramowitz    PGA of America        561/624-8458 mabramowitz@pgahq.com

Eric Lilleboe of Okemos Leads Heading to Final Round at Tournament of Champions


  BOYNE FALLS – Eric Lilleboe said he was a little hot after catching a bad break and making bogey on No. 12, and then missing what he termed a pretty easy putt for birdie on No. 13 of the Monument course at Boyne Mountain Resort Tuesday.

  An eagle-3 on the par 5 No. 14 hole putt made the mini-tour professional from Okemos feel better though, and it powered a 6-under 66 to give him a one-shot lead on Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids heading into Wednesday’s final round of the 27th Tournament of Champions.

  “I hit a good wedge shot on 12 and it ended up spinning off the green and I made a bogey, which hurt because I was right next to the hole at one point,” said Lilleboe, a former Ferris State University golfer who topped the leaderboard at 12-under 132.

  “I ended up making eagle on 14 though. I hit a 5-wood in there to about 15 feet and made it. That was really big for me. I really thought I caught a bad break at 12. The eagle turned my round around.”

  Weatherhead, a former Michigan State University golfer with playing status on the Mackenzie Tour-PGA Tour Canada, also shot 66 to land at 133.

  The third-place golfer, mini-tour player Randy Hutchison of Traverse City, another former Spartan, finished four shots behind Weatherhead after also shooting a 66.

  First-round leader Chris Mory, another former Michigan State golfer and currently a teacher at the Jason Guss Academy in the Lansing area, shot 73 for 138 to stand fourth.

  Defending champion and mini-tour player Mike Nagy of Manistique, who shot 69, Meadowbrook Country Club pro Travis Dodson, who shot 70, and this summer’s Michigan Open champion, amateur Jake Kneen of White Lake, who shot 71, were each at 139.

  The 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties fell at 7-over 151, and 61 golfers will play the final round on the Alpine course to determine a winner.

  The $55,000 unique championship launched 27 years ago with juniors, seniors, professionals and amateurs of both sexes all playing for one title from different tee positions. All the golfers invited have won selected significant Michigan golf championships, both amateur and professional.

  Lilleboe, 30, feels he is ready to win another significant Michigan title.

  “It seems like I’m ready, I feel like I’m ready,” he said. “I’m right where I want to be – in position to have a chance to win.”

   Lilleboe, who used to work at Boyne Mountain Resort for the golf operation, has played the Monument several times.

  “I’ve played the Monument enough to know where you have to land the ball,” he said. “I hit my driver better today, and I picked my landing spots pretty well.”

  In contrast, the 23-year-old Weatherhead played the Monument on Tuesday for the first time.

“Never seen it before,” he said.  “That was the thing I was proud of today. I’ve never played this course so to be able to play smart and do the right thing every time, play conservative when I saw there was trouble ahead, worked for me. I think I’m just getting a little bit smarter at the game. I’ve been around the block one more time now.”

For Complete Scores Click HERE

Haslett’s Chris Mory Leads Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort

  BOYNE FALLS – Haslett PGA teaching professional Chris Mory figures in an odd way he has become a better golfer by just knowing more and playing less.

  “I’m teaching a lot now, but I try to do what I can do to get my game in shape,” he said after shooting a 7-under 65 on the Alpine course to lead through one round of the 27th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort.

  “I hit some close wedges, hit some close irons shots and even made birdie out of a fairway bunker (No. 4),” he said. “Today I just tried to aim to spots where I knew my ball would kind of funnel closer to the hole, and I played a little more conservative and I made a few putts.”

  Mory, 28 and a teacher with the Jason Guss Academy at the Hawk Hollow Properties in the Lansing area, had plenty of close pursuers, mostly from the morning wave that enjoyed perfect warm and windless weather conditions.

   Eric Lilleboe, a 30-year-old mini-tour golfer from Okemos, shot 66, and PGA Tour Champions player Tom Werkmeister of Grandville shot 67 with a 6-under 30 on the back nine, while Sam Weatherhead, a mini-tour player from Grand Rapids shot 67 in the afternoon with three consecutive birdies and an eagle-2 on No. 9 holing out from the fairway on the front nine.

  Recent Michigan Open champion Jake Kneen of White Lake shot 68, and was the low amateur in the first round.

  Scott Hebert, the head golf professional at Traverse City Golf & Country Club, the 2009 winner here, shot 69, as did Travis Dodson of Garden City and Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville. Defending champion Mike Nagy of Manistique opened with a 70.

   The Tournament of Champions field of 113 golfers, which includes 16 golfers already in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, launched 27 years ago with juniors, seniors, professionals and amateurs of both sexes all playing for one title from different tee positions. All who are invited have won selected significant Michigan golf championships, both amateur and professional.

   The field switches to the Monument course for Tuesday’s second round. A cut will be made following to the low 60 scorers and ties for Wednesday’s final round on the Alpine in the 54-hole $55,000 championship.

  Lilleboe, who is headed back to the Dakotas Tour in a few weeks and planning a trip to Web.com qualifying school in the fall, said he made a bogey and had a three-putt par after reaching the par 5 18th green in two shots.

  “But I made up for it on some of the other holes and really played a solid round of golf,” he said. “Once I started hitting fairways on the back nine I started putting my wedges inside of 15 feet and rolling them in. Those were solid shots.”

  Lilleboe called the unique tournament great.

  “It’s competitive and at the same time you get to feel like you are on vacation up here,” he said. “You know you have to play well out here to win. There are so many good players of all ages. It’s just a great event.”

   In addition to Kneen as low amateur and Werkmeister as low senior professional, the first-round leaders in the other competitor categories included Mike Ignasiak of Saline and Mike Raymond of Jackson at 74 as low senior amateurs, low female professional Laura Kueny of Whitehall at 74, low female amateur Cortney Reno of Grosse Ile at 77 and low super senior Randy Erskine at 71.

For complete scores click HERE

Stellar Field in Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain

  BOYNE FALLS – A field of 118 champion golfers, including 16 who are already members of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, will start play Monday in the 27th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort.

  “It’s another strong field with great champions, professional and amateur, college players, mini-tour professionals and several of our top Michigan PGA Section players and Hall of Fame members,” said Justin Phillips, the tournament director for the Michigan PGA Section, which sanctions and administers the unique championship.

  “It is the 27th year, but it remains one of the most unique tournaments in the country.”

The Tournament of Champions launched 27 years ago with juniors, seniors, professionals and amateurs of both sexes all playing for one title from different tee positions. All who are invited have won selected significant Michigan golf championships, both amateur and professional.

  The 16 Michigan Golf Hall of Famers in the field include Bob Ackerman, Ken Allard, Steve Brady, Brian Cairns, Randy Erskine, Tom Harding, Scott Hebert, Lynn Janson, Dave Kendall, Larry Mancour, Jeff Roth, Jack Seltzer, John Traub, Tom Werkmeister, Buddy Whitten and Bill Zylstra.

They will join champions from all the categories and even members of the same families in the three-day, 54-hole stroke play championship on two courses. The Monday round and Wednesday’s final round are on the classic Alpine course, and Tuesdays round is on The Monument course. A 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties follows the second round. This year’s purse is $55,000.

  Michael Nagy, a mini-tour golfer from Manistique, returns to defend his title and heads the list of eight former Tournament of Champions winners in the field.

A year ago the former University of Tennessee golfer finished with a 6-under 66 for a 15-under 201 total and one-shot win. He took home the $8,000 first-place check and annual gifts of the symbolic green jacket and lifetime membership at the Country Club of Boyne in Harbor Springs.

  The past TOC winners joining Nagy in the field are 2016 winner Korey Mahoney, 2015 TOC winner Barrett Kelpin, two-time champion Andy Ruthkoski (2013, ’14), five-time champion Jeff Roth (2012, 2008, 1999, ’96 and ’95), 2011 winner Lee Houtteman, 2009 winner Scott Hebert and 1997 winner Tom Harding. Those winners account for 13 of the 26 TOCs.

The only woman to win the TOC, Stacy Snider (2003), is not entered. The group of women entered this year is headed by former LPGA player and Michigan State star Laura Kueny.

  In addition to a celebration of champions, the tournament is a family affair of champions. Family combinations entered include brothers Andrew and Travis Dodson, father-son Jack and John Seltzer, father-son Frank and Frank IV McAuliffe and father-son Bill and Chris Mory.

Boyne Mountain Resort has been a favorite Midwest destination since 1948. The family-owned, four-season resort has earned Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor, and has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler readers as being among the top 50 Best Places to Ski and Stay in North America. The waterpark is listed among Budget Travel’s Top 10 Indoor facilities and the resort is a readers’ choice favorite of Spa Magazine. Boyne Mountain is home to The Alpine and The Monument golf courses, as well as 60 runs on 415 skiable acres. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, Solace Spa, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Zipline Adventures, disc golf facilities, lift-serviced mountain biking, beach activities, kids programs, lodging, meeting and wedding facilities as well as real-estate are offered at the
resort.  Find out more at BOYNEGolf.com, boynemountain.com or call 866-759-1472.

Connect with media coordinator Greg Johnson at 616-560-8995 or greggie24@hotmail.com. For Boyne Mountain Resort information, contact Ken Griffin at kgriffin@boyne.com or 231-439-4943. Justin Phillips is the tournament director for the Michigan PGA. He can be reached at 517-641-7421 or JPhillips@michiganpga.com.

SCORING: Live scoring and tee times can be found by clicking HERE

NOTE: Gallery is welcome. Parking and admission are free.

Goulding / Breault win the Midwest Golf & Turf Pro Am presented by PXG /GOLFNOW in Three Team Playoff !

Frankenmuth, MI – If you ask any Michigander what they think of when they hear the names Frankenmuth and Zehnder’s, the two responses you are most likely to receive are Christmas and chicken! This was only part of the story yesterday morning when 46 PGA professionals and their amateurs gathered at The Fortress which played host to the Midwest Golf & Turf Pro Am presented by GolfNow and PXG. The event began with a ten o’clock shotgun with the 92 players spread out all over the golf course in order to compete for a purse of $12,100. This pro- am best ball event had a unique format in which the teams were entered into both a gross and net divisions. This added a little wrinkle in which an amateur receiving a few strokes for their handicap can help their professional immensely by recording a number of low scores on the courses toughest holes. This resulted in a high level of play from both the professionals and their amateurs all looking to lift their trophies at the end of the afternoon.

At the conclusion of play it was 3 teams tied  at (-9) 63 including Brent Goulding from Prestwick Village Golf Club and his amateur partner and 2018 Michigan Amateur winner Beau Breault, Joe Portfilio from Carl’s Golfland alongside amateur Ryan Johnson as well as Jim Deiters from Midland Country Club and his son Austin Deiters. This stalemate called for a three team playoff and with the trio of teams leading both the gross and the net divisions despite the fact that all three amateurs had a handicap of 0. In this format the top team in the sudden-death playoff would be awarded the gross title, while the runners up would receive the net title. The rest of the positions were decided by each teams higher of the two rankings in each division.

The playoff did not disappoint when all three teams made par on the first hole to push the match to a second hole. On the second playoff hole the team of Goulding /Breault made a birdie to take home the gross title. Once they had won, the teams of Portfilio/Johnson and Deiters/Deiters would play on to be crowned with the low net honors. They continued to play on until Portfilio/Johnson sank a birdie on the fourth playoff hole to edge the father-son duo. It was a very thrilling playoff that capped off a phenomenal event.

Brent and Beau both attended and played golf at Eastern Michigan University ,Beau still has one more year remaining. This is Brent’s second time winning this event as he won in 2015 with Chris Cunningham.

We would like to thank all of the participants for playing in the event and providing an exciting day of golf. The venue was spectacular and the golf course was in excellent condition with many players commenting on the quality of the greens and how well-kept the course was despite the lack of rain in the previous weeks. This is all thanks to Head Professional, Kyle Martin and Superintendent, Scott Sabgash along with their crews for all of their hard-work.  We would also like to thank our great sponsors: Midwest Golf & Turf, GolfNow, and PXG for their continued support and affording us the ability to put on this event. In the end, the golfers were still able to enjoy a nice chicken lunch graciously provided by the famous Zehnder’s alongside one of the top courses in Michigan. All of this took place just a block away from the heart of Frankenmuth encompassing everything necessary for a day to be considered as Pure Michigan golf.

Jeff Roth wins the 2018 Club Car Senior Open

   BATTLE CREEK –Congratulations to our 2018 Club Car Senior Open Champion Jeff Roth from Boyne Highlands. Jeff backed up his opening round of  68 on Tuesday with another 68 on Wednesday. This put him at (-8) for the tournament, good for a 3 shot victory over Brian Cairns from the Fox Hills Learning Center, Tom Werkmeister from Grandville and Randy Lewis (a) from Alma, all at (-5).

With 14 players within 4 shots of the lead heading into the final round on Wednesday we knew it would be a shootout. Tom jumped out to the early lead with birdies on the first two holes and a (-2 ) under par front nine. After birdies at #11 and #13 Tom held a 2 shot advantage with 5 holes to play. That is when Jeff made his charge with birdies at #14, #15 and #16 as Tom bogeyed both #16 and #18.  With two nice closing pars Jeff secured his first Club Car Senior Open title.

In the Super Senior Division it was amateur Michael Sequite from Marshall winning by one shot over Mike Fedewa (a) from Canton. Sequite finished at 144 ,even par for the tournament.

We would like to thank our host site Bedford Valley Golf Club along with our sponsor US Golf Cars for making this such a great event.

For final results click HERE

A field of 118 decorated golfers, including PGA Professionals, top amateurs, twelve Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members and fifteen past champions, participated in the  2018 Club Car Senior Open here at Bedford Valley Golf Club.

  12 Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members were in the  field including PGA Professionals Bob Ackerman of West Bloomfield and  Bob Ackerman Golf, Brian Cairns from the Fox Hills Learning Center, Randy Erskine of Lake Orion, Lynn Janson of Hastings Country Club, Jack Seltzer of Linden and the Jack Seltzer Golf Academy, Dave Kendall of Saline and the Kendall Golf Academy, Jeff Roth of Boyne Highlands and amateurs Steve Maddalena of Jackson, Randy Lewis of Alma, Greg Davies of West Bloomfield and Bill Zylstra of Dearborn Heights. Topping out the field of Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members is Tom Werkmeister from Grandville, who will compete in his first Senior Open after turning 50 in March.

  Jeff joins the list of past champs with Kendall and Ron Beurmann of Country Club of Jackson, who are former two-time champions. Janson, Cairns and  Erskine also have Senior Open titles on their rich resumes. The other past champions in the field are Steve Wells of Dowagiac and Hampshire CC, Denis Husse of Fenton and Tyrone Hills, Bob Ackerman of West Bloomfield and Bob Ackerman Golf Academy, Jim Deiters of Midland Country Club Ron English of Charlotte, Larry Clark of Traverse City, Ian Harris of Bloomfield, Chuck Pohl of Lansing , Pete Doerr of Coldwater and Frank McAuliffe from Meadowbrook Country Club.

The field played 36 holes of stroke play for a purse of $15,700. This was the 37th edition of the state championship for seniors (age 50-and-over), and includes a 65-and-over super senior division.

   Bedford Valley Golf Club is part of the Gull Lake View collection of six courses near Battle Creek and Kalamazoo including the new Stoatin Brae course. Bedford Valley was a 2008-2009 Best Places to Play selection by Golf Digest and in 2010 was named the Michigan Golf Course of the Year by the Michigan Golf Course Owners Association.

   It was designed in 1965 by William Mitchell and purchased by the Scott Family of Gull Lake View in 1988. The classic parkland design is known locally as “The Big Course” and features big greens, bunkers and fairways lined with large oak trees.

  Bedford Valley has hosted several of the state’s top tournaments including the Michigan Open, multiple Michigan Senior Opens, the Michigan Maxfli PGA Junior, the Michigan Publinx State Match Play and the NCAA Division III National Championship.

  Click HERE for more info and scores as the players finish

  The tournament director is Justin Phillips of the Michigan PGA Section office. He can be reached at jphillips@michiganpga.com or 517-641-7421.

Michigan Junior PGA Championship

Michigan PGA Junior Championship

This week was exciting for Junior Golf! The Michigan PGA Junior Championship hosted at Bedford Valley Golf Club gives juniors all over the state of Michigan a chance to compete for two spots in the National Junior PGA Championship. The Girls National Championship will be contested at Kearney Hill Golf Links I on July 9th-12th.  The Boys National Championship will be contested at Valhalla on July 31st -August 3rd.

This event brings in the top golfers from all over the state of Michigan. The divisions consisted of Boys 12 & Under, Boys-13-15, Boys 16-18, Girls 12 & Under; Girls 13-15, Girls 16-18 The 12 & Under division played 18 holes while the other divisions battled it out for 36 holes for two spots per gender. The Overall Champion (13-18) would be crowned after 36 holes and moving on to the Junior PGA Championship.

 After day one we had some amazing scores from the overall boys division (13-18) the competitors Bradley Smithson (17) had a strong start to take lead at 68 (-4). Not far from the lead we had Patrick Deardorff (17) and Nick Krueger (17) tied for second place with a 69 (-3). There were 13 players under par after day one.

In the girls Overall division (13-18) we had Lilia Henkel (15) go low with a 71 (-1) and not far from the lead Shannon Kennedy (15) card a 73 (+1) which would put her in second place.  

Anika Dy(16), who qualified for the National Junior PGA Championship in 2017, carded a 74 (+2) on day one which left her in contention for qualifying again. Anika battled her way to victory by shooting  75(+3) for a two day total of 149 (+5) to be crowned this year’s Michigan Girls Junior PGA Champion. Day two posed an interesting challenge for Shannon Kennedy, during the night the Kennedy’s car was stolen from their hotel, the car contained many valuables including Shannon’s clubs. Luckily Shannon’s tee time wasn’t until later in the afternoon which gave her enough time to piece together a set of clubs. Shannon’s mom ended up being able to find clubs Shannon was decently familiar with and drive them down to Battle Creek. Shannon, was a little shaken by the experience, but wouldn’t let it distract her form her goal, qualifying for the National Junior PGA Championship. Shannon fought her way around the course, with new clubs,  on day 2 to card a 77 (+5) which would put her in second place overall. Shannon undoubtedly faced the most adversity on day two, and fought to keep her spot in second place, and qualify to play in the National Junior PGA Championship later this month.   

Our Overall Boys victor rose with a two day total of 139 (-5) Bradley Smithson, who was just coming off of an incredible win at our Adidas State Pro-Am with his father, PGA Professional Gary Smithson. Bradley Smithson was able to hang onto his lead after day one to be crowned the Michigan Boys Junior PGA Champion. Charlie DeLong (17) shot a consistent 70, 70 for a two day total of 140 (-4) which put him in second place overall, and earned him a qualifying stop at the National Junior PGA Championship.   

The boys & girls 12& under divisions play 18 holes on day one and are not competing for a spot in the National Championship. The Michigan Boys 12 & under champion Eric Shen showed a great day of golf, winning the division by one stroke and carding an 81 (+9) over his competitor Vibhav Alokam who shot an 82 (+10) The girls 12& under Champion, Mia Melendez shot 84 (+12) and lead the competition by 6 strokes over Amiya Gibson who shot 90 (+18).   

The Division winners consisted of:

Boys Overall: Bradley Smithson – 139 (-5)

Runner Up: Charlie DeLong-140 (-4)

Click here for the Michigan Boys Junior PGA Championship results

Boys 12 & Under

  1. Eric Shen – 81 (+9)
  2. Vibhav Alokam 82 (+10)

Boys 13-15

  1. Tyler Gillespie – 151 (+7)
  2. Evan McDermott-152 (+8)

Boys 16-18

  1. Bradley Smithson – 139 (-5)
  2. Runner Up: Charlie DeLong -140 (-4)


Girls Overall: Anika Dy- 149 (+5)

Runner Up: Shannon Kennedy-150 (+6)

Click here for the Michigan Girls Junior PGA Championship results

Girls 12 & Under

  1. Mia Melendez- 84 (+12)
  2. Amiyah Gibson – 90 (+18)

Girls 13-15

  1. Shannon Kennedy- 150 (+6)
  2. Ariel Chang- 151 (+7)

Girls 16-18

  1. Anika Dy – 149 (+5)
  2. Danielle Staskowski – 159 (+15)




DeWitt’s Liz Nagel Comes From Behind to Win the Michigan Women’s Open Championship

  THOMPSONVILLE – Liz Nagel of DeWitt has been coming to Crystal Mountain Resort for several years, first as a youngster watching and then for the last 10 years playing and often seeing fellow former Michigan State Spartans win.

   The 26-year-old fourth-year professional and former Spartan dramatically joined the club Wednesday by shooting a 4-under 68 and coming from five shots behind to win by three in the 25th Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship on the Mountain Ridge course.

  “This means everything to me,” she said after accepting the $6,000 winner’s check and Crystal trophy. “This is my first professional win and to get it here means everything. It’s the perfect place to get that first pro win, and hopefully more will come after it.”

  Nagel’s closing 68 gave her a 9-under 207. She started the day at 5-under and six off the lead of Lexi Harkins of Crystal Lake, Ill.

  Harkins, a recent University of Wisconsin graduate, shot 77 to close and ended up in a three-way tie at 6-under 209 for second place with recent Michigan State graduate Sarah Burnham of Maple Grove, Minn., and Honolulu’s Marissa Chow, who each shot 72. It was Chow’s second consecutive year finishing second.

  Hannah Wood of Highlands Ranch, Colo., shot 70 for 212 and fifth place, and Scotland’s Rachael Taylor, who now lives in Cary, N.C., shot 72 for 213. The low amateur in the tournament was current Michigan State player Yurika Tanida of Japan, who shot 73 for 218 and a tie for 17th.

  Nagel, who has been on the LPGA as well as Symetra tours, is not a scoreboard watcher, and she was busy filling out a tax form to receive her check from the tournament in the scoring tent when the final group was on 18. She is due in the Cincinnati area for a Symetra Tour pro-am round at 8 a.m. Thursday, and she was preparing to depart before she was told she might be in a playoff.

  “Then I was shocked when all of a sudden everybody is telling me I won,” she said. “I couldn’t help but cry and I’m not a crier. I’m just really happy about this. I’m bummed my parents were not here, but I already talked to my dad and it means a lot to me. It’s just wonderful. It means the world to me.”

   Nagel said she did not look at the scoreboard at 17. She just knew she had some birdies coming in and she was trying to post as low a score as possible. She played the first six holes of the day 2-over, but made six birdies over the final 11 holes and three birdies in the last four holes including birdies on Nos. 17 and 18.

  “It was done with my putting,” she said and credited her caddie and boyfriend, Paul Zanardo, with helping her read the greens.

  “The greens were in the best shape I’ve ever seen them. It was tough out there. I focused on myself and finished birdie-birdie. I knew if I had a chance it was going to take a few more coming down the back nine. I still can’t believe I won by three. Getting up and down from the bunker at 18 for birdie is hard any time, but if I would have been thinking about winning or myself, it would have been 20 times harder. Turns out, it was one of the best up and downs of my life.”

  Burnham, one of the trio in second, said there was tension in the final threesome of her, Harkins and Chow through the day.

  “Honestly, I didn’t have my game today really, and I left a lot of putts out there and missed some greens,” she said. “It was a struggle. It was stressful for all three of us all the way around.”

  Michigan State golf coach Stacy Slobodnik-Stoll played in the tournament and tied for 42nd. She coached Nagel, and the champion said it meant a lot that her coach was there to see her win.

  “It’s great to see coach tear up,” she said, “especially after everything she had done for me. It means so much that all these Spartans are here. I’ve been inspired by Spartans coming here and I hope I inspired some of the younger ones today.”

For complete scores click HERE

CRYSTAL CLEAR: Crystal Lake (Ill.) Golfer Leads Michigan Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain

  THOMPSONVILLE – Lexi Harkins of Crystal Lake, Ill., playing in just her second professional tournament, is clear of the field by five shots heading into the final round of the 25th Michigan Women’s Open Championship at Crystal Mountain Resort.

   The 22-year-old recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin shot a 7-under 65 on the Mountain Ridge course Tuesday to check in at 11-under 133 through two rounds of the 54-hole championship.

  “I’m really happy about it, and excited,” she said. “I mean, this is what we always dream of doing. I didn’t necessarily see this coming, but I played well yesterday and I felt good today so I just kept it going.”

  Recent Michigan State graduate Sarah Burnham, likewise a new professional and winner of the recent Connecticut Women’s Open, shot a second consecutive 69 for 6-under and a tie for second with 70-shooting Marissa Chow, a Symetra Tour player from Honolulu who finished second here a year ago.

   Liz Nagel of DeWitt, a Symetra Tour player who led after the first round, shot 72 for 139, six shots back, and was the low player from the state of Michigan in fourth place.

  “I just didn’t put well,” she said. “The greens were faster than the first round when I was comfortable, and I never got the speed right today.”

  Laura Kueny, the 2011 champion from Whitehall, also shot 72 and was at 140, seven shots off the lead.

  The 36-hole cut fell at 13-over 157 and 71 players moved on to the final round in the $40,000, 54-hole championship. The winner, if a professional, will take home a check of $6,000 in the tournament sponsored by Crystal Mountain and Coke. The final group will tee off at 9:39 a.m. Wednesday. The public is welcome.

  Harkins said she can’t remember the last time she had the lead heading into the final round of a tournament. Seconds were here best finish in four years of college golf, including the first three years at North Carolina and her senior year at Wisconsin.

  “I don’t know what to expect,” she said. “I just want to keep the confidence level the same. The last two days have been great, so there is no reason to change.”

  Harkins powered her bogey-free round with five birdies and an eagle-3 at the par 5 No. 6 hole via holing out a 65-yard shot with her 60-degree wedge.

  “It was going right at the pin and I saw it disappear,” she said. “I didn’t know it went in, but then I heard everybody cheering. It was cool. I can’t remember the last time I did that.”

  Harkins last win was the 2014 Illinois Women’s Amateur Championship just after she graduated from high school. Her college experience included being a regular in the North Carolina and Wisconsin lineups for four years, and playing in the NCAA Championships.

  “I’ve played well in big tournaments,” she said. “I just didn’t get any wins.”

  She entered the Michigan Open when she heard from other young pros that the Michigan Women’s Open had a strong field that included Symetra Tour players.

  “I played in the Symetra Tour event in Decatur (Ill.) and just want to play against good players this summer,” she said. “Everybody said this one always has a good field and that it’s a good tournament.”

SCORES:  For complete scores click HERE