2021 Michigan Open Starts Monday on The Bear
Brett White Defends Starting Monday in Turtle Creek Casino Michigan Open Championship
Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel partners with Michigan Section PGA to present the 104th edition of the state championship on The Bear at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, June 14-17
ACME – It was a title Brett White coveted and he plans to return to the Turtle Creek Casino Michigan Open Championship long into the future.
The 28-year-old mini-tour professional from Caledonia will defend the state championship he won a year ago, taking on a field of 156 golfers, including 11 other former champions, Monday through Thursday on The Bear course at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
“I have so many good memories from last year,” said White, who since his win last summer has been playing on the All-Pro Tour and the North Texas PGA Players Tour, where he finished sixth on the money list.
“My dad (Doug) caddied for me, it’s our state open championship that I always wanted to win and be on that historical list of golfers who did it,” he said. “I had a great week. My family was able to come up to Traverse City, which I love and we had such a great time.”
White went wire-to-wire with the lead and four under-par rounds to win a year ago, just three years after a life-threatening brain infection. He shot a closing 3-under 69 on The Bear for a 12-under total and a five-shot win.
Alex Scott, a Traverse City mini-tour professional, former bag attendant at the resort and a former Grand Valley State All-American, made the local gallery happy with a final 70 for 7-under 281 and second place.
This is the second year of a sponsorship agreement with Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, and this year’s purse will be announced during tournament week. Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel and Grand Traverse Resort and Spa are owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians. The resort, which has three golf courses, is hosting the championship for the 32nd time and this will be the 29th time it is contested on The Bear, a celebrated Jack Nicklaus design.
White, whose goal remains the PGA Tour and is headed for Korn Ferry Tour Qualifying in the fall, said his plan for The Bear a year ago worked perfectly.
“Of course good things have to happen to win, too,” he said. “But I think I had a really good mental game plan, my strategy worked and it’s a course I’ve seen before and I knew the kind of scores I would need to be in it. I love that that our Open is played there. It’s the perfect place for it.”
White isn’t the only past champion in the field with good memories of The Bear.
Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club won his record-tying six Michigan Open titles on The Bear between 1997 and 2006, and Bob Ackerman of Ackerman Golf Academy has two titles, and his second was in 2003 at The Bear.
Other Michigan Open/Bear winners in the field include Tim Matthews of Scotts (1986), Barry Redmond of Chelsea (1989), Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon (2007), Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo (2012), Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile (2015), Jeff Bronkema of Wayland (2016), Matt Thompson of Hillsdale (2017), Jake Kneen of White Lake and 2019 champion Eric Lilleboe of Okemos.
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. Other notables with their names listed on the Michigan Open’s James Standish Jr. Trophy include Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis, six-time Michigan Open winner Al Watrous, Walter Burkemo and Dave Hill.
via Greg Johnson