24th Michigan Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort starts Monday
BOYNE FALLS – The champions are coming and another of Boyne Mountain Resort’s championship golf courses, the Monument, is back in the mix.
For the first time in seven years the Michigan Tournament of Champions will be played on two courses – the classic Alpine and Monument.
A unique field of 100 golfers will start Monday in the 24th annual version of the event that brings together men, women, juniors, seniors, professionals, amateurs and even members of the same families competing against each other from three sets of tees for the same coveted championship.
Each player in the field has won a Michigan major golf tournament or state title to earn the invitation to compete. The field plays 54 holes over three days, including one of the first two rounds on the Monument course. The third and final round following a 36-hole cut will be played on the Alpine course. The tournament is sanctioned and administered by the Michigan PGA and will include a purse yet to be announced for the professionals in the field.
“We put the Monument back in the mix quite frankly because we hired a superintendent (Chris Burnett) just for that course in the last couple of years and he and his staff have it in far better condition than it was the last time we had it as part of the event,” said Bernie Friedrich, Boyne’s senior vice president of golf, marketing and retail operations.
“We want to showcase that course to these players again, and show them some of the changes that have been made. The Monument was built back in the era when everybody was building hard golf courses, and we’ve taken out 15 bunkers and a lot of trees, and even took out one of the water hazards and replaced it with a bunker. It’s a more playable course, and more fun and we want the great players in this to see what we’ve done.”
Andy Ruthkoski, a 32-year-old mini-tour pro from Muskegon and two-time defending champion, tops a list of seven past Tournament of Champions winners in this year’s field. Others include Mike Erickson of Bloomfield Hills Country Club (1993), Agim Bardha of Birmingham (1994), who was the first senior winner, five-time winner Jeff Roth of San Juan Country Club in New Mexico (1995, ’96, ’99, 2008, ’12), Indianapolis teaching professional John DalCorobbo (1998), Tom Harding of Kendall Academy in Ypsilanti (1997) and Lee Houtteman of Manitou Passage Golf Club (2011).
The only woman to win the tournament, Stacy Snider of Grandville in 2003, did not enter because of recent back surgery. The head women’s golf coach at Western Michigan University said she plans to return next year.
PGA Tour Canada player Drew Preston of Ada, mini-tour pros Randy Hutchison of Traverse City, Willie Mack of Grand Blanc and Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo are in the field.
Top PGA Section member professionals like Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center, Gary Lewandowski of Tullymore Golf Resort, recent Michigan Golf Hall of Fame inductee Dave Kendall and Ian Ziska of Katke Golf Club at Ferris State are in the field.
Last year’s Michigan Amateur champion Henry Do of Canton, and this year’s Michigan Amateur champion Ryan Johnson of Novi are in the field, as are other top amateurs like Ian Harris of Bloomfield Hills, Steve Maddalena of Jackson and current Michigan State golfer Jacqueline Setas.
Recent Michigan Open champion Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile and his mini-tour playing brother Steven, Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Pete Green of Franklin and his daughter Suzanne Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor, Hall of Famer Jack Seltzer and his son John of Blythefield in Grand Rapids, Frank McAuliffe of Kendall Academy and his son Frank IV of Ann Arbor, Bill and Chris Mory of Meridian Sun Golf Club in Haslett and Jodi and Nick Berklich of Indianwood Golf & Country Club are among the many family combinations in the tournament.
Ruthkoski earned $10,000 for his win last year and donned the traditional green jacket befitting Michigan’s version of a Masters Tournament.
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 www.BOYNE.com, www.facebook.com/boynemountain or call 800.GO.BOYNE (462-6963).
Via: Greg Johnson