From Bag Shop to Champion: John Seltzer Wins Michigan PGA Professional Championship
FLINT – John Seltzer III, the head golf professional at Blythefield Country Club near Grand Rapids, made a two-foot birdie putt on the second playoff hole and won the 96th Michigan PGA Professional Championship in storybook fashion at Flint Golf Club Wednesday.
Seltzer, whose story includes working as a bag shop employee at Flint Golf Club during his high school years in nearby Grand Blanc, bested Andrew Dodson of GolfTEC-Novi in the playoff at 7-under 209.
Seltzer and Dodson each shot 3-under 69 to set up the playoff, and then both made par on No. 18 the first playoff hole. They went to No. 1 where both had chip shots near the green to for their third shots. Seltzer pitched his from about 45 feet to two feet, and Dodson chipped from heavy rough just left of the green to about eight feet. Dodson’s birdie attempt faded past the hole and Seltzer knocked his in for the win.
“That was my third time in a playoff in this championship and it was nice to get one to go my way,” said the 38-year-old Seltzer, who was a playoff victim of Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club a year ago, and a victim of Ron Beurmann of Country Club of Jackson in 2010.
“I grew up here, worked in the bag room, probably did a lot of stuff I shouldn’t have done while working in the bag room, but it is so nice to win it here at Flint Golf Club. I let that thought creep in a few times today out there. I thought I was out of it when I made bogey at 13, but then I birdied 15 and 16 and there I was in another playoff. It’s special to do it here, and really special to have my name on the (Gilbert A. Currie) the trophy with my dad. It’s really more than words can describe right now.”
John is the son of Jack (John) Seltzer Jr., a member of both the Michigan PGA Hall of Fame and the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and the winner of the 1988 Michigan PGA Professional Championship. Jack, who currently lives in nearby Linden, played in this week’s championship as well (tie for 53rd), and followed his son after playing and through the playoff.
“Without question this is the best day of my golf life and I had nothing to do with what happened,” the 66-year-old proud father said. “For my son to win the championship, and win it here in Flint where he grew up – his mom (Pam) and I couldn’t be more proud. It feels fantastic.”
Dodson, 31 and originally from Garden City, was playing in his first Michigan PGA, and said his final putt was on the right line but not hard enough.
“My goal coming into the week was make the top 10, and late in the round I realized I had made that and the goal became now go out and win it,” he said. “I felt nerves all day, and I had a nervy swing on 17 and missed the green right and couldn’t get it up and down. Then John birdied there and it became basically match play.”
With the win and the trophy Seltzer won $6,700 and Dodson $4,700.
Three other golfers just missed the playoff, including Hebert, the defending champion and eight-time winner. He closed with a 67 for 210, as did Jim Deiters of Midland Country Club. Kevin Muir of The Wyndgate in Rochester, the co-leader heading into the final round, shot 73 for 210.
There was also a playoff to determine the 10 golfers who qualified for the 2018 PGA Professional National Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, Calif. Hebert and Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club, Andrew Dodson’s younger brother, are already exempt. Hebert is in as a past winner, and Travis Dodson as a top 20 finisher this year in the Professional National Championship.
Seltzer will be going for the ninth time. Andrew Dodson will join his brother, and the others are Deiters and Muir, the 210 finishers with Hebert, Jim Troy of the Golf Performance Academy in Kalamazoo (211), Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth (212), Cody Haughton of Red Run in Royal Oak (212), host pro Scott Brotebeck of Flint Golf Club (212), Jordan Young of Fox Hills Learning Center (214) and Bob Ackerman of Bob Ackerman Golf Academy (214).
Young and Ackerman won a one-hole playoff over Gary Smithson of The Mines Golf Club in Grand Rapids and Dan Urban of Gull Lake Country Club for the final two spots. Smithson and Urban will be alternates.
The low 20 finishers at the Professional National Championship move on to play with the best golfers in the world at next year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo.
COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found on quick link at www.michiganpgagolf.com
Via Greg Johnson