Brett White Stays in Front at Turtle Creek Casino 2020 Michigan Open
ACME – Brett White said he likes being the frontrunner.
Good thing, he led the Turtle Creek Casino Michigan Open Championship for the third consecutive day after shooting a 1-under 71 for 9-under 207 Wednesday on The Bear course at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa.
“I’ve never led a tournament wire-to-wire yet, but I’ll go out tomorrow and do it,” said the 27-year-old mini-tour golfer from Caledonia.
Chad Kurmel, a 49-year-old teaching professional at Forest Akers Golf Course who also works as an instructor with the men’s golf team at Michigan State University, is the closest pursuer. The 2012 South Florida PGA Professional Champion shot 5-under 67 in the gusting winds to check in at 208, one shot behind White.
Defending champion Eric Lilleboe of Okemos shot and up-and-down 71, and recent Michigan PGA Professional Champion Benny Cook of Yankee Springs Golf Course in Wayland shot 73 to stand at 210, three back.
Traverse City professional Alex Scott, the former Grand Valley State University All-American who worked seven summers at Grand Traverse Resort as a bag attendant, made the biggest move of the day with a 7-under 65. That put him at 211 with Ben VanScoyk of Grand Rapids, who shot 73.
Another Traverse City mini-tour pro and the 2011 Open champion Randy Hutchison was next at 212 after a 72, and Kyle Martin of The Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods and Muskegon’s Reed Hrynewich were at 213. Martin shot 71 and Hrynewich shot 74.
The field plays a final round Thursday to earn shares of the record $115,000 purse. The winner will take home $16,000 and have his name added to the historic James Standish Trophy.
More wind is forecast for Thursday, and White plans to handle it the way he did in the third round. He had two birdies and one bogey on the front nine at No. 9. Then made nine consecutive pars coming in.
“I picked a little bit more conservative targets with the wind,” he said. “You know your shot dispersion is going to be a little more sporadic with the wind, but I hit it really well. I just didn’t have any putts drop and I seemed to hit every approach shot to 20 or 25 feet, just outside the go-make-it range here. I was burning edges all day so the consistency was there and I had a lot of stress-free pars so I’ll take that out there on a windy day. Hope they drop tomorrow.”
Playing in his first tournament since May after being out with sciatic nerve issues in his back, White said he has slept on a lead before and won the tournament. In fact, it was his last win in 2019 at the Nevada Open.
“I shot 8-under and won by two,” he said.
Kurmel, who finished seventh in the recent Michigan PGA Professional Championship to earn a spot in the national championship, also isn’t worried about the forecasted strong winds for Thursday.
“I grew up in Nebraska so I had to learn how to hit it low,” he said. “I’m comfortable hitting it low so playing in the wind kind of plays to my strengths.”
Kurmel, who had six birdies and two bogeys, said his game came together in the third round.
“In the first round I didn’t hit it very well but putted really well, and in the second round I hit it well and putted OK and today I hit it really well and putted really well,” he said.
Kurmel won multiple tournaments in his South Florida days, but is yet to earn a victory in Michigan.
“I would love to get one from Michigan on my resume, especially this one,” he said.
ABOUT GRAND TRAVERSE RESORT & CASINOS: Owned and operated by the Grand Traverse Band of Ottawa and Chippewa Indians, Grand Traverse Resort & Casinos offers world-class gaming, golf, dining, and spa amenities in the northwest corner of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The premier properties include Grand Traverse Resort and Spa, Turtle Creek Casino & Hotel, and Leelanau Sands Casino & Lodge, along with EDC ventures Turtle Creek Market, Eagletown Market, and more. For more information, visit www.gtbindians.com, www.turtlecreekcasino.com, www.grandtraverseresort.com.
via Greg Johnson