Ben Cook Builds Big Lead at 99th Michigan PGA Professional Championship
FLINT – Ben Cook of Yankee Springs Golf Course in Wayland is playing his best golf of the summer and has a five-shot lead heading into the final round of the 99th Michigan PGA Professional Championship.
“Basically I’m hitting it as good as I have in a long time,” said the 26-year-old aspiring tour player who shot a 7-under 65 Tuesday at Flint Golf Club for a 13-under total and five-shot lead. “It’s been super fun.”
Jeff Roth of Boyne Golf Academy in Harbor Springs, a five-time champion and the defending champion, is the closest pursuer after shooting a second consecutive 68 for 8-under 136, and Spartan Golf Academy teaching pro Chad Kurmel of East Lansing will round out the final group after a 67 for 137.
“Anything can happen, but Ben is a young guy and a good player,” said Roth who last year totaled 17-under and won by five shots over Cook.
“I’ll have to chase this time, but I like chasing. It’s not over until the fat lady sings. But you’re right, she is warming up.”
Cook, 26, a former Ferris State University golfer and newly married for four days, said he has never slept on a big lead. His wins in golf have been in come-from-behind fashion.
“It will be something a little different for me, but that’s okay. I’ll just try to go out and shoot 7-under tomorrow, too.”
A notable group of golfers of five golfers is tied for fourth at 140, nine shots adrift. It includes eight-time champion Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club, who shot 68, Flint Golf Club’s own Scott Brotebeck, who shot 70, Franklin Hills head professional Josh Fryer, who shot 69, Tim Pearce of Birmingham Country Club, who shot 72, and Adam Schumacher of Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor, who shot 71.
John Seltzer of Grand Rapids, the 2017 champion and a former bag attendant at Flint Golf Club, shot 70 for 141, and Julian Thompson of Detroit and Marlon Gisi of X-Golf Novi each shot 71 and rounded out the top 10 at 142.
The 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties fell at 7-over 151 with 63 players moving on to Wednesday’s final round.
In addition to playing for a share of the $54,000 purse, finishing in the top 9-to-12 spots tomorrow is significant. The low nine scorers at the end of the tournament – not including Cook, Roth and Hebert who are already qualified – will earn a spot in the 2021 PGA Professional National Championship next April. The low 20 finishers from the national championship then move on to play with the best players in the world at next year’s PGA Championship next May.
Cook, who made several long putts in a first-round 66, called his second round a tap-in day.
“I almost holed out on (par 3 No. 2), the pitch mark was really close and I had just a three-footer there, and then on (No. 3) I hit it six inches short, right in the jar, for an eagle. The birdies on the first three holes of the front really made the round, but I hit it close a lot today.”
Cook, who grew up in Caledonia near Grand Rapids, and his bride/caddie Miah Hagy, a nurse from Bath near Lansing, planned to be at the Michigan PGA Professional Championship after their wedding and then embark on a two-week honeymoon in Bali. The COVID-19 pandemic scuttled some original plans.
“Flint is not quite Bali, but a close second,” Cook quipped. “I was going to play here all along. We had the honeymoon planned. It’s ok. We’re having fun. We’re hanging out at (Miah’s) parent’s house in Bath and trying to win a tournament.”
ABOUT THE CHAMPIONSHIP: The Michigan PGA Professional Championship dates to 1922 and past champions include golf legends Walter Hagen, Chuck Kocsis and Chick Harbert. The Michigan PGA Professional Championship is presented by Club Car and OMEGA with supporting sponsors Titleist/Footjoy, TaylorMade, Nike, Golf Channel, and the PGA Tour. See michiganpga.com for more information, live scoring during the tournament and tee times. Gallery is welcome. Parking and admission are free. More information on Flint Golf Club is available at flintgolfclub.com.
SCORING: A link for tournament scoring is at michiganpga.com
via Greg Johnson
This article, Cook Builds Lead At 99th Michigan PGA, appeared on GolfBlogger.Com on August 18, 2020