Hall of Fame Field in 26th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort

Michigan Tournament of Champions defending champion Korey Mahoney
Michigan Tournament of Champions defending champion Korey Mahoney


Hall of Fame Field in 26th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort

BOYNE FALLS – A field of 116 champion golfers, including 15 who are in the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, will start play Monday in the 26th Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort.

“We have some champions coming back who haven’t been here in a long time like Buddy Whitten, some of our most recent champions like this year’s Michigan Open winners Matt Thompson and Lindsey McPherson, eight former Tournament of Champions winners and 15 Hall of Famers, and of course the college players, the mini-tour professionals and several of our top Michigan PGA Section players,” said Justin Phillips, the tournament director for the Michigan PGA Section, which sanctions and administers the unique championship.

“It makes it one of the strongest fields we’ve had in a long time.”

The Tournament of Champions launched 26 years ago with juniors, seniors, professionals and amateurs of both sexes all playing for one title from different tee positions, and remains one of the most unique golf tournaments in the country. All who are invited have won selected significant Michigan golf championships, both amateur and professional.

The 15 Michigan Golf Hall of Famers in the field include Bob Ackerman, Ken Allard, Steve Brady, Brian Cairns, Elaine Crosby, Randy Erskine, Tom Gillis, Scott Hebert, Dave Kendall, Steve Maddalena, Jeff Roth, Jack Seltzer, John Traub, Whitten and Bill Zylstra.

They will join champions from all the categories and even members of the same families in the three-day, 54-hole stroke play championship on two courses. The Monday round and Wednesday’s final round are on the classic Alpine course, and Tuesdays round is on The Monument course. A 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties follows the second round. This year’s purse is $55,000.

Korey Mahoney, a 33-year-old classic car insurance salesman, former mini-tour player and 2002 Michigan Amateur champion from Manton, heads the list of eight former TOC winners in the field. He shot an 8-under 64 on the Alpine course in the final round last year to win by four shots over Eric Lilleboe, a mini-tour golfer from Okemos. Mahoney took home the $8,000 first-place check and annual gifts of a symbolic green jacket and lifetime membership at the Country Club of Boyne in Harbor Springs.

Joining Mahoney in the field are 2015 TOC winner Barrett Kelpin, two-time champion Andy Ruthkoski (2013, ’14), five-time champion Jeff Roth (2012, 2008, 1999, ’96 and ’95), 2011 winner Lee Houtteman, 2009 winner Scott Hebert, 1997 winner Tom Harding and 1994 winner Agim Bardha.

The only woman to win the TOC, Stacy Snider (2003), is not entered. The field of women entered this year is headed by former LPGA standout Elaine Crosby of Jackson, and McPherson, a Symetra Tour golfer who just last month won the Michigan Women’s Open. Mini-tour pros Jennifer Elsholz, Shasta Averyhardt and the Pietila sisters, Hannah and Emmie, are also in the field.

A host of mini-tour golfers add to the strength of the field, including Boyne Golf-sponsored Joey Garber of nearby Petoskey, and 2016 Michigan Open winner Jeff Bronkema, Otto Black, Lilleboe, Willie Mack III and Drew Preston.

Top PGA Section players like Hebert, Cairns, Dan Urban and Kyle Martin, and current collegiate golfers like Andrew Walker of Michigan State, Jake Kneen of Oakland University and Mitchell White of Grand Valley State are in the field, too.

In addition to a celebration of champions, the tournament is a family affair of champions. Family combinations entered in addition to the Pietila sisters, include brothers Jeff and Steve Cuzzort, brothers Andrew and Travis Dodson, father-son Jack and John Seltzer, father-son Frank and Frank IV McAuliffe and father-son Bill and Chris Mory.

ABOUT BOYNE MOUNTAIN RESORT: 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 BOYNEGolf.com, boynemountain.com or call 866-759-1472.

SCORING: Live scoring and tee times will be available at www.michiganpgagolf.com

NOTE: Gallery is welcome. Parking and admission are free.

via Greg Johnson

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