Jordan Young of Fox Hills Drives in Front at Michigan PGA Professional Championship
FLINT – Jordan Young of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth found his missing driver for the first time this year and the result was the lead through the first round of the 96th Michigan PGA Professional Championship at Flint Golf Club Monday.
No, the club wasn’t missing. The 46-year-old teaching professional was just missing fairways with it, but remedied that in the first round for a 4-under 68 and one shot lead on five golfers in the $54,400, 54-hole championship for Michigan PGA Section members.
“I had been missing the driver all summer, but I drove it well and took advantage of it,” he said. “I did something a little different with it and it worked today. I got off to a good start, five birdies in my first 10 holes, and then really didn’t get much to go after that. But it was a good start. It’s nice to get a good start.”
The five golfers one shot behind at 69 included Scott Brotebeck, Flint Golf Club’s head professional, the host for this week’s championship.
“I kept the ball in play today and hit a lot of greens,” Brotebeck said. “I didn’t make a lot of putts for shooting 69, but being the host pro and having our facility here hosting, I’m happy to start with a 69. I will take three of them actually.”
The others 69 shooters were Steven Vecellio of Birmingham Country Club, Andrew Dodson of GolfTEC-Novi, Jim Troy of the Golf Performance Academy in Kalamazoo and Kevin Muir of The Wyndgate in Rochester Hills.
Two past champions with multiple wins were in a group of four golfers at 70 – three-time champion Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center and two-time champion Barry Redmond of Crooked Tree in Petoskey.
The others at 70 were Jim Dieters of Midland Country Club and Cody Haughton of Red Run in Royal Oak.
Defending champion Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club, an eight-time winner, was among the 13 golfers who shot 71.
Just 23 golfers in the starting field of 132 were under par 72. A cut will be made to the low 60 scorers and ties after Tuesday’s second round.
Young, whose best finish in the section championship is a second place, said the big turning point for him was chipping in off a hard-pan lie at the par 4 No. 14.
“I had just bogeyed 13 so that got me back to 1-under and then I birdied 16 and 18, and then 1 to start my second nine,” he said. “I hit the flag stick at No. 1. I just didn’t get anything else to drop coming in on the rest of the front.”
He said the rough right around the greens is especially long and tough.
“Our group almost lost a couple of balls right off the green,” he said. “It’s a tough shot from it because it’s long and laying down. You chunk it out of there on the green and hope it trickles close.”
Brotebeck said he thought the course would play tougher than most people were thinking in tournament condition.
“I’ve just seen it happen before,” he said. “This golf course can get you.”
Like, like the other players in the field, Brotebeck has his eyes on a top 10 finish that qualifies for next year’s PGA Professional National Championship.
“It’s been 10 years since I made it to the national club pro, 2007, and I’ve knocked the door the last few years, but it just hasn’t opened all the way,” said the 43-year-old who is in his fourth year at Flint GC. “Hopefully this week with a little home course advantage, and with the way I’m striking the ball right now, I will be in there on Wednesday fighting for it.”
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