Lilleboe Maintains Lead in Hunt for Second Open Win

HALL FINANCIAL MICHIGAN OPEN: Eric Lilleboe Maintains Lead in Hunt for Second Open Win

   ROCHESTER – Eric Lilleboe of Okemos held the lead throughout the third round and will try to do it again in the final round of the 107th Hall Financial Michigan Open Championship Thursday at Oakland University Golf & Learning Center.

  Lilleboe, the 2019 Michigan Open champion and a PGA Tour Americas player, shot an even-par 71 on the Katke-Cousins course for a 7-under 206 total through three rounds of the $100,000 championship. A first-place check of $15,000 is at stake in the final round, and he will tee off in the final group at Noon.

   “I think I can say with a three-shot lead, it’s in my hands,” he said. “I think if I shoot in the 60s tomorrow it should be good enough. That would be just a guess of mine right now. I don’t know what the weather will be tomorrow, but I think somebody will have to go low to beat me.”

 Jake Kneen, a two-time Michigan Open winner (2018, 2022) and an Oakland University assistant golf coach, was second for the second consecutive day after he shot a 71 for 209, but he had the company of three other golfers just three shots behind.

  Nick Krueger of Spring Lake, the 2022 Michigan Amateur Champion playing in his first tournament as a professional after a standout career at Grand Valley State University, shot himself into the mix with a 68 for 209.

  Zach Robbins, a mini-tour player from Grand Rapids who has been among the leaders each day, shot 70 for 209.

  And Tyler Copp of Ann Arbor, another PGA Tour Americas player and the first-round leader, shot 70 for 209.

  Two-time Michigan PGA Professional champion Benny Cook of Caledonia and Quail Ridge Golf Club is at 210, four back after he shot 69.

  Defending champion Joe Juszczyk shot 72 and is at 212 along with 2007 Michigan Open champion Andy Ruthkoski, who shot 71, and amateur Joe Montpas of Flushing, who shot 72.

  The 36-year-old Lilleboe was the third-round leader in 2019 when the final round was washed out by thunderstorms and heavy rain and he was declared the champion. He said he would like to win an Open with four rounds.

  “I want to win another Michigan Open, that’s for certain,” he said.

  He said the Katke-Cousins course is playing firm and hard, especially in the wind and it kept him from thinking about the lead or looking at the scoreboard.

  “If I’m playing well tomorrow with a few holes to go I will definitely check out the scores,” he said. “Until then, I just want to hit good shots on a tough golf course like today. Except for two errant shots that I knew were bogeys off the clubface, I played solidly.”

   The forecast calls for heat and wind on Thursday and Lilleboe said he will be prepared for it.

  “You have to play well on this golf course because it’s difficult and today the ball marks kept getting smaller and smaller because the greens kept getting firmer as we played,” he said. “I’m excited. I’m looking forward to it. This is exactly where I wanted to be, in the lead at the Michigan Open with a chance to win.”

  Krueger, 23, said his 68 was solid golf resulting from some swing things he has worked on with Spring Lake Country Club head golf professional Josh Lathwell.

  “I had an up and down college season with the changes, but it feels like it’s coming together,” he said. “It’s different playing as a pro. Now every shot means even a little more because it can cost you money. Hopefully I can play tomorrow like I did today, shoot a low score and have a chance to win. That’s always the goal.” 


ABOUT HALL FINANCIAL:  David Hall started Hall Financial in 2016 with the core mission to be the most client-focused mortgage company in the industry. Headquartered in Troy, Michigan, Hall Financial has positioned themselves as a regional powerhouse that is growing rapidly. Since its inception, the company has built a reputation for making the mortgage process simple and fast while delivering clients with five-star service. With over 6,000 five-star reviews, Hall Financial’s team is committed to providing customized mortgage solutions tailored to each client’s needs. Beyond mortgages, Hall Financial is deeply involved in the community, supporting various charitable initiatives, and fostering a culture of giving back. Website:

SUPPORTING SPONSORS: Make The Turn, Turbo Insurance, Harbor Title Agency and Fox Motors. A benefit for the players in the field is lunch being provided each day courtesy of Patti Finnegan’s Pub & Grille at Oakland University.

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