Michigan Open Winners

MI Golf Ball 5

The Michigan Open was first played in 1916 and over the years has garnered an impressive list of Champions.

The inaugural Michigan Open was won by Leo Diegel at age 17. Diegel, who was born in Wayne County, Michigan, went on to win two PGA Championships. He also played in the inaugural Ryder Cup and Masters Tournaments.

The great Walter Hagen won the title in 1921. Hagen had served as the head professional at Oakland Hills from 1918 – 1919, but by 1921 was the sport’s only full-time, unaffiliated professional. Hagen won one of his five PGA Championships the same year. Eventually, Hagen retired to Traverse City, Michigan, where he died in 1969.

Noted amateur George Von Elm was the champion in 1928. Von Elm won the US Amateur in 1926 when it was considered a Major, famously battling Bobby Jones in a year when Jones had won both the US and British Opens.

Al Watrous, who had eight PGA Tour victories in the 1920s and 1930s was a six time winner of the Michigan Open. Watrous, too, had a connection to Bobby Jones. During the 1926 Open Championship, Watrous was tied with Jones in the final round until the 17th hole, eventually finishing second. Watrous won the PGA Senior Championship three times.

Horton Smith, winner of the 1954 Michigan Open won the first and third Masters. (Which along with Leo Diegel provides yet another Bobby Jones connection).

Chuck Kocsis, winner of three Michigan Opens, was voted by the Golf Association of Michigan as the state’s “Amateur Golfer of the Century.” Kocsis won six Michigan Amateurs, was a member of three Walker Cup Teams and two NCAA Championship teams at the University of Michigan. He also was low Amateur in two Masters and two US Opens.

Professional golfer Dave Hill, a native of Jackson, Michigan, won the Michigan Open in 1959. Hill would go on to win thirteen times on the PGA TOUR, and was a member of the 1969, 1973 and 1977 Ryder Cup Teams.

Mike Souchak won the Michigan Open in 1967.  He won eleven times on the PGA Tour.

In recent years, the Michigan Open has been dominated by Scott Hebert, professional at the Traverse City Golf and Country Club, who has six wins. In the late 1970s and 1980s, the Michigan Open saw five wins by Randy Erskine, who played on the PGA TOUR from 1974 to 1979.

The complete list of Michigan Open winners follows:

Michigan Open Winners

2020Brett White
2019Eric LIlleboe
2018Jake Kneen (amateur)
2017Matt Thompson
2016Jeff Bronkema
2015Jeff Cuzzort
2014Ryan Brehm [3]
2013Tom Werkmeister (amateur)
2012Barrett Kelpin
2011Randy Hutchison
2010Ryan Brehm [2]
2009Ryan Brehm [1]
2008Tom Gillis
2007Andrew Ruthkoski
2006Scott Hebert [6]
2005Michael Harris
2004Jeff Roth
2003Bob Ackerman [2]
2002Scott Hebert [5]
2001Scott Hebert [4]
2000Scott Hebert [3]
1999Scott Hebert [2]
1998Jeff Roth
1997Scott Hebert [1]
1996Steve Brady
1995Dave Smith
1994Tom Gillis
1993Brent Veenstra
1992Steve Brady [2]
1991Steve Brady [1]
1990Robert Proben
1989Barry Redmond
1988Ed Humenik
1987Jack Seltzer
1986Tim Matthews
1985Randy Erskine [5]
1984Randy Erskine [4]
1983Buddy Whitten [2]
1982Buddy Whitten [1]
1981Fred Muller
1980Lynn Janson
1979Randy Erskine [3]
1978Randy Erskine [2]
1977Tom Deaton
1976Randy Erskine [1]
1975Bob Ackerman(amateur) [1]
1974Lynn Janson
1973George Bayer
1972Ron Fox
1971Ted Kondratko
1970Walter Burkemo [4]
1969Charles Knowles
1968John Molenda
1967Mike Souchak
1966Gene Bone [2]
1965Gene Bone [1]
1964Thom Rosely
1963Phil Wiechman
1962Pete Brown
1961John Barnum [2]
1960John Barnum [1]
1959Dave Hill
1958John Barnum
1957Walter Burkemo [3]
1956Pete Cooper
1955Walter Burkemo [2]
1954Horton Smith
1953Chick Harbert
1952Mike Dietz
1951Walter Burkemo [1]
1950John Barnum
1949Al Watrous [6]
1948Chick Harbert
1947Buck White
1946Chuck Kocsis (amateur) [3]
1945Chuck Kocsis (amateur) [2]
1944Sam Byrd
1943Al Watrous [5]
1942Chick Harbert
1941Gib Sellers
1940Emerick Kocsis
1939Marvin Stahl [3]
1938Marvin Stahl [2]
1937Chick Harbert (amateur)
1936Marvin Stahl [1]
1935Jake Fassezke [2]
1934Jake Fassezke [1]
1933Mortie Dutra
1932Clarence Gamber
1931Chuck Kocsis (amateur) [1]
1930Al Watrous [4]
1929Al Watrous [3]
1928George Von Elm (amateur)
1927Al Watrous [2]
1926Al Watrous [1]
1925Davey Robertson
1924No record
1923Harry Hampton
1922No record
1921Walter Hagen
1920Mike Brady
1919Leo Diegel [2]
1917-18No tournament
1916Leo Diegel [1]
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