Kevin Muir of The Wyndgate, Cody Haughton of Red Run Share Lead in Michigan PGA
FLINT – Kevin Muir, a 54-year-old head golf professional at The Wyndgate in Rochester, and Cody Haughton, a 27-year-old assistant professional at Red Run in Royal Oak shared the lead through two rounds of the 96th Michigan PGA Professional Championship Tuesday at Flint Golf Club.
Haughton, using the power of patience finished with an eagle and birdie in his last three holes to shoot the tournament’s low round of 5-under 67 to check in at 7-under 137.
Muir used a hot putter in shooting a 68 to make his way to 137.
They will be in the final group of the final round Wednesday at 11:30 a.m. with Jim Troy of the Golf Performance Academy in Kalamazoo, a 36-year-old former mini-tour player who shot 69 for 138.
The cut to the low 60 scorers and ties fell at 151 with 64 players moving on. A purse of $54,400 and the Gilbert A. Currie Trophy is at stake, as well as the determination of the players who qualify for the 2018 PGA Professional Championship at Bayonet Black Horse in Seaside, Calif.
The low 10 finishers Wednesday join already exempt players Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club and Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club at Bayonet Black Horse. The low 20 finishers there move on to play with the best golfers in the world at next year’s PGA Championship at Bellerive Country Club in St. Louis, Mo.
Seven golfers are within five shots of the lead shared by Haughton and Muir, including Troy.
John Seltzer of Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids, last year’s runner-up, shot 69 for 140, three off the lead. Also at 140 were Jordan Young of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, who shot 72, and Andrew Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club, who shot 71.
Three more golfers were at 142 – Bob Ackerman of Ackerman Golf Academy, who shot 71, Steven Vecellio of Birmingham Country Club, who shot 73, and the host pro at Flint Golf Club, Scott Brotebeck, who shot 73.
Hebert, the defending champion, was at 143 after a 72. Also there and fighting for the top 10 are Rick Slaught of Spring Meadows in Linden, who shot 72, Jim Dieters of Midland Country Club, who shot 73, and Josh Fryer of Franklin Hills, who shot 72.
Muir is a veteran of six trips to the PGA Professional Championship. In the last few years he has struggled with his putter and wasn’t counting on making the trip. He is qualified for the Senior PGA Professional Championship.
“But this week I’m feeling something,” he said. “Something is working.”
A week ago he was playing a round of golf with one of his assistants, Rod Sowders, who suggested a small grip change with his putter.
“The ball is going in the hole,” Muir said. “I’m making some 20 footers, and made like a 40-footer from the back of the green on 17. At 7 I made a 20-footer for birdie and that was a good one into the wind today. I trickled a few in, too, and putted well yesterday.”
He hopes to keep it going in the final round and win a major Michigan title for the first time in his career.
“All I can do it control what I do,” he said. “I’m a veteran at this so I know nothing ever comes easy. I’m going to go out and hopefully roll it well again. This is more of a position golf course, and I do hit fairways with my driver a lot. I feel like I have a chance to win it.”
Haughton just missed going to the national championship last year and said it fueled his fire for this year’s tournament.
“This is my first time in the last group of a tournament ever,” he said. “I played a lot of junior golf, but didn’t play in college (Ferris State University Professional Golf Management Program). This is my fourth year since graduating and I’ve learned how the PGA circuit works and really have gotten back into competitive golf.”
He long ago learned patience helped in the game, and that paid off in his 67 after he started with nine consecutive pars.
“I thought a lot of them could have gone in,” he said. “I left four putts short right in the hole and one lipped out. But then I made some on the back. The eagle on 16 was with my putter, probably 40 feet off the back fringe, and I birdied 18. That’s the game. You have some that don’t go in, and then some that do go in. You have to be patient and wait for things to unfold.”
COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found on quick link at www.michiganpgagolf.com
via Greg Johnson