Scott Hebert Wins Michigan PGA Professional Championship for Eighth Time
ADA TOWNSHIP – Scott Hebert made golf history, despite a rain-shortened tournament where even a sudden-death playoff that followed a washed-out final round had a rain delay.
Hebert, 47 and the head golf professional at Traverse City Golf & Country Club, made a 12-foot par-saving putt on the first playoff hole and won the 95th Michigan PGA Professional Championship Wednesday at Egypt Valley Country Club.
Hebert won the state championship for golf professionals for the eighth time (2006, ’07, ’08, ’09, ’11, ’12, ’14, and ‘16), one short of the all-time record of nine set by legend Al Watrous, and won his 15th major Michigan PGA title to tie Watrous and J.R. Roth for the most wins all-time. Hebert’s eight PGA Professional titles go with six Michigan Open titles and a Tournament of Champions title.
“To be mentioned with those guys is a real honor,” he said after being presented the $6,800 first-place check. “I’m humbled and I was very fortunate today.”
The third and final round was underway, but the final group of leaders was through just six holes when heavy rain, lightning, strong winds and hail forced a delay and eventually the cancellation of the round. That resulted in waiting for course repairs and water to drain for a playoff three hours and 20 minutes later. The playoff then was also interrupted by a hard rain and delayed for about 30 minutes.
Finally, Hebert and John Seltzer of nearby Blythefield Country Club, who had missed the first playoff hole green (No. 18) with approach shots, each pitched on to the green. Hebert was out with his 12-footer, which he made, and then Seltzer’s 10-footer slid past the hole.
“I’ve never won a rain-shortened tournament before, so it feels a little different,” he said. “I’m sure Josh (Fryer of Franklin Hills) feels terrible. He was a couple of strokes up when that storm came. I feel terrible for him, but you never know what happens in the last 12 holes. It’s unfortunate for everybody. Egypt Valley is a nice place and a true championship course. Everybody got shortened a round. Who knows? Somebody could have shot 30 on the back nine and changed everything. Fortunate for me, it works out I’m on top.”
It was Hebert’s 6-under 66 on Tuesday that put him at 135 and in position for the playoff with Seltzer, who had a 66 in the opening round and was also at 135 through 36-holes.
Hebert said he went out on the putting green and worked on his putting just before the playoff.
“I shortened my stroke just a little bit, and on that last putt that is all I was thinking, keep the stroke short, and it went in,” he said. “You just never know how things are going to work out.”
Eventually with playoffs completed and based on the 36-hole scores, the 10 golfers were determined for spots in the 2017 PGA Professional National Championship at Sunriver Resort in Sunriver, Oregon, next June. The low 20 finishers from that championship move on to play with the best players in the world at next year’s PGA Championship at Quail Hollow in Charlotte, N.C.
Hebert, as the 2008 PGA Professional National Champion is already in the PNC field. Joining him in Sunriver will be Seltzer, Fryer, Chad Kurmel of Spartan Golf Academy at Michigan State, Kyle Martin of Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods, Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook in Northville, Joe Pollack of Yamaha Golf Cars Plus in Plainwell, Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth, Lee Houtteman of Manitou Passage in Cedar, Steve Vecellio of Birmingham Country Club and Bill Mory of Meridian Sun in Haslett. Vecellio and Mory survived a playoff with Mark Zelazny of Dearborn Country Club for the final two spots.
RESULTS: Scores and payout are at www.michiganpgagolf.com
via Greg Johnson