Marshall Pro Matt Thompson, Grosse Ile’s Jeff Cuzzort Share Lead at 100th Michigan Open
HIGHLAND – Matt Thompson just recently dropped the mini-tour life, joined the Michigan PGA apprentice program and took a head professional job at Marshall Country Club, but the Battle Creek native and former University of Michigan golfer can still play with the state’s top golfers.
He is tied for the lead with 2015 champion Jeff Cuzzort of Grosse Ile through three rounds of the 100th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine Cadillac.
Despite bogeys on the last two holes at Prestwick Village Golf Club Wednesday, the 27-year-old Thompson shot a 7-under 65 to land at 10-under 206.
Cuzzort, who held the lead after the first round and has shared it the last two days, shot 69 for his 206.
They were up one on Chris Mory of Haslett, who shot 70 for 207.
The 2013 champion, amateur Tom Werkmeister of Grandville, shot 68 to climb into the mix at 210, four shots back. Former PGA Tour player Tom Gillis of Lake Orion shot 72, and was also at 210.
The final field of 78 golfers will play the final round Thursday for a share of the $57,500 purse. The winner also receives a two-year lease on a new Cadillac from sponsoring LaFontaine. Tee times start at 8 a.m. Thursday with the final group of Thompson, Cuzzort and Mory going off at 11:54 a.m.
Thompson, a two-time runner-up in 2009 and 2010 to Ryan Brehm in the Michigan Open, said with the new job he has not had time to play and practice.
“Funny how your game can turn around when you stop playing and practicing; maybe I got rid of my bad habits,” he said. “I didn’t finish the way I wanted, but I hit the ball great today, holed one out from the fairway for eagle and made some great putts, too.”
He was in pursuit of Brehm’s course record of 9-under 63, which the three-time Michigan Open champion and field member in this week’s U.S. Open set when he won in 2014 at Prestwick Village. Thompson made eight birdies and an eagle 2 on No. 12 by holing out a wedge shot from 145 yards. He had three bogeys, and lamented the final two.
“At 17 I hit a shot that looked like it was all over the pin, but it came up short in the bunker and I made bogey, and then 18 I had probably the only bad swing of the day (6-iron from the fairway), almost swung out of my shoes and missed the green to make bogey,” he said.
“I have a chance though. I’m in the last group and have to play well tomorrow no matter what. It is what it is. All I ask for is a chance, and I have that.”
Cuzzort thought he got away with some bad golf in the second round, and said the third round was much better and keyed by consecutive birdies at Nos. 8, 9 and 10. His 5-iron at the par 3 No. 8 hole hit within inches of the hole, hit the flag and stopped inside one foot.
“I played well, hit it good,” he said. “I feel good, too. I liked the way I played today. Not everything has clicked in yet, and I think tomorrow might be that day.”
Chris Mory, the teaching pro from Haslett and Jason Guss Academy at Hawk Hollow Properties, said he played similar to the first two rounds just didn’t take advantage of as many birdie opportunities.
“I feel good about being in it for the last round, and hopefully I make a few more putts,” he said. “You have to play great in the last round. There are so many good players.”
COMPLETE RESULTS: Can be found at www.michiganpgagolf.com
via Greg Johnson