Welch Fires 63 To Lead Michigan PGA Women’s Open

Georgia’s Jessica Welch Fires 63 to Lead Michigan PGA Women’s Open at Crystal Mountain

  THOMPSONVILLE – Jessica Welch’s favorite week of the year is here, and she celebrated with a 9-under 63 to launch into the lead through one round of the 31st Michigan PGA Women’s Open Championship presented by Coca-Cola Monday on the Mountain Ridge Course at Crystal Mountain.

   The 30-year-old Epson Tour player’s round was just one stroke less than the tournament and women’s course-record 62 Kimberly Dinh of Midland shot in 2014.

  “This is my favorite week of the year,” said the Thomasville, Ga., resident who gave a shout-out to her annual host family at Crystal Mountain, Pam and Steve Perry.

   “There are some weeks that you just kind of grin and bear it, but this week is therapeutic. This is my favorite golf course. This is my favorite tournament. The weather – you don’t get a better day to play golf than this, and it seems like it’s always like that here. I don’t ever miss this event. I love this tournament.”

  Welch, who has finished in second place the last two years in the Michigan PGA Women’s Open, had a seven-shot lead on the field with two rounds remaining in the $40,000 championship.

  Kate Brody of Grand Blanc, a University of Wisconsin golfer, and Taylor Kehoe of Strathroy, Ontario, who last week announced she is transferring from the University of Alabama to Michigan State University, each shot 70 to hold down second through one round.

  Six golfers shot 71 including Elayna Bowser of Dearborn, a reinstated amateur and the recent GAM Mid-Amateur champion, Elise Fennell of Caledonia and the recent runner-up in the Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship, University of Notre Dame women’s golf coach Caroline Powers-Ellis, Ball State University golfer Sabrina Langerak of Grand Rapids, and Jiayi Wang, a Northwestern University golfer from Shanghai, China.

  In the inaugural Senior Women’s Open being played in conjunction with the Women’s Open, Elaine Crosby of Jackson, a longtime LPGA Tour player and two-time Michigan Women’s Open champion, started with a 1-under 71.

  Suzy Green-Roebuck of Ann Arbor, another former LPGA Tour player and a three-time Michigan Women’s Open champion, shot 72. Gail Graham of Naples, Fla., shot 73. The seniors are playing for a purse of $5,000, and their tournament is being presented by the Great Lakes Sports Commission and Crystal Mountain.

  Also, for the first time, the Michigan Section PGA is also holding its Michigan Women’s PGA Professional Championship for section professionals in conjunction with the Open. That tournament inside the tournament will conclude on Tuesday after 36 holes. Erica Reed of Scottville shot 78 to lead through the first round.

  Welch, an Epson Tour player since 2014, said the 63 is the lowest tournament score of her career.

   She had a shot at the record 62 on the par 5 No. 18 hole, but a second shot from the fairway found the trees right of the green. She pitched out sideways and then chipped two two-feet and saved par.

  “I had to go for that,” she said. “The ball was on a downhill and it’s kind of a downhill dance where you expect it might come off left. I did not expect it to go right. Thankfully somebody was over there and found it and I could get out.”

  Thomas said she has been playing well, despite missing the cut over the weekend at the Epson Tour’s Island Resort Championship in Harris of the Upper Peninsula.

  “The week before I had a (tie for eighth) in Columbus, Indiana, and have been playing some good golf,” she said. “I feel good about the game, and today made me feel very good about it.”

   She said a par save from the fairway bunker on No. 15 with a 15-foot par putt helped keep the round on track.

  “That shot kind of sticks out because I had a funky stance and the ball was close to the lip,” she said.

ABOUT CRYSTAL MOUNTAIN: Established in 1956, Crystal Mountain is a family-owned, four-season resort destination located 28 miles southwest of Traverse City and a short drive from Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The 1,500-acre resort features lodging, dining, downhill and cross-country skiing, two championship golf courses, shopping, award-winning Crystal Spa, Michigan’s only alpine slide, Peak Fitness, the Park at Water’s Edge, Michigan Legacy Art Park, weddings, a conference center, and real estate options.

SPONSORS: The tournament’s presenting sponsor is Coca-Cola, a long-time partner of Crystal Mountain. Click sponsors to see a list of the great support that makes the championship possible.

Discover more from GolfBlogger Golf Blog

Subscribe to get the latest posts sent to your email.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from GolfBlogger Golf Blog

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading