WORKING WELL: Brett White Builds Lead at Tournament of Champions
BOYNE FALLS – Brett White reasoned when you are 12-under through 36 holes pretty much everything is working well.
The 29-year-old Korn Ferry Tour player from Caledonia shot a 5-under 67 on the Monument course at Boyne Mountain Resort Tuesday and at 12-under 132 was the leader through two rounds of the 30th Tournament of Champions.
Beau Breault, a mini-tour professional from Howell, was three shots back and the closest pursuer after also shooting a 67 for 9-under 135.
Barrett Kelpin, a PGA Tour Latinoamérica professional from Kalamazoo, who shot the low round of the day, an 8-under 64, and Bradley Smithson, a Michigan State University golfer from Grand Rapids, who shot 70, were four shots off the lead at 136.
White will lead the way in Wednesday’s final round on the Alpine course in the tournament that brings together Michigan championship-winning men, women, professionals, amateurs, seniors and juniors playing for the same title from different tee positions.
The 2020 Michigan Open champion started his second round on the back nine and shot a 6-under 30, and then played 1-over 37 on the front side for his 67.
“I knew how tricky the front nine is, so I wanted to try and score right away (on the back nine),” White said. “You know when there’s not much wind and the ball is going where you are looking, it’s nice. I hit it close, took advantage of the par fives and I was able to make a couple of putts as well.”
White, who is getting married on Sunday and is headed back to the Korn Ferry Tour on Monday, said he knows that several Tournament of Champions winners have made big comebacks in the final round and he remembers Alex Scott rallying from eight shots behind with a final round 11-under 61 on the Alpine to win the 2018 TOC.
“I’m preparing to keep it in play, put it in the fairway, hit a lot of greens and see if we can get the putter hot,” he said. “I know good scores are out there and I know everybody will be gunning for me. I’ve learned on the Korn Ferry Tour that you have to keep the pedal down, eliminate bogeys and make some birdies.”
Breault, the 2018 Michigan Amateur champion, played in the afternoon while White was playing and building a lead.
“I saw Brett was taking it deep so I knew good scores were out there and I wanted to stay in it,” he said. “The goal was to get in the last group and I’m there. I’m sure it will take more solid play and birdies.”
Breault had two early bogeys but made an eagle on the par 5 No. 5 hole with a chip-in from off the green.
“I got a good break when my tee shot hit a tree but bounced to where I still had an angle,” he said. “Then I made birdie after that, too, and played good solid golf the rest of the way.”
The 33-year-old Kelpin, who has full status on PGA Tour Latinoamérica and plans to go to Korn Ferry Qualifying this winter, said he made a couple of momentum-saving par saves early in the round and played well all day.
“I wedged it well, got most of them to 15 feet or inside and made a good amount of putts,” said the 2012 Michigan Open champion. “It was definitely nice to get myself back in position to have a chance if I play a good round on the Alpine tomorrow. The Alpine is a great course. I love it and I’m looking forward to giving it a go.”
Smithson, the 2021 Michigan Open champion as an amateur, said he has been putting well and plans to keep on doing the same stuff he has been doing over the first two rounds in the finale.
“Except the finishes,” he said after making a double-bogey 6 on No. 18 on the Monument to finish his 70 and suffering his only bogey on the last hole in Monday’s first-round, too.
“That leaves a sour taste in my mouth,” he said of the finish at 18. “Gave away some shots there. I was trying to squeeze (the tee shot) up there and it went in the water. I was too aggressive.”
Four golfers were tied at 5-under behind the top four and included recent Michigan Amateur champion Nick Krueger of Spring Lake, who made a big move with a 65 in the second round, Steven Cuzzort, a professional from Grosse Ile now living in Naples, Fla., who did the same with a 66, teaching professional Frank McAuliffe of Meadowbrook Country Club, who shot 70 and is the low senior golfer on the board and amateur Mike Anderson of Northville, who shot a second-round 68.
The 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties fell at 9-over 153 with 64 golfers advancing to the final round. The administering Michigan Section PGA plans to use both 1 and 10 tees with the remaining players. The final group will tee off at 9:40 a.m. off No. 1.
White said he didn’t want to get too far ahead of himself, but that the first-place check of $9,000 would help his golf travels and he joked it would help cover the bar bill at his wedding this weekend. He is getting married to Natalie Gervais of Winnipeg, Canada., who he met during college at Eastern Michigan University.
“Really, winning would be great for my confidence and help me for the last few weeks of the regular season on the Korn Ferry Tour,” he said. “I need a good finish to the season out there, too.”
ABOUT BOYNE MOUNTAIN RESORT: Boyne Mountain has been a favorite Midwest destination since 1948. The family-owned, four-season resort has earned Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor, and has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler readers as being among the top 50 Best Places to Ski and Stay in North America. The waterpark is listed among Budget Travel’s Top 10 Indoor facilities and the resort is a readers’ choice favorite of Spa Magazine. Boyne Mountain is home to The Alpine and The Monument golf courses, as well as 60 runs on 415 skiable acres. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, Solace Spa, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Zipline Adventures, disc golf facilities, lift-serviced mountain biking, beach activities, kids programs, lodging, meeting, and wedding facilities as well as real-estate are offered at the resort.
BOYNE Golf is a collection of ten courses at three resorts The Highlands, Boyne Mountain Resort and the Inn at Bay Harbor located within 15 miles of Petoskey, MI. Beyond the world-class golf, Boyne Golf is centered amid one of America’s most beautiful vacation spots. The scenic Lake Michigan beach towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Petoskey are minutes away, and a side trip to Mackinac Island is easily managed. Guests can enjoy award-winning spas, waterfront dining, sandy beaches, watersports, gaming, microbreweries, wineries, hiking, biking, tennis, zip-lining, shopping and more capped by the spectacular northern Michigan sunsets. For more information on BOYNE Golf, visit www.BOYNEgolf.com.
SCORING: Live scoring and tee times are at www.michiganpga.com