100th Michigan Open entry deadline is on May 17

EAST LANSING – Walter Hagen, Horton Smith, Chick Harbert, Chuck Kocsis, Al Watrous, Walter Burkemo, John Barnum, Dave Hill, Lynn Janson, Randy Erskine, Buddy Whitten, Jeff Roth, Steve Brady, Tom Gillis, Scott Hebert, Ryan Brehm as well as many other storied Michigan golfers entered, won and are part of history as champions.
For the historic 100th time the top golfer in the state will be identified in the Michigan Open Championship, which in this centennial celebration year is presented by the LaFontaine Automotive Group at Prestwick Village Golf Club in Highland Township on June 12-15.
Michigan residents with a USGA handicap index of 8.0 or less who wish to test their games against the best and make state golf history are urged to enter before the 5 p.m. deadline on May 17.
The LaFontaine Automotive Group, as it has the last three years, will present the 2017 champion with a one-year lease on a new Cadillac.
To register online golfers should visit www.michiganpgagolf.com. Email Justin Phillips, director of tournament operations for the Michigan PGA at jphillips@michiganpga.com with questions. You can also call the Michigan PGA Section office at 517-641-7421 to obtain a mail-in entry form or to gain more information.
The Open championship will use a qualifying events system to determine the starting field of 156 golfers. Those qualifying rounds will be presented between May 21 and June 4 at sites across the state.
The sites include Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath onMay 21, Oakland University – Sharf Course in Rochester and Country Club of Lansing on May 23, Detroit Golf Club – North Course on May 30, Quail Ridge Golf Course in Ada on Wednesday on May 31, Forest Lake Country Club in Bloomfield Hills (PGA Members Only) on May 31, and Black Lake Golf Club in Onaway on June 4.
In addition, a three-spot qualifier for the final trio of spots in the starting field will be on June 10, at Flint Elks Golf Club in Grand Blanc. That event can serve as a first or second qualifying attempt.
A tiered entry rate is in effect for 2017 with amateurs paying $180 to enter, Michigan PGA member professionals $205 and non-member professionals $355.
Jeff Bronkema of Wayland, a 28-year-old mini-tour professional, is the defending champion and expected to head a strong field celebrating the 100th edition of the storied championship.
Bronkema, who won by three shots over Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon and Eric Lilleboe of Okemos last year at Prestwick, added his name to the James D. Standish trophy, received a first-place check of $8,000 and the lease on a new Cadillac from LaFontaine Automotive Group.
One of the state’s longest-running sports events, the Michigan Open was first played in 1916 and won by Leo Diegel, who also won the second Open in 1919 after the tournament was not played in the World War I years of 1917 and 1918. Diegel also played in the inaugural Ryder Cup matches and the first Masters Tournament in Augusta, Ga.
Prestwick Village is hosting the championship for the fourth consecutive year, and is located just north of Milford in Highland Township. Award-winning and internationally renowned architect Ron Garl designed the championship course, and the club features an award-winning 26-acre practice facility.

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Posted by John Raffel

John is a sports reporter with the Pioneer as well as the Herald Review and The Lake County Star. He also coordinates the weekly Pioneer sports outdoors page. He can be reached at (231) 592-8356 or by email at jraffel@pioneergroup.com.

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