Jackson native Brian Stuard finished solo second last Sunday at the PGA Tour’s OHL Classic Mayakoba in Mexico. Due to his 17-under par finish, Stuard claimed a new single tournament record for Michiganders by earning $648,000. Thanks to the Tiger Woods era of dramatically increased purses over the the past ten years, Stuard surpassed the first place check of $560,000 by Meg Mallon, a Michigan native who attended Mercy High School in Farmington Hills, in winning the 2004 U.S. Women’s Open.
In 2012, Pontiac’s Tom Gillis won $501,600 by his runner-up finish at the Honda Classic. To date, that’s Gillis’s largest check. In 1986, Mt Pleasant’s Dan Pohl earned $126,000 when he won the World Series of Golf in Akron. Michigan’s last Tour winner was John Morse of Marshall. He won $216,000 in winning the 1995 Hawaiian Open.
Stuard’s big check sets him up well for the reminder of the season, vaulting him up on the money list with $746,200 in earnings, good for 10th spot. Incidentally, Stuard’s long time teacher is PGA pro Gary Robinson of Jackson. They’ve worked together since Stuard was a junior.
Getting to the PGA Tour is a huge hurdle. Just ask former Michigan State standouts Ryan Brehm, Randy Hutchinson and Jack Newman. Last week, the trio failed to advance out of the second stage of Web.com Tour Qualifying in McKinney, TX. None of the players broke 70 on the last day.