As someone who admires players with enough game to qualify for USGA national championships, let me pay them homage by recalling and recognizing their achievements this past year. Remember what one golf writer pointed out last year: “To have a handicap index low enough to play in events run by your state or regional golf association means you’re in a club that makes up less than one-tenth of one percent of all golfers in the U.S…And if you’ve played in a USGA championship….it’s even more exclusive.”
Here are the Michigan players (and a few former notable Michiganders) who qualified and competed in USGA championships this past season:
US Open at Pebble Beach: Jackson’s Brian Stuard qualified as the sole Michigan entrant but missed the cut.
US Senior Women’s Open at Pine Needles, NC: Ann Arbor’s Suzie Green-Roebuck finished T-12 and earned $18,994, Becky Iverson (now living in WI) finished T-14 and earned $16,929, Jackson’s Elaine Crosby finished T-33 and earned $6280; Cindy Figg-Currier (now living in Texas) finished T-38 and earned $5539. Incidentally, Figg-Currier, Green-Roebuck and Iverson were all exempt from qualifying.
US Senior Open at Notre Dame’s Warren Course in South Bend: Kentwood’s Tom Werkmeister qualified, finished T-43 and earned $12,633.
US Women’s Amateur Four-Ball at Timuquana Country Club, Jacksonville, Fla: Dearborn’s Elayna Bower teamed up with Florida’s Summer Moser to qualify but they missed the cut.
US Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes, OR: The duos of Ken Hudson & Alex Zioli and Nick Bonema & Mike Busse qualified but missed the cut.
US Amateur at Pinehurst, NC: Donnie Trosper qualified, advanced to match play and lost his first match. Henry Do and Grant Haefner qualified but didn’t make match play.
US Girls Junior at SentryWorld, Stevens Point, WI: Okemos’ Allison Cui and Northville’s Nicole Whatney qualified but missed the cut.
US Junior at Inverness in Toledo, OH: Mattawan’s Luke Pelak and Eastmanville’s August Meekoff both qualified but only Meekoff advanced to match play where he lost his first match.
US Women’s Amateur at Old Waverly in West Point, Miss.: Katie Chipman of Canton made match play and won her first match.
US Senior Women’s Amateur at Cedar Rapids CC in Iowa: Holt’s Julie Massa qualified for match play but bowed out in her second match. Former Michigan resident and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Mary Jane Hiestand accomplished the same.
US Senior Amateur at Old Chatham in Durham, NC: Ovid’s Jerry Gunthorpe, Jackson’s Steve Maddalena, Kalamazoo’s Mitch Wilson all qualified for match play but lost their first match. Bloomfield Hills’s Raymond Hajjar and Mason’s Robert Matthiesen didn’t make match play.
US Mid-Amateur at Colorado Golf Club Parker,Colo. CommonGround Golf Course, Aurora, Colo.: Shelby’s Brad Bastion, Royal Oak’s Jimmy Chestnut, White Lake’s Mike Coriasso, Lansing’s Dan Ellis, E. Lansing’s Nick Gunthorpe, Harrison’s Austin Krieger, E. Lansing’s Steve Nichols and Bloomfield Hills’ Scott Strickland all qualified. Alma’s Randy Lewis was exempt but didn’t make match play. Ellis qualified for match play and bowed out in his ‘Sweet 16’ match. Chestnut, Gunthorpe, and Strickland also qualified for match play but lost their first match.
US Women’s Mid-Amateur at Forest Highlands in Flagstaff, AZ: Detroit’s Joanne Adams, Bloomfield Hills’ Ashley Crain and Grosse Pointe Shores’ Cindy Troyanovich all qualified but didn’t advance to match play.
The best medal play finish was Ann Arbor’s Suzie Green-Roebuck’s T-12 at the Women’s Senior Open. The best match play finish was Lansing’s Dan Ellis reaching the Sweet 16 at the Mid-Am.
Congrats to all.
Images courtesy of the Michigan Golf Foundation, Michigan State University and the USGA.