As is my humble custom, here’s my Top 10 Golf Stories of the Year for Michigan. They’re not necessarily in the order of importance or significance either. All in all, another notable year of golf in Michigan.
Rocket Mortgage Classic at Detroit GC—For the first time in a decade, the PGA Tour returns to the state and the city of Detroit, crowning an unlikely champion in Nate Lashley. In only his 33rd Tour start, Lashley—who got in the tourney only the day before as the last alternate—goes wire-to-wire for his first win.
Stuard makes FedExCup Playoffs—Continuing his steady play in 2018-19, Jackson native Brian Stuard qualified for the Playoffs for the second consecutive season and fifth overall, finishing the season at No. 82 in the FedExCup standings. Stuard notched three top-10s and made 20 cuts in 29 starts, earning $1,320,637.
Henderson wins Meijer LPGA Classic—Brooke Henderson made history in Grand Rapids, taking a one-stroke win at the Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give. Not only is she the first multiple winner in tournament history, but with her ninth LPGA Tour victory, she became the winningest Canadian golfer, male or female, in the history of the LPGA and PGA Tours, one win clear of Sandra Post, Mike Weir and George Knudson.
Scott Hebert wins national title—Traverse City G & CC’s head pro won the Senior PGA Professional title in smashing style with a four-day score of 16-under 270 (70-70-63-67) which matched a Championship record for lowest 72-hole total. Hebert is the only the third pro to have won both the PGA Professional and Senior PGA Professional Championships.
Ben Cook’s Big Year—Caledonia’s Cook capped off a standout year by competing on the prestigious PGA Cup team, helping his American teammates overcome their British and Irish foes. Earlier, Cook competed in the PGA Championship at Bethpage Black after finishing 4th at the PGA Professional Championship in May.
New LPGA Tourney Debuts in Midland—At Midland CC, the duo of Jasmine Suwannapura and Cydney Clanton posted a runaway win in the Dow Great Lakes Bay Invitational at 27 under par in the LPGA Tour’s first official team event.
Brehm earns card—Mt Pleasant native Ryan Brehm punched his card for the PGA Tour by winning a Korn Ferry tournament and being among the Top 25 money winners.
Kelly wins Ally Challenge—Jerry Kelly won by two shots over Woody Austin at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club in Grand Blanc, Mich. Michigan native Tom Gillis tied for 7th.
GAM celebrates its Centennial—The Golf Association of Michigan celebrated its 100th birthday with a golf outing, dinner and presentation by Jack Nicklaus at Oakland Hills CC.
Hall of Fame opens home—In June at Katke GC in Big Rapids, the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame opened its new home on the campus of Ferris State University.
Honorable Mentions: Brighton’s Allyson Geer-Park played in the inaugural Augusta National Women’s Amateur, missing the cut but earning a life-long memory; By her 16th place finish in the LPGA Q-Series final, DeWitt’s Elizabeth Nagel earned full status on the LPGA Tour in 2020; Cheboygan’s PJ Maybank, Webberville’s Paige Radebach and Novi’s Sophie Stevens all competed at Augusta National in the Drive, Chip & Putt National Finals; For the first time since 2008, Point O’ Woods in Benton Harbor hosted the Western Amateur. An NHL referee, Garrett Rank, of Ontario, Canada, won the 117th edition of the championship.
Images courtesy of the PGA Tour, the LPGA, Michigan PGA, and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.