I'd like to take some credit for Scott Hebert's recent win at the Michigan PGA Championship at Oakland Hills University's two courses.
But that would be a little silly. Still, I can't help but think that by dragging him out of the office a week before the championship to play a little golf on The Bear had to help. Hebert, the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa's head professional and director of instruction, talked about how he had been playing poorly, but I watched him make two birdies almost without effort in nine holes from the tips of The Bear.
At the Michigan PGA, Hebert started the day three shots off the lead and shot a final-round 3-under-par 69 on the Katke-Cousins course at Oakland University. It was just one of four rounds under par on the final day, and put him at 8-under-par 208 for the three days, and four shots ahead of Ian Ziska, the head professional at Katke Golf Club at Ferris State University, who closed with a 75.
“It’s nice to be No. 1 among your peers,” Hebert said after collecting a $6,000 first-place check, a crystal trophy and earning another inscription of his name on the Gilbert A. Currie Trophy. “To win at this point in my career when I don’t put as much effort on my game feels great. To come out and get to 8-under on two good golf courses is something to be proud of.”
Matthew Zavadil, a teaching professional with the host Oakland University Golf & Learning Center, shot a closing 71 for 214 and a tie for third place with Tom Harding of Kendall Golf Academy in Ypsilanti.
Hebert, who also has six Michigan Open victories in his career, said he hit his driver well all week, and made critical putts when needed. “I was proud of how I hit it,” he said. “It was nice playing out of the fairway most of the time. That has been my problem all summer, and not to do a commercial, but the new Titleist driver was phenomenal. Plus, I made a lot of four-footers, the kind you have to make when you really need to make them.”
Hebert, as a past PGA Professional National Champion (2008), is exempt for the 2013 club pro national championship. The next 10 golfers earned exemptions, which means Ziska, Harding, Zavadil, Brad Dean, TJ Roberts, Scott Schulte, John Seltzer, Lee Houtteman of Grand Traverse Resort, Kyle Martin of Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods and Matt Pesta of Beacon Hills Golf Club will make the June 23-26 trip to Sun River, Ore., for the national event. Houtteman, Martin and Pesta won their spots in a four-golfer playoff for three spots. George Bowman of Oakhurst in Clarkston will be the first alternate.
“We’re going to send a strong group to Oregon,” Hebert said. “We’re all proud of our (Michigan PGA) section, and I’m proud to be on top right now.”