Sunday, August 19, 2012

Michigan PGA Championship kicks off at Oakland University this week


The Michigan PGA Championship generally signifies the end of the competitive season for Michigan's top golf professionals.

Held at Eagle Eye in recent years, the 54-hole competitions starting Monday moves to the celebrated R&S Sharf and Katke-Cousins golf courses at Oakland University. The two courses are hosting the annual championship of the top club and teaching professional players for the first time. The field will split and play a round each on the two courses Monday and Tuesday with Wednesday’s closing round on the Katke-Cousins course. An estimated $46,000 purse is at stake.

Scott Hebert, a five-time champion, will defend his title, and the head professional at Grand Traverse Resort in Acme has great memories of the Oakland University golf facilities. He won the 2008 Michigan Pro-Pro Championship there with Mick DeKorver of Sunnybrook Country Club in Grandville.

Hebert, also a six-time Michigan Open champion, has won five of the last six PGA titles, interrupted in that stretch only by 2010 champion Ron Beurmann of the Country Club of Jackson. He said defending the title he won last year at Eagle Eye Golf Club in Bath will require the best golf he has played this year.

“I’ve had such a miserable year, but I hit some balls today and it seemed to be getting better,” he said in a statement. “I’m planning to get geared up to play. I would love to win again, obviously.”

Hebert, the Michigan PGA’s Player of the Year from 2006 through 2010, will be joined in the field by 2011 Player of the Year Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center in Plymouth. Cairns, a two-time Michigan PGA champion, played with the world’s top golfers in the recent PGA Championship at Kiawah Island, S.C., after earning a spot with a top 20 finish in the PGA Professional National Championship last year. The top 10 of next week’s Michigan PGA Championship earn spots in the 2013 Professional National Championship (PNC) field, the first step in qualifying for the 2013 PGA Championship. Cairns (pictured above) missed the cut at the PGA Championship the past two years, but he'll tell you just teeing it up in a major is every club pro's dream.

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