HIGHLAND – Benny Cook won the historic 100th Michigan PGA Professional Championship by four shots Wednesday at Prestwick Village Golf Club, but said he never felt comfortable.
“I won by what, four shots, it was never that close,” he said. “I was grinding out there, and it was within two shots after 14 and it came close to being one shot after 15, and the golf course only firmed up and got a lot harder through the week. Today, I mean, there were some putts that were super slippery. I three-putted twice and I didn’t think I had bad putts.”
Cook, a teaching professional from Yankee Springs Golf Course in Wayland, shot a final 1-under 71 for a 10-under 206, besting Kyle Dobbs of Walnut Creek Country Club by four shots. Dobbs closed with a 72, just missing birdie on the par 5 15th, and then making bogeys on Nos. 16 and 17 as Cook parred his way through the final holes.
Three golfers tied for third at 211; Chad Kurmel of Forest Akers West at Michigan State University, who shot 70, Christopher Sullivan, a sales representative for Sun Mountain, who shot 71, and Tim Pearce of Birmingham Country Club, who shot 73.
Five-time champion Jeff Roth of Boyne Golf Academy shot 68 for 213, and Kosta Ramirez of Treetops Resort shot 74 for 214 to round out the seven golfers who finished under par on the firm and fast Prestwick course.
Cook, who will have his name put on the Gilbert A. Currie Trophy for the second consecutive year, took home the $7,000 first-place check and will receive a sponsor’s exemption into the PGA Tour’s Rocket Mortgage Classic next summer at Detroit Golf Club.
“Playing the Rocket will be sweet,” he said. “It’s awesome to win again. I’m happy I played well. The course was very challenging and I felt like I did all right. It’s hard to win on any stage. If Kyle makes his (birdie) putt on 15 who knows what happens? I’m just happy I made a couple good pars coming in and pulled it off.”
Cook, because of his status on the PGA Tour Latinoamerica and his low club professional finish in the PGA Championship earlier this year at Kiawah Island, S.C., is exempt through the first stage of Korn Ferry Tour qualifying. He will go to second stage in October.
“It’s good momentum for sure,” he said. “Winning on a tough course like this against a great field, it helped me get better.”
Dobbs, 46 and a Michigan native who returned to the state from Cape Cod, Mass., to work at Walnut Creek, said his game wasn’t sharp enough to catch Cook.
“I don’t practice and play much anymore, so I just kind of come out and see if I can find it for the week,” he said. “This week I put a few things together even though I wasn’t as sharp as I wanted to be. I gave (Cook) my best, and he’s obviously a really good player. I knew my mistakes had to be minimal because he doesn’t give anything back.”
The low nine golfers in the championship besides Cook, Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club, Roth, Pearce and Cody Haughton of Red Run Golf Club who are already exempt, earned spots in the 2022 PGA Professional National Championship next April at Omni Barton Creek Resort & Spa in Austin, Texas. The low 20 finishers from that national club pro championship move on to play with the best players in the world at next year’s PGA Championship at Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla.
Those securing one of the nine spots; Dobbs, Kurmel, Sullivan, Ramirez, Frank McAuliffe of Meadowbrook Country Club, Jim Deiters of Midland Country Club, Kyle Martin of Lochmoor Club, Scott Brotebeck of Flint Golf Club and Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club.
The historic 100th Michigan PGA Professional Championship was presented by Cadillac, ROLEX and Club Car with supporting sponsors Nike, TaylorMade, Titleist/Footjoy, the Golf Channel and the PGA Tour.
For complete results click HERE