HIGHLAND – Bothered by his tie for 10th finish a week ago in the Michigan PGA Assistants Championship, Birmingham Country Club’s Tim Pearce went to work.
“I put a lot of work in the last week on a couple of minor tweaks and I was hitting it good enough over the weekend to go for a bogey free round today and that’s just what I did,” he said after a 5-under 67 put him in the lead through the first round of the 101st Michigan PGA Professional Championship Monday at Prestwick Village Golf Club.
“Just steady, stayed away from having bad holes, simple as that. It was not because I hit it bad last week or anything like that, but I made a couple tweaks to the putting and a couple of swing things and I found something that worked.”
It worked for a two-shot lead on a sixsome of golfers who shot 69 including 2015 champion Dan Urban of Gull Lake Country Club.
The others: Two-time Michigan PGA Match Play champion Kyle Martin of Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods, Garrick Hunger of Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester, Josh Fryer of Franklin Hills Country Club, Shaun Bezilla of Harbor Point Golf Club and Ian Ziska of American Dunes Golf Club in Grand Haven.
Adam Powers of Barton Hills Country Club in Ann Arbor, Jim Dieters of Midland Country Club and Kyle Dobbs of Oak Pointe Country Club in Brighton made up the group at 70.
Two Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members and former multiple winners, five-time champion Jeff Roth of Boyne Golf Academy and two-time champion Steve Brady of Oakland Hills Country Club in Bloomfield Hills, were in the group that shot 71. The others at 71 were 2017 champion John Seltzer of Seltzer Golf School in Grand Rapids and Adam Schumacher of Point O’Woods Golf & Country Club in Benton Harbor.
A cut to the low 60 and ties follows Tuesday’s second round in the $54,000 54-hole championship.
The 27-year-old Pearce, who made five birdies, jumped in front with birdies at holes 15 and 16 on the way in.
“I love this golf course, I always find myself playing really well here,” said Pearce, who tied for third a year ago for his best finish in the championship. “I’m looking forward to two more rounds. It’s just a matter of playing well under pressure and at the right times.”
Pearce played in the afternoon and it was Urban and Hunger who topped the players who played in the morning.
The 48-year-old Urban, who used to work as an assistant professional at Prestwick Village, said he hit a couple of squirrely shots early in his round but made a few good putts coming in.
“The course was playing fantastic, tough but receptive conditions and I’m always comfortable out there, knowing where the ball is going to go and the carry over some bunkers and things like that,” he said. “I’m a little bit surprised. I haven’t been playing much and when I have it has been terrible. This place though, it is generous in the right places for me.”
The low nine golfers at the end of the tournament besides Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club and Roth, who are already exempt, will play in the 2023 PGA Professional National Championship next April at Twin Warriors & Santa Ana Pueblo Golf Clubs in New Mexico. The low 20 finishers from that championship move on to play with the best players in the world at the 105th PGA Championship.
The championship also includes the second playing of the Michigan PGA Professional Women’s Championship, which will be concluded after the second round. Erin Fuchik of Detroit Golf Club was low after the first round with a 79.
RESULTS: See michiganpga.com
MEDIA CONTACT: Greg Johnson, 616-560-8995, email@example.com
SPONSORS: The Michigan PGA Professional Championship is presented by Club Car and Cadillac with supporting sponsors Nike, TaylorMade, Titleist/Footjoy, Callaway Golf, the Golf Channel and the PGA Tour.