Text: Greg Johnson
The Tournament of Champions has become a traditional part of summer at Boyne Mountain Resort, a four-season resort in Boyne Falls, Michigan, and remains one of the most unique gatherings of Michigan’s finest golfers.
Defending-champion Alex Scott of Traverse City, a first-year professional, heads this year’s field of 119 champions starting Monday, July 29, 2019 on the Alpine Course. It is a field of competitors that comprises 18 players who are members of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame and nine, past-winners of the Michigan PGA-sanctioned, Tournament of Champions.
Scott was the first amateur to win in the history of the unique tournament that brings juniors, seniors, professionals, and amateurs of both sexes to the field; all playing for one title from different tee positions. All who are invited have won selected significant Michigan golf championships—both amateur and professional.
“It’s another strong field with great champions, professional and amateur, college players, mini-tour professionals, and several of our top Michigan PGA Section players and Hall of Fame members,” said Justin Phillips, the tournament director for the Michigan PGA Section. “It is the 28th year and it remains one of the most unique tournaments in the country.”
The 18 Michigan Golf Hall of Famers in the field include Bob Ackerman, Ken Allard, Steve Brady, Ron Beurmann, Brian Cairns, Greg Davies, Randy Erskine, Tom Harding, Scott Hebert, Lynn Janson, Dave Kendall, Larry Mancour, Suzy Green-Roebuck, Jeff Roth, Jack Seltzer, John Traub, Tom Werkmeister, and Buddy Whitten.
Past champions competing this year comprise Scott; Mike Nagy, 2017; Korey Mahoney, 2016; Barrett Kelpin, 2015; Andy Ruthkoski, 2013 and 2014; Jeff Roth, 1995, 1996, 1999, 2008, and 2012; Lee Houtteman, 2011; Scott Hebert, 2009; and Tom Harding, 1997.
They will join champions from all the categories and even members of the same families in the three-day, 54-hole, and stroke-play championship on two courses. The Monday round and Wednesday’s final round are on the classic Alpine course, and Tuesdays round is on The Monument course. A 36-hole cut to the low 60 scorers and ties follows the second round. This year’s purse for the professionals is $55,000.
While a celebration of champions, the tournament is also a family affair. Family combinations entered for this year’s event feature: brothers Andrew and Travis Dodson, brothers Ben and Josh Proben, father-son Jack and John Seltzer, father-son Frank and Frank IV McAuliffe, father-son Tom and Parker Jamieson, father-son Denis and Darrin Husse, and father-son Gary and Brad Smithson.
Scott turned professional earlier this summer and was working with a conditional status on the Mackenzie Tour PGA-Canada when three weeks ago suddenly needed appendicitis surgery.
“It hit me really fast,” Scott said. “I started feeling discomfort about 11:30 a.m. in the morning that day and I was in surgery by 9:30 p.m. that night. By 3:00 p.m. in the afternoon I couldn’t stand up. It was really painful. It was brutal.”
The former Grand-Valley-State-University-standout said he has been playing again in recent days, and this week is playing in the Kalamazoo Invitational before heading north to Boyne Mountain.
“I’m not stressing about it; sitting at home thinking I should be practicing,” Scott said. “I’m not going to do anything rash. I have to let it heal. The incisions are still sensitive. It was a forced break and not at a good time because I missed chances to qualify on the Mackenzie Tour [PGA-Canada].”
Scott also said he feels close to playing well and while not quite back to his normal self, is getting better every day.
“It’s just a matter of time,” Scott said. “I still feel like I should go to Boyne and I expect to be near the top. I’ve grown in the last two or three years. I know that I’ve been working on the right stuff and that the good play will come, maybe not tomorrow, or in five days or three days, but it will come.”
A year ago, Scott shot the best round of his life tying the course- and tournament-record with an 11-under par at 61 in the final round on the Alpine Course, and then won a sudden-death playoff with Mackenzie Tour player Sam Weatherhead of Grand Rapids.
Boyne Mountain Resort is a family-owned, four-season resort part of the BOYNE portfolio of Michigan destinations in the Lower Peninsula. Established in 1948, Boyne Mountain has since developed into a renowned resort recognized by Conde Nast Traveler, TripAdvisor, Budget Travel, and Spa Magazine.
It is home to The Alpine and The Monument golf courses, as well as 60 runs on nearly 415 acres of skiable area. From cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, lift-serviced mountain biking, disc golf facilities and kids programs, to Solace Spa, Avalanche Bay, Zipline Adventures, lodging, real estate, and meeting and wedding facilities; Boyne Mountain has been delighting visitors for more than 70 years.
The Alpine and The Monument are also part of BOYNE Golf, which is a collection of ten courses at three resorts—Boyne Highlands, Boyne Mountain, and Inn at Bay Harbor—located within 15 miles of Petoskey, Michigan.