BACK TO BOYNE: Brett White to Defend at Tournament of Champions
BOYNE FALLS, MI – Brett White, bouncing between the Korn Ferry Tour and PGA Tour Canada this summer, is bringing his game back to Boyne Mountain Resort as the defending champion for the 31st Tournament of Champions starting Monday.
“I love getting up north and seeing old friends and teammates, the guys I used to play against in tournaments like the Michigan Amateur and West Michigan Amateur, the older pros who showed us the way, friends and women who competed with my sister (Epson Tour player Sarah) – it’s just a really unique event,” said the 30-year-old Grand Rapids native who is now living in Texas and chasing the PGA Tour dream. “As long as this works in my schedule I will do it. And I want to go up and see what I can do again.”
A year ago White shot a closing even-par 72 on the Alpine course for 12-under 204 total to win by four shots. He took home the $9,000 first-place check from the $65,000 purse and had his name added to the Walter Burkemo Trophy.
The wire-to-wire winner was also awarded the traditional green dinner jacket and became a Country Club of Boyne member for winning the unique tournament that brings together Michigan championship-winning men, women, professionals, amateurs, seniors and juniors playing for the same title from different tee positions.
It was also the same week he said his wedding vows with wife Natalie, who will be on hand for a tournament celebration of their first anniversary.
“It was the week of my wedding and the tournament was something I had wanted to do ever since I won the Michigan Open (2020), which got me in,” he said. “It meant a lot. My dad (Doug) was on the bag for me. It gave me some confidence in a tough year of golf for me, gave me some financial help, especially with the wedding. It was a really memorable week.”
This year White heads the unique field of 125 champions, including 12 Michigan Golf Hall of Fame members and eight former winners of the Tournament of Champions. The professionals will once again play for a $65,000 purse and everybody plays for the trophy and green jacket.
Six-time winner of the Tournament of Champions and Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Jeff Roth, who teaches at the BOYNE Golf Academy at The Highlands in Harbor Springs, heads the parade of former winners in the field: Roth (winner in 2019, ’12, ’08, 1999, ’96 and ’95), White (2022), Otto Black (2021), Korey Mahoney (2016), Barrett Kelpin (2015), Andy Ruthkoski (2014 and 2013), Scott Hebert (2009) and Tom Harding (1997).
The Michigan Golf Hall of Famers playing, in addition to Roth, include Ron Beurmann, Steve Brady, Elaine Crosby, Greg Davies, Randy Erskine, Tom Harding, Scott Hebert, Dave Kendall, Jack Seltzer, John Traub and Tom Werkmeister.
The field also includes 2022 Michigan PGA Professional Champion Kyle Martin, 2020 and 2021 Michigan PGA Professional champion Benny Cook, 2022 Hall Financial Michigan Open winner Jake Kneen, 2022 Michigan Amateur winner Nick Krueger, 2020 Michigan Amateur champion Tyler Copp and 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur runner-up Jerry Gunthorpe.
Bradley Smithson, the 2021 Michigan Open winner, is in the same field as his father Gary, and they are not alone as relatives competing against each other in what has become a family affair of champions, too.
Also playing are the brother-sister combination of Evan and Elayna Bowser, father-daughter Tom and Caroline Harding, father-son Jack and John Seltzer, father-son Denis and Darren Husse, father-son Jim and Austin Dieters, father-son Tom and Parker Jamieson, father-son Frank and Frank McAuliffe IV, and brothers Josh and Ben Proben.
“It’s another amazing 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 Section PGA, which sanctions and administers the unique championship. “It is the 31st year and it remains one of the most unique tournaments in the country at one of the top resorts in the country.”
The field, the largest to enter in 15 years, will play the 54-hole stroke play championship on the Alpine. A 36-hole cut to the low 70 scorers and ties will be made after the second round.
White said the Alpine course is a true Northern Michigan experience.
“It has that up-north feel and I’m excited to test my game out on it again,” he said. “You have to drive the ball well and I putted really well on the Alpine last year. I know a lot of people struggle to read the greens there with the mountain, but I had a real good week last year in my first time there.”
ABOUT BOYNE MOUNTAIN RESORT: Boyne Mountain has been a favorite Midwest destination since 1948. The family-owned, four-season resort has earned Certificates of Excellence from TripAdvisor, and has been recognized by Conde Nast Traveler readers as being among the top 50 Best Places to Ski and Stay in North America. The waterpark is listed among Budget Travel’s Top 10 Indoor facilities and the resort is a readers’ choice favorite of Spa Magazine. Boyne Mountain recently added Skybridge Michigan to their list of attractions, the world’s longest timber suspension bridge spanning over 1100 feet sitting 120 feet over the valley floor. Boyne Mountain is home to The Alpine and The Monument golf courses, as well as 60 runs on 415 skiable acres. Cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, Solace Spa, Michigan’s largest indoor waterpark, Zipline Adventures, disc golf facilities, lift-serviced mountain biking, beach activities, kids programs, lodging, meeting, and wedding facilities as well as real-estate are offered at the resort.
BOYNE Golf is a collection of ten courses at three resorts The Highlands, Boyne Mountain Resort and the Inn at Bay Harbor located within 15 miles of Petoskey, MI. Beyond the world-class golf, Boyne Golf is centered amid one of America’s most beautiful vacation spots. The scenic Lake Michigan beach towns of Charlevoix, Harbor Springs and Petoskey are minutes away, and a side trip to Mackinac Island is easily managed. Guests can enjoy award-winning spas, waterfront dining, sandy beaches, watersports, gaming, microbreweries, wineries, hiking, biking, tennis, zip-lining, shopping and more capped by the spectacular northern Michigan sunsets. For more information on BOYNE Golf, visit www.BOYNEgolf.com.
MEDIA CONTACTS: Connect with media coordinator Greg Johnson at 616-560-8995 or firstname.lastname@example.org if you plan to cover the championship. For Boyne Mountain and BOYNE Golf information, contact Ken Griffin at email@example.com or 231-439-4943. Justin Phillips is the tournament director for the Michigan PGA. He can be reached at 517-641-7421 or JPhillips@michiganpga.com.
SCORING: Live scoring and tee times will be available at www.michiganpga.com