TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: Barrett Kelpin Shoots 64, Builds Five-Shot Lead at Boyne Mountain Resort
BOYNE FALLS – Barrett Kelpin of Kalamazoo said he felt like he had the green light all day.
It showed. The 34-year-old mini-tour professional fired an 8-under 64 in the red numbers on the Alpine course Tuesday and built a commanding five-shot lead heading into Wednesday’s final round of the 31st Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain Resort.
“The last couple of days I’ve done a good job of keeping the ball below the hole and leaving myself good chances,” said Kelpin, who won the 2015 Tournament of Champions. “I think that’s my best round here. I shot 7-under the year I won, but today I had a lot of green-light looks where I could be aggressive and I made some nice putts.”
His 13-under 131 total for 36 holes left him five shots ahead of fellow touring pro Otto Black of Brighton, who shot a 69 for 136, and six shots ahead of the defending champion, PGA Tour Canada player Brett White, a Grand Rapid native who jumped into the mix with a 66 for 137.
Evan Bowser, a Dearborn native and pro now living in Naples, Fla., shot 66 to finish at 138 and is tied with three other pros who all shot 69 in the second round: Steven Cuzzort, a Grosse Ile native also living in Naples, John Seltzer, the director of instruction at Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, and Ann Arbor teaching pro Patrick Wilkes-Krier of Kendall Golf Academy.
Black, the 2021 Tournament of Champions winner who was tied for the lead with Kelpin after round one, said he started slow but rallied in his round to stay in the mix.
“I just had a couple of bad swings early, but nothing too crazy and I made a good comeback the last 10 holes,” he said. “It’s all still right in front of me. I finished strong and I will try to come and make putts and finish strong tomorrow. Anything is possible.”
White, who now lives in Houston, said his 66 was built on continued good play from the back nine of his first round.
“I had a slow start, but it was better today and tomorrow I hope to get started early and maybe put some pressure on Barrett,” he said. “The greens are great. Birdies are possible if you hit the right spots like I did today.”
Kelpin had a three-putt bogey on No. 3 early in his round, but then hit a second-shot 7-iron to six feet and made eagle 3 at the par 5 No. 5 hole. He followed that with consecutive birdies at 6, 7 and 8, and he also birdied 14, 15 and 16 in-a-row before closing with a birdie at 18. He has 12 birdies and two eagles over the two days.
“The eagle got me going after a weak three-putt bogey early,” he said. “I started hitting good shots to the right spots after that.”
Kelpin, who counts some mini-tour wins along with his wins in Michigan, has some experience with leads and low scores. He held the lead throughout the final round when he won the 2012 Michigan Open at The Orchards in Washington Township with a 23-under score, which matched the all-time best score for an Open first set in 1948 by Chick Harbert at Tam O’Shanter Country Club. He also held the lead throughout the final round in 2015 when he won the Tournament of Champions on the Alpine course.
“It’s been a while since I had a win and the lead going into the last round, but I feel really good about it and how I’m playing,” he said. “Some family is up here so it was really nice to play well in front of them today, and I’m going to give it my all tomorrow.”
The 36-hole cut to the low 70 scorers and ties was at 6-over 150 and 74 players of the 120 starters will play in the final round of the unique championship that brings together professionals, amateurs, men, women, seniors and juniors all playing for one trophy from different tee positions.
Kelpin, Black and White, the final group, will tee off at 9:48 a.m. At stake, a $9,000 first-place check from a $66,500 purse. The winner also has his name inscribed on the Walter Burkemo Trophy, receives a traditional green dinner jacket and a membership to the Country Club of Boyne.
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 email@example.com For Boyne Mountain and BOYNE Golf information, contact Ken Griffin at firstname.lastname@example.org or 231-439-4943.
SCORING: Live scoring and tee times are available at www.michiganpga.com
NOTE: Gallery is welcome. Parking and admission are free.
ATTACHED: An action photo of Barrett Kelpin from Tuesday’s second round.