BOYNE FALLS – Brighton’s Otto Black, and Kalamazoo’s Barrett Kelpin, past champions of the
Tournament of Champions, shared the lead through the first round of the 31st edition of the unique tournament at Boyne Mountain Resort.
The two mini-tour professionals each turned in 5-under 67s on the Alpine course Monday, finishing just ahead of 68-shooting Ian Ziska of Grand Haven, the head golf professional at American Dunes Golf Club, and Steven Vecellio, a former Michigan professional now working in Florida.
The field of 120 golfers will play another 18 holes Tuesday followed by a 36-hole cut to the low 70 scorers and ties for the final round Wednesday in the 54-hole, $65,000 championship that brings together professionals, amateurs, men, women, seniors and juniors all playing for one trophy from different tee positions.
The two leaders came out of their morning rounds praising the Alpine, some recent changes and the good memories they have from winning on the course in the past.
“The greens are phenomenal, the best I’ve seen them,” said the 29-year-old Black who won his Tournament of Champions title in 2021. “There’s definitely a relaxing feeling out there, some good memories to tap into when I play.”
Kelpin said he is staying with an uncle this week who lives near Boyne Mountain so the tournament feels a little like vacation.
“Just playing a little competitive golf in between doing something fun with your family,” he said. “It’s a nice feeling to be here and I love a lot of the stuff they did to the Alpine. It looks amazing and the course is playing even better than in the past. The greens are immaculate and the new fairways they cut and the way they cut around the bunkers and stuff really looks great.”
Black, who had eight birdies in his round, cautioned that there were still two rounds to go and that more birdies will be required.
“The scores are out there and there are a lot of players here who can score,” he said. “It’s a good start. I feel good about that. I had a few shots I would like back, but I feel good about the way I’m playing.”
Kelpin, who eagled the par 5 No. 12 hole with a 15-foot putt to highlight his round, said he will rely on his experience playing the Alpine the next two days.
“With the lake and the mountain you have to factor in a few things in putting that you otherwise wouldn’t at other courses,” he said. “Plus, there’s still two days to go on the Alpine. I like that, but I also know from experience that I have to keep scoring.”
Eight golfers were gathered just one shot behind the top four. Those shooting 69 included seven professionals and one amateur.
The pros at 69: John Seltzer of Egypt Valley Country Club in Ada, Chris Mory of Meridian Sun Golf Course in Haslett, Patrick Sullivan of Grosse Pointe, Steven Cuzzort of Naples, Fla., Patrick Wilkes-Krier of Kendall Academy in Ypsilanti and Brent Goulding of Prestwick Village Golf Club in Highland.
The amateur at 69: Anthony Sorentino of Rochester Hills.
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, opened with a 70, and defending champion, Brett White, a Grand Rapids native now living in Texas, shot 71.
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.