DEARBORN – TPC Michigan has hosted major championships featuring the likes of its designer Jack Nicklaus, Arnold Palmer and Gary Player, so it is sure to test the field of 114 junior boy golfers in the 42nd Michigan Junior State Amateur Championship starting Monday.
The Michigan Junior State Amateur features a field of juniors (age 18-and-under) determined by past performance or via sectional qualifiers presented in recent weeks across the state.
TPC Michigan’s stunning Jack Nicklaus Signature Course, which opened in 1990, was built on land originally purchased by Henry Ford and then donated by Ford Motor Company. It is two miles from Ford World Headquarters and is operated by ClubCorp.
It was the world’s first course to receive the John James Audubon Environmental Steward Award for ecological restoration. The challenging links-style layout features rolling fairways, tiered greens typical of Nicklaus designs and natural wetlands with tee options ranging from 6,100 to 7,000 yards.
Golf legends played the course during the 16 years (1991-2006) when it hosted The Ford Senior Players Championship, one of five major championships on the PGA Tour Champions.
The course has also been an active member of the Golf Association of Michigan hosting several tournaments and GAM Golf Days over the years. This will be the first time it will serve as host of the Michigan Junior State Amateur. Heath Morden is the head golf professional, and Kevin Brooks is the superintendent.
Those juniors playing in the overall division will play 36 holes of stroke play Monday to determine a medalist and top seed to lead the low scoring 32 golfers into the match play bracket.
A 15-and-under division is also being presented with 18 holes of stroke play Tuesday. In the overall division, first-round or round of 32 matches are Tuesday with second round and quarterfinals on Wednesday. Semifinal and championship matches for both age divisions are on Thursday.
Last year Clarkston’s Patrick Deardorff turned beat Tommy Sullivan of Grosse Pointe 3 and 2 in the final match to win. Sullivan was the stroke play medalist and top seed, and he is returning to head the field this year. Deardorff is not defending as a 19-year-old who has moved on to college golf with Eastern Michigan University.
The 15-and-under champion of a year ago, Ryan O’Rourke of West Bloomfield, is back as is runner-up Joe Murdock of Ada. They are competing this year in the overall division.
Another notables in the field is this summer’s GAM Junior Kickoff winner PJ Maybank III of Cheboygan, and the runner-up in that championship, Jack Zubkus of Ada.
The list of champions in the history of the tournament is impressive and includes tour players Ryan Brehm and Joey Garber.