Ryan Brehm Holds Off Joey Garber Charge to Win Michigan Open


HARTLAND – Ryan Brehm and his long game is not short on
state championship trophies.

The 28-year-old PGA Tour Canada golfer has three after
winning the 97
th Michigan Open Championship presented by LaFontaine
Cadillac at Prestwick Village Golf Club Thursday.

The Mount Pleasant native, Grand Rapids resident and former
Michigan State star shot a closing 1-over-par 73 and had to hold off a the
charge of Petoskey’s Joey Garber, who shot 68 and after nine holes of play in
the final round was within one shot.

“It’s a lot of relief right now after a long day,” said
Brehm, who finished with a 20-under-par total of 268, two shots better than
Garber (270) and seven better than six-time Michigan Open champion Scott Hebert
of Grand Traverse Resort and Spa (275).

“I started the day with a large lead and it was difficult to
get the right mind-set throughout the day. Joey Garber played an awesome round
of golf, too. He put a whole lot of pressure on me. I tried to stay patient and
do the things I needed to do to win. It feels really good to have pulled it

For the victory he garnered $8,500 and a one-year lease from
LaFontaine on a new Cadillac. He also will have his name inscribed on the James
Standish Trophy. He is listed twice already having won the Michigan Open in
2009 and ’10.

“This tournament means so much to me because it is at home,
in Michigan and honestly I feel every win gets me one step closer to my goal,
which is to play at the highest level,” he said. “It’s not about the money or
the car, though those are really great and I will enjoy them. It’s about the
satisfaction of accomplishing something, getting the job done.”

Brehm set a Prestwick course record with a 9-under-par 63 in
the third round Wednesday which gave him a seven-shot lead to start the day.

Garber, making his professional debut after a stellar
college career at the University of Georgia, started on fire with five birdies
in the first seven holes, and was within one shot after Brehm pushed a 5-iron
shot over the ninth green and then three-putted for a double-bogey 6. Brehm
birdied No. 10 though, matched Garber’s birdie at No. 15 and saved a clutch par
from in front of the green at No. 17.

“I was feeling good with the putter when I was 5-under
through seven, and I thought I could roll some in late if I needed,” Garber said.
“They just didn’t fall and Ryan did exactly what he had to do. He played a
great back nine given the circumstances. I’m pleased for him and for myself for
giving it a great shot.”

Garber picked up a check of $5,000, Hebert took home $4,000
after his closing 70 and Andy Ruthkoski of Muskegon, the 2007 Michigan Open
champion, tied for fourth at 277 with low amateur Alexander Dombrowski, a
Princeton University golfer from Gaylord. Ruthkoski shot 72 to close and
Dombrowski shot 68.

Willie Mack III of Grand Blanc, a co-leader with Brehm after
each of the first two rounds, finished with a 75 for 278 and sixth place.

Brehm said he didn’t let himself think about the win, the
money or the Cadillac on Wednesday night.

“I don’t even know how to feel about winning a Cadillac,” he
said. “I’m thinking it might just be out of my league, but I’m really going to
enjoy driving it.”

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