Blogs > From The Bleacher Seats

A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Hutchison smiles at the birdie

Photo by Ray J. Skowronek
Randy Hutchison of Traverse City proudly finished atop the leader board at 2011 Michigan Open played at The Orchards in Washington Township.

WASHINGTON TOWNSHIP - Step aside, Days of Our Lives.
You, too, General Hospital.
All the afternoon drama anyone could possibly want took place at The Orchards during the waning moments of the fourth and final round of the 94th Michigan Open Thursday afternoon.
Traverse City’s Randy Hutchison carded a dramatic birdie on the 18th hole to erase a one-stroke deficit to the University of Michigan’s Matt Thompson and capture the tournament championship.
“I knew I had to make a birdie, and I didn't expect Matt to make a bogey,” said Hutchison.
Thompson, who will be a senior at U-M this fall, had birdied holes 16 and 17 to take a one-shot lead.
“My last birdie had been on the sixth hole, so I was due for one,” said Hutchison.
He proceeded to rip a drive off the 18th tee, and then hit a poached egg sand wedge to just two feet for the final birdie, while Thompson missed the green with a 7-iron shot. Thompson also just missed making the ensuing chip shot from left of the green and finally missed a seven-foot par-saving putt.
Hutchison knocked his final short putt in for the win.
Hutchison won $10,000 and heads back to the NGA Hooters Tour. His final birdie gave him a 2-under-par 70 for a 16-under-par 272 total.
Thompson finished at 273 with a 68.
Hutchinson started Thursday’s round with a three-stroke lead.
“Winning a pro tour event has always been a dream of mine,” said Hutchison. “I have won at the amateur level and the collegiate level, but this is my second year playing pro golf. It feels even better to get my first win in my home state.”
While Hutchison plans to celebrate his victory, it won’t be a long-lived celebration.  He’ll be back in his 2003 Dodge Stratus with 131,000 proud miles on its odometer soon enough, heading to North Carolina to resume his life on the Hooters Tour.
“It costs about $2,000 a week on the tour,” said Hutchison. “The entry fees alone are about $1,100 per tournament.”
Add in a week’s accommodations at a Super 8 or a Red Roof Inn, meals, laundry, toiletries and hey, the Stratus does not run on hay.
The check for $10,000 he received yesterday gives him a nice five-week cushion back on the Hooters Tour.
While the winner will be heading to North Carolina, Thompson will be returning to Ann Arbor soon for his senior year. He’s majoring in psychology.
Upon graduation, he will turn pro and most likely play the Gateway Tour based in Arizona. His parents recently moved from Michigan to Arizona.
“I’m definitely looking forward to turning pro. It’ll be nice to get to that next step and see what I can do,” said Thompson.
Thompson attended Lakeview High School in Battle Creek.
Brian Ottenweller, a former University of Michigan player now on the mini-tour circuit, finished at 275 and in third place with a 67.
Muskegon pro Andy Ruthkoski, the 2007 Open champion, shot 70 for 279 and fourth place, and Ann Arbor amateur Martin Jeppesen, an Eastern Michigan University golfer, shot 66 for 280 and fifth place. Sixth place went to mini-tour pro Ryan Lenahan of Grosse Pointe Shores, who shot a course-record 63 for 281. PGA Tour star Mike Weir was the previous record-holder at 65.
Thompson, who was also second in the 2009 Michigan Open, missed at being the first amateur to win a state Open since 1975.
“I feel like Randy beat me,” he said. “I made bogey on the last hole, missed the green, then just missed that chip, but I shot 68 today and was 15-under. I can’t be too disappointed. To have a two-shot swing like that is an emotional roller coaster, but I played well. I just came up short and Randy beat me. He made a great birdie there to win.”
The Michigan Open returns to The Orchards in 2012.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home