East Lansing’s Chad Kurmel shot 3-under 69 to build a three-shot lead in the second round of the 97th Michigan PGA Professional Championship at Flint Golf Club Tuesday.
The Spartan Golf Academy teaching professional was at 10-under 134. Three shots back was the foursome of eight-time champion Scott Hebert of Traverse City Golf & Country Club, who rallied with a 67, Travis Dodson of Meadowbrook Country Club in Northville, who shot 70, Josh Fryer of Franklin Hills Country Club, who shot 68, and Ben Cook of Cascade Hills in Grand Rapids, who shot 71.
“I managed it around despite a little bit of nerves today,” said Kurmel, who led after round one with a 65. “I knew I didn’t have the same game, but I held together well and didn’t hit any real bad shots and managed the course. I had a better ball-striking day yesterday, and kind of scraped it around today.”
The 36-hole cut fell at 6-over-par 150 with 64 players advancing to Wednesday’s final round in the 54-hole $54,000 championship.
The low nine golfers at the end of the tournament, along with Hebert and Jeff Roth of Boyne Highlands Resort, who are exempt from qualification, will play in the 2019 PGA Professional National Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, S.C., next April 28 – May 1. The low 20 finishers from that national event move on to play with the best players in the world at next year’s PGA Championship at Bethpage Black in Farmingdale, N.Y.
Cook, who is currently tied for second on the leaderboard, is competing in the tournament to earn one of nine spots for the 2019 PGA Professional National Championship at Belfair in Bluffton, S.C., next April 28-May 1.
He is ineligible to win the section title and trophy under a Michigan PGA rule that requires 60 days of employment in the Michigan Section of the PGA prior to the major championship.
The Michigan PGA Section Assistant’s Championship he won last week does not fall under the same rule, which is for the major championships only. If he finishes at the top of the leaderboard he will not be declared the champion, though he will win his place’s share of the $54,000 purse.
“It’s a unique situation where we have really the two tournaments in one – the section championship and the nine spots in the PGA Professional National Championship,” Michigan PGA executive director Kevin Helm said. “The rule is there, however, and Ben has been advised of it and understands the situation. We will determine a section champion Wednesday, and we will fill nine spots in the national championship.”
Cook said he understands the rule, and his goals remain in place.
“I want to win, and I want to go to the PNC,” he said after an up-and-down road of eight birdies and seven bogeys. “Right now, I’m just disappointed with the way I played today. I had four three-putts. My lag putting was really awful.”