Master of the Mitten: Broadhurst's Ally Challenge victory completes state sweep
Grand Blanc — Paul Broadhurst is starting to like the state of Michigan.
And why not? The 53-year-old English golfer has had quite the year on this side of the Atlantic, specifically here in the Great Lakes State.
At the end of May, Broadhurst captured his first major championship by winning the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor. On Sunday, he finished the sweep of the state by winning the inaugural Ally Challenge at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club.
“I think Roger Chapman did that a few years ago,” Broadhurst said. “It’s great to be back here and win once again.”
For Chapman, the double-dip came in 2012 when he won the Senior PGA Championship at Harbor Shores in May then won the U.S. Senior Open in July at Indianwood Country Club in Lake Orion.
Broadhurst pulled of his second win by shooting a 6-under 66 on Sunday to finish at 15-under for the tournament, birdieing No. 18 and finishing two shots clear of first-round leader Brandt Jobe, who was at 13-under after carding a 5-under 67 in the final round.
Three shots back were both Mark O’Meara and Tom Lehman. O’Meara, playing in the same group with Broadhurst, found himself tied for the lead through 11 holes after a Broadhurst bogey. However, O’Meara bogeyed No. 12 while Broadhurst birdied to create a two-shot gap that O’Meara was never able to close, even at the par-5 16th when he was just off the green in two shots.
“What really hurt was, obviously, three-putting 12 from back edge and not making birdie there and then three-putting the par-5 for par,” O’Meara said. “But granted, they were tough putts. I could have hit better iron shot coming in. I just didn’t hit it close enough, but I was proud of the way I played.”
Meanwhile, Jobe birdied five of the first six holes on the back nine but couldn’t gain another shot over the final three holes.
“It’s frustrating because you only get so many chances, right?” Jobe said. “I had a good chance today, especially the way I played the back nine and where I was. … Every hole I had a great chance on the back nine, that’s all you can ask for. I just didn’t get it done.”
That left Lehman as the last player on the course to have a shot of running down Broadhurst. But a missed birdie at 13 followed by pars at 16 and 17 left him one shot back on the 18th tee as Broadhurst was ahead in the fairway.
However, just after Broadhurst stuck his approach to 10 feet, he glanced back and saw Lehman’s drive go left into the trees.
“I was fortunate that I saw Tom tee off the 18th and saw him in the trees,” Broadhurst said. “I didn’t guess he was going to make a three from there. So (the putt) was a bit of a lag.”
Even a birdie at the last hole from Lehman wouldn’t have mattered as Broadhurst sank his putt to the cheers of the gallery surrounding the 18th green.
“I was really pleased to birdie the last,” Broadhurst said. “It was a bit of dream come true. I had the perfect yardage. I hit a bullet of a tee shot then had a great yardage (on my approach) for my 52 (degree wedge) then hit it to 10 feet.”
With his chance to tie gone, Lehman finished with a bogey at 18 but lamented his missed opportunities throughout the round after entering Sunday tied for the lead.
“Not birdieing 16 hurt,” Lehman said. “I didn’t really give myself a lot of chances today. I hit a few tee shots that I really liked on the front nine that ended up in the rough, really bad lies where I was handcuffed and couldn’t get it close to the hole and made a bogey as a result. The ninth hole I hit it right down the middle and ended up in lie I could barely get a club on.
“But I had other chances, too, and didn’t take advantage. I missed a short one at 13 and a few others, so Paul just played better. I’m disappointed but I still played well, so have to walk away feeling proud of the effort.”
It wasn’t as great of a week for a couple of local players.
Lake Orion’s Tom Gillis, who finished third in each of his first two Champions Tour events this season, finished at 7-over for the tournament, ahead of just three other golfers after shooting 3-over 75 on Sunday. Grandville’s Tom Werkmeister fared a bit better, shooting even-par 72 to come in at 2-under for the tournament.