Local golf roundup: MSU grad Donnie Trosper wins $5K, first pro paycheck

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Every year, Donnie Trosper sets his goals for the next 12 months — and they're often pretty simple.

Just do better than the year before.

Trosper has definitely accomplished that in 2020, which isn't close to over on the competitive golf front. But he's already made his first two PGA Tour starts, and this past week, he earned his first cash as a professional, winning a mini-tour event in Ohio and taking home the $5,000, first-place check.

Donnie Trosper

Trosper finished 12 under over two rounds at Clovernook Country Club in Cincinnati, to win by two shots, his latest impressive performance — and the latest fine effort from a recent state college graduate or a current state college golfer.

"It's huge. It's definitely been a huge year so far," said Trosper, 23, a Canton native and former Michigan State golfer. "It just seems like every year, I try to one-up myself and this year I kind of did.

"It's weird, I didn't think I'd actually do it, playing last year in the U.S. Amateur.

"But I worked hard and it's kind of working out, I guess."

Next up for Trosper is the Michigan Open, set for Aug. 31-Sept. 3 at Grand Traverse Resort.

Then, Trosper plans to head to Florida, either Orlando or the golf mecca that is Jupiter, and work on his game, play the mini-tours and try to secure some entries into Korn Ferry Tour events.

The $5,000 check will help a little bit, as he's been looking for sponsors, to no avail. He's currently being spotted by his parents, Don and Gail, who own Mickey's Golf Range in Westland. But they're 64 and eyeballing retirement soon, so Trosper would like to pay them back.

"I feel bad," he said. "This definitely frees me up a bit."

Earlier this summer, Trosper — who was a legendary junior golfer, once winning four American Junior Golf Association tournaments in a single season — qualified for back-to-back PGA Tour tournaments, first the Rocket Mortgage Classic in Detroit, then the Workday Charity Open the following week in Dublin, Ohio.

He was the first player to Monday qualify for consecutive PGA Tour tournaments since Steve Allan did it last season, at the John Deere Classic and Barbasol Championship.

That little stretch was interesting, in that it gave him more confidence than he'd ever had before, and then just as quickly took that good feeling away — especially when he finished dead last in Detroit. He then missed the cut at Workday.

"When you get here and come dead last, it completely killed my confidence," Trosper said. "But I'm still fairly young, just 23 years old. I can build off it, take what I learned and have success down the road."

Oakland alum Jake Kneen, who like Trosper also played in his first PGA Tour tournament this year, finished in a four-way tie for second at Clovernook, two shots back of Trosper.

Here's a look at current state college golf standouts who've had some impressive showings lately, on the heels of their spring seasons being canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic:

►Michigan State junior Valery Plata made the semifinals of the U.S. Women's Amateur, falling to 2019 winner Gabriella Ruffels, 2 and 1, in her bid to make the championship at Woodmont Country Club in Rockville, Maryland.

Plata, from Colombia, was runner-up in the stroke-play portion of the tournament, and one of three Spartans to make the match play, along with senior Yurika Tanida and junior Haylin Harris. Plata actually beat Harris during the opening round of match play, 3 and 1.

Michigan sophomore Hailey Borja made match play, falling in the Round of 32. 

►In the men's U.S. Amateur, which is concluding Sunday at Bandon Dunes in Oregon, Michigan State senior James Piot (Canton) was runner-up in stroke play, earning the No. 2 seed in the match-play portion. He survived his opener on the 19th hole, but lost in the Round of 32.

►Eastern Michigan senior Julia Stevenson (Milford) won the GAM Women's Championship at Muskegon Country Club, beating Michigan sophomore Anika Dy (Traverse City) by three shots.

►Eastern Michigan senior Cougar Collins won the Ontario Men's Amateur Championship at Otter Creek Golf Club in Otterville, Ontario.


Twitter: @tonypaul1984