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Sibling success: Sarah White joins brother Brett as Michigan Open champ

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Earlier this week, Brett White gave his sister, Sarah, a phone call, complete with a little factoid: No brother and sister had ever won their respective Michigan Open championships.

You can't say that anymore.

Sarah White shot a 9-under 63 on Wednesday to come back from five shots back to start the day to win the 29th Michigan PGA Women's Open Championship on the Mountain Ridge course at Crystal Mountain in Thompsonville. Brett White won the men's Michigan Open in 2020.

Sarah White celebrates with her Michigan Open championship Wednesday.

“It’s super fun knowing we both are Michigan Open champs, and he told me now he has to try and one-up me,” Sarah White told reporters Wednesday. "And it is fun to know that going back on the Epson Tour I’ve got a win under my belt this summer and the confidence that comes with that. I’m trying to keep my Epson card and trying to get on the LPGA Tour, so this helps fund my travel and gives me a better chance.”

Sarah White competes on the Epson Tour, the LPGA's developmental circuit, while Brett White plays on the Korn Ferry Tour, the minor leagues for the PGA Tour. The siblings are from Caledonia, south of Grand Rapids.

In her final round Wednesday, Sarah White, 24, had eight birdies and an eagle, and won by four shots.

Jessica Welch of Thomasville, Georgia, finished in second place, while Crystal Wang of Los Angeles and the University of Illinois finished third and was the low amateur. Caroline Powers-Ellis, assistant women’s golf coach at Michigan State, tied for fourth with first-round leader Sandra Angulo Minarro of Mexico.

"It means a lot every time you win a golf tournament because you know that all of your hard work is paying off,” Sarah said. “When it is your week to win, you get the good bounces, you know, and you have all the momentum.”

For winning, Sarah White took the first-place check of $7,000.

She got off to a hot start Wednesday, with birdies in three of her first five holes. Then, at the par-5 sixth hole, she hit a 4 iron from 200 yards to 2 feet, for the eagle.

She made her only bogey at the par-4 16th, making amends with a chip-in birdie at the par-3 17th, setting up a comfortable celebration walk up 18 with father Doug and 92-year-old grandmother Madeline looking on.

The 63, Sarah White said, was her best round ever in tournament competition.

Sarah White played the final round with Sarah Burnham, the 2020 Michigan PGA Women's Open champ, who was part of a group that finished tied for sixth place.

“I think her putter was feeling pretty nice, too,” Burnham told reporters. “She had a good confident round going and it was fun to see her do so well. It did remind me of when I won in 2020.

"I shot 9-under in the last round to win. I knew what she was feeling.”

Last week, Sarah White finished tied for 26th at one of Michigan's three Epson Tour stops — the Island Resort Championship in Harris — after missing the cut the previous week in Ann Arbor.

The Epson Tour returns July 29-31 with the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek.

Sarah White, a Western Michigan and Texas State alum who starred in hockey growing up, has played the Epson Tour since 2020, when she won her tour debut on a special exemption.

Brett White, 29, is in his first year playing the Korn Ferry Tour, and was keeping close tabs on Sarah this week from afar, with the Korn Ferry Tour stop in Colorado.

"Sarah has always been an extremely hard worker; hard work doesn't always equal good golf, but in the long run it will show its results," Brett White, an Eastern Michigan alum, told The News on Wednesday. "She's been getting better every year and I'm really happy to see her win the Michigan Women's Open.

"Winning is contagious and confidence is key in golf. I hope to see her in the winner's circle again soon on the Epson Tour, as I know her main goal is to get on the LPGA Tour.

"I'm very proud of her."

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tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984