Brett White's getting married, so he skipped Rocket qualifier — and won Michigan's TOC

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Typically, Brett White would've played in Monday's qualifier for the Rocket Mortgage Classic.

But this is no normal week. White is getting married Sunday, and had he qualified for the Rocket, and made the cut at Detroit Golf Club, well, that just wasn't going to work.

So White decided to play in the Michigan PGA's Tournament of Champions on the Alpine course at Boyne instead, and it proved a good decision. White, 29, of Caledonia in west Michigan, went wire-to-wire to win the 54-hole tournament by four strokes, taking home the $9,000 first-place check — which amounts to nearly a fourth of what he's made in his rookie season on the Korn Ferry Tour this year.

White also was given an honorary Boyne membership.

Brett White won the Tournament of Champions.

“I’m really glad I got the chance to play in this,” White told reporters after taking the title Wednesday afternoon. "“That was one of the big perks of winning the Michigan Open (2020), getting to play in this with a lot of the golfers who helped me and taught me how to conduct myself when I was a junior, a lot of my friends, college buddies and then some of the women who have competed with my sister (reigning Michigan Women's Open champion Sarah White, a member of the Symetra Tour)."

The Tournament of Champions, with a $65,000 purse, includes recent tournament winners including men, women, pros, amateurs, seniors and juniors, playing for the same title, but from different tees.

Beau Breault, of Howell, who was a teammate of White's at Eastern Michigan, finished second, tied with Frank McAuliffe, a senior at teaching pro at Meadowbrook in Northville. Breault closed with a 73, McAuliffe with a 69, and White, who finished with 72, never led by fewer than three shots all day Wednesday. He started the round with a three-shot lead.

Michigan State's Bradley Smithson, the 2021 Michigan Open champion from Grand Rapids, finished fourth after shooting a final-round 73.

An early hiccup for White came at the par-4 fourth hole, where he three-putted for bogey, but he got that back and more on the next hole, the par-5 fifth, where he made eagle. He hit 9 iron from 173 yards to a foot.

"Which was huge," said White, who was 3 under through 10 holes Wednesday, before it got windy on the back nine. "Fortunately I had the lead and we were able to get it in the house.”

White was back home in west Michigan on Thursday, preparing for a busy stretch of wedding festivities, starting with a round of golf at Harbor Shores in Benton Harbor with his future father-in-law. He is marrying Natalie Gervais of Winnipeg, Canada; the two met at EMU.

White is in his first year on the Korn Ferry Tour, and has made eight of 18 cuts. His best finish was a tie for 15th at The Panama Championship in February. He's made four of his last six cuts, heading into the Tournament of Champions.

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Twitter: @tonypaul1984