ACME — All it takes is one shot to make a difference.
Darren Husse, of Fenton, found that out when he eagled the No. 18 hole in Monday's opening round of the Michigan Open at the Grand Traverse Resort and Spa on The Bear.
Husse, who is the assistant golf professional at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, took a one stroke lead after his final shot — jumping ahead of the competition for a first round low of 68.
Husse holed out from 111 yards with a wedge on the last hole to move his score to 4-under par.
“Leading the Michigan Open ... that’s crazy and a bonus even if it took a shot to go in on the last hole for a two,” Husse said. “You never expect to hole out, and to do it there on 18 of The Bear. I mean, I hit my best two shots of the day to finish, which leaves a really good taste in my mouth.”
Four golfers are right on Husse's heels after the first day of play with Brighton's Otto Black, Okemos' Eric Lilleboe, Manistique's Michael Nagy and Gradnville's Jacob Losey each shooting a 3-under 69.
Behind them is a group of four golfers, including two amateurs, sitting at 2-under. Grand Blanc's Willie Mack III and Haslett's Alexander Jones along with amateurs Zach Sudinsky and Suttons Bay alumni Thomas Hursey are tied for sixth at 70.
Hursey, who won the Great Lakes Intercollegiate Athletic Conference freshman of the year award in 2019, is participating in his first Michigan Open and felt the pressure come tee-off.
"I knew I was going to be nervous and have those first tee nerves while playing in a bigger tournament than I have before," Hursey said. "I wanted to attack the round and take it one shot at a time, I knew I couldn't control what went on with the other players in the field. I just had to approach it as playing the course and not the players."
Being a local golfer from Suttons Bay, Hursey used his previous playing experience at The Bear to card 14 pars, two birdies and only one bogey.
"You can't win the tournament in the first round so I wasn't looking to be overly aggressive today," Hursey said. "I just wanted to feel out the golf course and hit my spots."
Kalamazoo native and PGA Tour Latino America player Barrett Kelpin fought adverse conditions in the morning session, battling cold rains and wind, carding an even-par 72. Kelpin was the only golfer from the morning session to shoot even or better.
"The course was playing difficult all day," said Kelpin. "I feel pretty good about having even par in. All in all, I feel pretty happy about the day."
Kelpin sits alone in 12th place ahead of eight golfers who carded a 1-over 73 and are tied for 13th.
Traverse City Central graduate Winton Munch fell to a tie for 46th, carding a 4-over 76 after a rough morning session with the rain. Munch, who plays on the Florida Elite Tour, said he wasn't quite prepared for the Michigan weather.
"Tough, tough, tough, tough, tough," Munch said of the conditions. "It was just windy and cold and rainy. I haven't played in Michigan weather in a little while, so it was a bit of a different feel to adjust yardages. Everything wasn't going quite as far. Any irons I hit the first six or seven holes, I was short 6 or 7 yards. That got a little frustrating."
Munch hit birdies on holes Nos. 9 and 14 with three bogeys and one double bogey for the round.
Traverse City Country Club professional Scott Herbert, who won the Michigan Open six times between 1997 and 2006, had trouble on the front nine but finished strong with eight straight pars on the back nine before bogeying No. 18. Herbert shot 4-over on the front and 1-over on the back for a 5-over 77, good enough to tie him for 57th.
Indian River's Jon Micoff sits tied for 13th with a 73. Last year's champion Jake Kneen, of White Lake, is tied for 21st with a 2-over 74 along with Traverse City's Randall Hutchison and Patrick Colburn.
Play will resume at 8 a.m. on Tuesday with players starting from the Nos. 1 and 10 tees.