75th Northern Michigan Open to take place on Saturday, Sunday

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Last year's Northern Michigan Open champion, Canada's Nathan Kraynyk, is expected to be in the field to defend his title at the 75th edition of the event this weekend. Kraynyk, a current member of the Ferris State University men's golf team, captured the Championship Flight title with a one-stroke victory in 2021.
Last year's Northern Michigan Open champion, Canada's Nathan Kraynyk, is expected to be in the field to defend his title at the 75th edition of the event this weekend. Kraynyk, a current member of the Ferris State University men's golf team, captured the Championship Flight title with a one-stroke victory in 2021.

CHEBOYGAN – Earl Parsons knows what it takes to win the Northern Michigan Open.

So does his son, Kyle, who triumphed not too long ago.

On Wednesday, with only a few days before the 75th version of the highly-popular local golf tournament is set to begin, the father-son combo was working together out at the Cheboygan Golf & Country Club course, getting things ready for what should be another fun event.

Whether you’re Earl, who won the Championship Flight in 2001, or Kyle, the 2019 champion, it doesn’t really matter. The excitement is always there for a tournament that’s continued to grow every single year.

“It’s such a fun tournament, people have built lots of great relationships with the golfers over the years, so it’s one of these tournaments that you want to get in it, you want to be a part of it, you want to have a chance to win one of the flights, and you get to see a lot of old people that you don’t see year-round,” said Earl, president of the Cheboygan Golf & Country Club. “First of all, (course superintendent) Jeff Mushlock does a great job. Our course is in great shape again this year, our greens, they’re stand-alone here in the north. They’re some of the best greens in the north, and everybody just likes to see old friends.”

As for Kyle, who actually resides in Florida, he always looks forward to making the trip back up north for the huge event – and not just for golf reasons.

“The reason I come up for this tournament is basically camaraderie, seeing people that you see once a year,” said Kyle. “It’s a good time, everybody’s friendly. It’s just a good tournament to be around.”

This year’s Open celebrates 75 years of what’s been a thrilling and entertaining competition that’s featured several local winners, many state-of-Michigan victors, and in last year’s case, a Canadian in Nathan Kraynyk, a current Ferris State University men’s player who won the title by one stroke last August. Kraynyk is expected to defend his championship this weekend, while Cheboygan’s Joe Kosanke (1998, 2004, 2010) and Indian River’s Jon Micoff (2009, 2011, 2017), a pair of three-time winners, are also vying for the title, as well as Cheboygan’s Kasey Hocquard, who won back-to-back titles in 2007 and 2008, and Justin Brandt, who earned the 2016 title.

Indian River's Jon Micoff, a three-time Open winner, will be in the field for this year's event held at the Cheboygan Golf & Country Club.
Indian River's Jon Micoff, a three-time Open winner, will be in the field for this year's event held at the Cheboygan Golf & Country Club.

Unfortunately, not in the field for this year’s Open, is PJ Maybank III – a Cheboygan native and current University of Oklahoma men’s golf commit – who recently battled an injury he suffered during a tournament played earlier this summer. While Maybank’s now close to 100 percent, he won’t be playing on Saturday and Sunday.

When it comes to winning the Open, the younger Parsons knows what’s required.

“Patience,” Kyle said. “Coming into Sunday, figuring out where you were at, and coming down the stretch is pretty tough in tournament situations.”

The Open has become such a popular event in Cheboygan that all 200 spots for it were filled all the way back in January.

In terms of the event itself, it’s not just the golfers who are enjoying themselves out on a quality course. It's also the spectators who have gotten great views of the excitement down the stretch over the years.

“I think what (Cheboygan Golf & Country Club manager) Olwyn (Hancock) does on the inside, everybody is well taken care of,” Earl Parsons said. “We have a good area to watch. You can watch No. 18, you can watch No. 9, so we have good viewing areas to watch, and there’s just some good players here. Even the lower flights, everybody’s excited to watch them come in.

“You’re coming down that 18th hole, and if you’re in the mix for any of the flights – Championship, any of them – there’s nerves.”

With plenty of locals, as well as a great youth movement being formed in recent years, the Open is as big as ever. And with the Cheboygan Golf & Country Club celebrating the 100th year of its course this weekend, everyone’s expecting another memorable Open.

“We keep getting these younger and younger kids every year, so we hope that they’re all back,” Earl Parsons said. “The weather looks great, so it should be another good tournament. We always try to keep that trophy local, but these young kids are good.

“We just want everyone to have a good time. It brings a lot of money into our community, motel-wise, restaurant-wise. It’s just a great event for the town of Cheboygan.”

The 75th Northern Michigan Open will likely see another great crowd of spectators, especially on Sunday.
The 75th Northern Michigan Open will likely see another great crowd of spectators, especially on Sunday.

As Kyle finished helping his father with the course on Wednesday afternoon, he was asked what it would mean to win another Open title.

His answer was short, sweet and family related.

“It would mean a lot,” Kyle said. “It would mean one-up on the big guy, but we’ll see what we can do and we’ll have fun this weekend.”

Tournament festivities begin on Friday night when the Country Club hosts the annual long drive contest at 5 p.m. On Saturday, the Open will get started with tee times slated for 7 a.m., with play expected to last until around 3 p.m. In addition to the Championship Flight, there will be several other flights in the tournament this weekend.

Northern Michigan Open Past Champions 

1938 – Jim Duffina, Mackinac Island

1939 – Bill Stewart, Walloon Lake

1950 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1951 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1952 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1953 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1954 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1955 – Gordon Carlson, Cadillac

1956 – Ed Karcheski, Traverse City

1957 – Jim Romar, Petoskey/Bay View

1958 – Gordon Carlson, Cadillac

1959 – Tal Smith, Fremont, California

1960 – Bill Newton, Ann Arbor

1961 – Mickey McMillen, Midland

1962 – Mickey McMillen, Midland

1963 – Tom Beall, Texas

1964 – Howard Nelson, Cheboygan

1965 – Bob Bolten, Alpena

1966 – Mickey McMillen, Midland

1967 – Mickey McMillen, Midland

1968 – Ben Smith, Detroit & Mullett Lake

1969 – Tom Clark, Ann Arbor

1970 – Larry Mancour, Flint

1971 – Charles Furtaw, Oscoda

1972 – Lynn Janson, East Lansing

1973 – Mike Husby, East Lansing

1974 – Gary Domagalski, East Lansing

1975 – George Zollner, Marshall

1976 – Gary Domagalski, East Lansing

1977 – Barry Dean, St. Johns

1978 – Gary Becker, St. Johns

1979 – Howard Nelson, Cheboygan

1980 – Fred Stabley, Lansing

1981 – Robert Langenberg, Bay City

1982 – Jerry Bush, Petoskey

1983 – Peter Green, Orchard Lake

1984 – Barry Dean, St. Johns

1985 – Jerry Bush, Petoskey

1986 – Brian Lewis, Okemos

1987 – Jim Donahue, East Lansing

1988 – Jack Boman, Lansing

1989 – Chuck Gronda, Cheboygan

1990 – Chuck Gronda, Cheboygan

1991 – John Lindeman, Cheboygan

1992 – Roger Sova, Cheboygan

1993 – Tony Pelligrino, Detroit

1994 – Chuck Gronda, Cheboygan

1995 – Kim Hocquard, Cheboygan

1996 – Mark Sauger, Florida

1997 – Mark Sauger, Florida

1998 – Joe Kosanke, Cheboygan

1999 – Phil Marston, Concord

2000 – Todd Marston, Concord

2001 – Earl Parsons, Cheboygan

2002 – Tony Ingersoll, Cheboygan

2003 – Justin Tulk, Cheboygan

2004 – Joe Kosanke, Cheboygan

2005 – Mark Beuby, Harbor Springs

2006 – Todd Marston, Concord

2007 – Kasey Hocquard, Cheboygan

2008 – Kasey Hocquard, Cheboygan

2009 – Jon Micoff, Indian River

2010 – Joe Kosanke, Cheboygan

2011 – Jon Micoff, Indian

2012 – Brian O'Neill, Harbor Springs

2013 – Brian O'Neill, Harbor Springs

2014 – Rob Lussenhop, Brimley

2015 – Mike Gillette, Florida

2016 – Justin Brandt, Cheboygan

2017 – Jon Micoff, Indian River

2018 – Owen Beyer, DeWitt

2019 – Kyle Parsons, Florida

2020 – Brett Green, Parrington

2021 – Nathan Kraynyk, Canada

This article originally appeared on Cheboygan Daily Tribune: 75th Northern Michigan Open to take place on Saturday, Sunday