Oakland University’s Katke-Cousins Course to Host Hall Financial Michigan Open
Move Made With Goal of Being Best State Open Championship in Country
ROCHESTER – The Hall Financial Michigan Open Championship presented by Brighton Ford and Make The Turn will be played at the Oakland University Golf & Learning Center’s Katke-Cousins Golf Course, the Michigan Section PGA announced today.
The 106th edition of the state championship for Michigan golfers will be played June 12-15 under a new two-year host agreement. The championship has been played the last five years and 33 times over the years at Grand Traverse Resort and Spa near Traverse City.
Hall Financial will be the title sponsor for the second consecutive year. David Hall, president and CEO of the Michigan-based mortgage company and an accomplished amateur golfer who has competed in multiple Michigan Opens, is in full support of the venue change.
“I loved going to the Bear at Grand Traverse and playing in the Michigan Open but I just felt like some luster had fallen off as well as attention and notoriety in the last few years and that the Open could use a shakeup,” he said. “If we bring it to southeast Michigan, at a great course like Katke Cousins, I’m hoping we get some energy back and create new energy. We want to add positive things and great partners and we’re committed to this – my goal is to help make it the biggest and best state open championship in the country.”
This will be the first time Oakland University’s facilities have hosted the Michigan Open, but it has a long relationship with the Michigan Section and hosted the Michigan PGA Professional Championship from 2012-2014.
Bill Rogers, the general manager at Oakland University Golf and Learning Center, is a former Michigan Section PGA president. He said hosting the Michigan Open fits with institutional goals of serving Michigan residents and that he is excited to have the Open at Oakland University.
“We’ve hosted the PGA in the past, hosted many USGA qualifiers and GAM (Golf Association of Michigan) tournaments as well as conference championships for our college golf teams, but doing an Open championship for Michigan residents, professionals and amateurs from all over the state, that gives Oakland University and our golf facilities added exposure, and an avenue to another audience. We’re also excited to partner with Hall Financial. Their vision for the event and bringing it into this region is a great opportunity for new partners to see value in this, too.”
Presenting sponsors for the 2023 championship are Brighton Ford and Make the Turn, a digital marketing firm, and both are involved for the first time. A purse for the championship will be announced at a later date. Last year the field played for $85,000.
Last June at Grand Traverse, White Lake’s Jake Kneen, a mini-tour professional who is also a former Oakland University golfer, added his name to the James D. Standish Trophy as champion for the second time. He also won in 2018 just after completing his collegiate golf career and playing as an amateur.
Kneen is expected to defend his title, and the final starting field of 156 golfers will be determined through nine qualifiers the PGA Section will conduct at sites across the state starting May 16. Registration will open on March 8.
Katke-Cousins is one of two courses at Oakland University, which serves as the home to the Oakland University men’s and women’s golf programs and has a state-of-the-art practice facility. Designed by Indiana-based golf course designer Robert Beard, the Katke-Cousins course opened in 1977. It is named for Marvin Katke, a supporter of Oakland University, and Harold Cousins, his next door neighbor, who each donated funds for the construction of the course. It plays to 7,211 yards and is a par 72 layout.
The R&S Sharf Course is the facility’s other layout. It was designed by Michigan Golf Hall of Fame member Rick Smith and opened in 2000.
First played in 1916, the Michigan Open annually attracts the top professional and amateur golfers in the state and its list of winners includes golf legends Walter Hagen, Al Watrous, Chuck Kocsis, Horton Smith and Dave Hill, and more recent Michigan Golf Hall of Fame inductees Randy Erskine, Buddy Whitten, Lynn Janson, Jeff Roth, Tom Gillis and Scott Hebert. Recent PGA Tour winner Ryan Brehm is also a three-time winner of the historic James D. Standish Jr. trophy.