Veteran Randy Erskine adds PGA State Senior title to long golf resume
Randy Erskine (center) of the Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester holds up his championship vase after winning the 2011 Michigan Senior PGA Championship Tuesday at the Charlevoix Golf & Country Club. Presenting Erskine the vase is Loren Musilek (left) of the leading sponsor Prudential Preferred Properties and Southworth and Charlevoix Golf & Country Club owner/general manager Dave Mocini. (STEVE FOLEY/NEWS-REVIEW)
That, along with stellar ball striking and putting for a man who's been in countless tournaments across the state for a number of years.
Randy Erskine of Great Oaks Country Club in Rochester shot an impressive final round 4-under par 68 to claim the Michigan Senior PGA Championship Tuesday at the Charlevoix Golf & Country Club. Erskine, 63, overcame a four-shot deficit to first-round leader Lee Houtteman of Traverse City, who posted a 3-over par 75 on Tuesday and finished in a three-way tie for second.
Erskine, a former University of Michigan standout who was a PGA touring professional in the 1970's and 80's and is a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame, finished the two-day, 36-hole stroke-play tournament at 5-under 139. He earned a check for $2,000 and qualified for the Senior PGA Professional National Championship Oct. 6-9 in Virginia.
Erskine, who has won nearly every major tournament in the state including the Michigan Open five times, said he was simply glad to add another title to his long and impressive resume.
"It feels great," said Erskine, who shot a 1-under 71 in Monday's opening round. "It's been a little while since I've won a tournament. I'm 63 now and I'm competing against all these younger seniors you might say."
Erskine opened his final round steady and solid on the back nine as he posted two birdies and no bogeys to make the turn at 2-under. Houtteman, meanwhile, struggled from the start and quickly saw his lead dwindle as he carded four bogeys and then a double-bogey on the par-4 18th to turn at 4-over.
"He (Houtteman) just had a day where he hit in the wrong spots a couple of times," Erskine said. "Lee's a good friend of mine."
Erskine then birdied the 374-yard par-4 first hole before suffering his first bogey of the round on No. 4, a 131-yard par-3.
"I was so mad at myself on No. 4 for going at the pin because it's a sucker pin," Erskine said. "I pulled it a little bit and it went past the cup. I still had an easy putt, but I missed it."
Erskine then followed on No. 5, a 528-yard par-5, with an errant tee shot he topped and trickled just 20 yards beyond the forward tee.
"I just said 'What in the heck is happening?'" Erskine said. "I had to get buckled down right then. I could still get on the green in three and still make a birdie."
Erskine's third shot from 170 yards left him 3 feet from the cup, where made birdie.
"I was able to hit it in there really tight and that made a big difference," he said. "I knew that I had some shots to work with."
Erskine birdied two of his final three holes to finish at 34-34 -- 68, but said he still felt nerves throughout the day.
"I was still nervous a little bit out there," he said. "I just controlled my nerves very well and fortunately got a victory."
Houtteman carded two birdies and a bogey on the finishing par-5 506-yard No. 9, where his approach shot found the water hazard.
"He (Houtteman) thought he could reach the green in two, but instead he hit it in the water," Erskine said. "Instead of him finishing second all alone, he took the chance to tie me. I would've done the same thing. He only missed that second shot by about 8-10 feet and he could've given himself an eagle chance."
Erskine said experience had a "big part to do with" his victory.