EAST LANSING — Scott Hebert erased a two-shot deficit on the first hole Wednesday of the final round of the Michigan PGA Championship, then went on to claim his fifth title in six years with a final-round 5-under 67 at Eagle Eye Golf Course.
Hebert, the pro at the Grand Traverse Resort in Acme, birdied the first hole while leader Erice Dovre bogeyed, leaving the pair tied for the top spot.
“That was a fast horse to catch,” Dovre said of Hebert. “Shell-shocked is not the right word, but he came out firing and I was kind of right there with him, but I made two bad swings for back-to-back double bogeys.
“Right then I knew I wasn’t playing for first. It was like watching a Tour event: Fairways, greens, no mistakes. It was really a pleasure to be out there and watch that.”
Hebert, who finished at 13-under 203, pocketed $6,500 from the $48,000 purse. Dovre, who led after both the first and second rounds, finished at 8-under 208, while Brian Cairns of Fox Hills Learning Center in Ann Arbor closed with a 1-under 71 and finished in third place with a 7-under 209.
Harry Dixon of Walloon Lake Country Club shot a 1-over 73 on Wednesday to finish 1-over for the tournament and in ninth place. That earned him a coveted spot in next year’s PGA National Club Pro Championship at Bayonet and Black Horse golf courses on California’s famed Monterey Peninsula.
“It’s exciting,” said Dixon, 38, a 1990 Petoskey High School graduate who opened the tournament with consecutive even-par rounds of 72. “After last year coming close, it was a goal of mine and something I worked toward. I’m very excited about having the opportunity to go out west next year and see what happens.”
Kirk Scheerhorn, formerly the professional at Birchwood Farms Golf and Country Club in Harbor Springs, shot a 4-over 76 on Wednesday and finished the tournament at 6-over, tied for 27th.
Barry Redmond of Boyne Resorts finished among a group tied for 37th at 8-over. Redmond shot a 3-over 75 on Wednesday.
Dixon, who was playing in his fourth State PGA Championship, said he drew on his experience from last year when he entered the final round squarely in the hunt for a spot in the National Club Pro Championship, but faded with a 4-over 76 and finished tied for 24th.
“I took a lot from last year,” he said. “I just played it, as they say, one shot at a time and never got ahead of myself.”
It also helped that Dixon, who has worked at Walloon Lake for 23 years and has been the club’s general manager for the past decade, had pal Shaun Bezilla serving as his caddy.
“It was nice to have a friend out there, a close friend, to keep me calm, keep me in the moment,” Dixon said. “I appreciate everything he did for me today.”
Bezilla, the pro at Harbor Point Golf Club in Harbor Springs, also played in the PGA, but missed the 36-hole cut. Knowing he wouldn’t be teeing it up himself for Wednesday’s final round, he jumped on Dixon’s bag.
“Over the years, Shaun and I have played a lot together,” Dixon said. “He’s one of my closest friends in the business. We’re partners every year in the Harbor Cup and we’re very comfortable around each other. That helps tremendously.”
Dixon started his final round Wednesday with four consecutive pars, then made back-to-back birdies on the eighth and ninth to turn at 1-under. He had legitimate birdie opportunities on both No. 10 and No. 11, but couldn’t get the putts to fall.
On 13, he hit two balls in the water, leading to a double bogey. He recovered with a birdie on 14, but a three-putt bogey on the par 3 17th left him at 1-over.
“The chances were there,” he said. “Except for 17, I think I made all my 4 or 5 footers throughout the whole tournament.”
Others finishing in the top 11 and earning a spot in the National Club Pro: Joseph Pollack, 6-under; Dan Olsen, 3-under; Lee Houtteman, 2-under; defending champion Ron Beurmann, 1-under; John Seltzer, 1-under; Kevin Muir, 2-over; and T.J. Roberts, 2-over.