Tuesday, July 28, 2009

2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon

A pitch black night, fog, rain and long runs along a winding river might sound like the setting for a horror film but they were just some of the hurdles Steve Lajoie and Andrew Triebold tackled on their way to winning the 62nd annual AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

Steve Lajoie (front) of Mirabel, Quebec and Andrew Triebold (rear) of Spring Arbor, Michigan paddle through a light rain towards the last of the fourteen portages at the 2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

As last years champions Lajoie, from Mirabel, Quebec and Triebold of Spring Arbor, Michigan completed the grueling 120 mile AuSable River course in just under fourteen hours and twenty minutes to successfully defend their title. Second place finishers Steve Corlew of Brighton, Michigan and Matt Streib of Bristol, Indiana finished eleven and a half minutes behind the leaders and less than six minute ahead of third place Matthew Ashton and Mo Harwood both of Grayling.

Large crowds of spectators look on as Steve Corlew (left) starts his jump into the AuSable River ahead of his partner Matt Streib (center) and Canoe number 81's Tony Short (right) at the start of the 2009 AuSable River Canoe Marathon.

More than a thousand fans cheered wildly at the end of the ¼ mile foot race to the river entry point as Corlew and Streib in the number 89 boat entered the river just steps behind Lajoie and Triebold’s number 01 canoe but by the first check point at Burtons Landing the 01 held a one minute, forty one second lead. Corlew and Streib manged to keep with in seven minutes of the lead closing to it to just four minutes at the number ten, Alcona Damn checkpoint but as the sun came up the leaders picked up their pace opening and maintaining the lead at more than ten minutes by the time they reached checkpoint number 12 at Five Channels Damn.

Stern paddler Erich Podjaske (right) smiles as his partner Spencer Derenzy flops backwards onto their canoe after crossing the finish line.

Seventy five of the record ninety teams that started the race in Grayling Saturday night managed to make the finish line in Oscoda on Sunday including the team of the oldest participant in the marathon 84 year old Al Widing Jr. who crossed the line in 45th.

Connie Cannon of East Lansing (rear) and her partner Bruce Barton of Homer, Michigan steer their boat toward the races landing area.

The first woman competitor to finish was Connie Cannon of East Lansing who, along with partner Bruce Barton of Homer, Michigan finished 13th.

See Our Complete Photo Gallery at http://pa.photoshelter.com/gallery/2009-AuSable-River-Canoe-Marathon/G0000tZGOIO.BZp8

Friday, July 24, 2009

T.C. Pro Scott Hebert Wins 2009 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions

Grand Traverse Resort professional Scott Hebert tees off on the par 4, 14th hole of Boyne Mountains Alpine Course during final round play at the 2009 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions.

EAGLE FI - Grand Traverse Resort professional Scott Hebert played the full 54 holes of the 2009 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions at Boyne Mountain but didn’t officially win until he beat Grosse Ile amateur Steven Cuzzort on the third sudden death playoff hole. Hebert started the final round in sole possession of fourth place 3 shots behind day two leader, Cuzzort’s brother Jeffery, but his rain interrupted four under 68 was enough to force the playoff.

Playing the first sudden death playoff hole,Grosse Ile amateur Steven Cuzzort hits his second shot on the par 5, 18th hole of Boyne Mountains Alpine course during the 2009 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions.

Steven Cuzzort was all business during regulation play on the Alpine course shooting a three under 69 to overtake brother Jeffery and Ann Arbor professional Susan Green-Roebuck. Herbert's experience appeared to be a factor during the playoff though. His drives on the first two playoff holes found the center of the fairway while Cuzzort’s first on 18 then again on 16, found the rough. Cuzzort managed to match Hebert’s pars on both holes to send the playoff to the par three 17th where his tee shot went long just off the back left of the green. Hebert hit the center of the green and two putted to break the tie after Cuzzort’s chip onto the green led to a bogie.

After numerous second place finishes this is the 40 year old Hebert’s first Tournament of Champions win. “I can’t believe I finally won one” said Hebert, a three time Michigan PGA champion, five time Michigan Open winner and 2008 National Club Professional champion. He is scheduled to play in the upcoming Buick Open and PGA Championship.

2009 Michigan PGA Tournament of Champions winner Scott Hebert (right) holds the champions trophy along with Boyne Resorts Director of Eastern Operations Stephen Kircher (left).

58 year old amateur Bill Zylstra of Westland claimed third place while Ann Arbors Susan Green-Roebuck finished tied for 11th to capture top female honors.

View our complete set of final round images at http://pa.photoshelter.com/gallery/Final-Round-2009-Tournament-of-Champions/G0000gPwggwrJ7Z4