Grand Traverse Resort, Acme, MI — June 11, 2019
When a local golfer leads a notable golf tournament in his home state that’s good news, something we want to mention. When this golfer has an incredible comeback narrative, that’s a great story we want to feature.
Darren Husse shot a 4 under par 68 yesterday to become the first round leader of the 102nd Michigan Open Championship. Darren is an assistant golf professional at Grand Blanc’s Warwick Hills Golf & Country Club.
Even more remarkable, Darren had brain surgery six years ago when it looked like he might never play golf again.
The Michigan Open
First played in 1916, the Michigan Open has a rich tradition of competitive play among professionals and amateurs who reside in the State. The 2019 tournament is being played on the Bear Course at Grand Traverse Resort, just outside of Traverse City.
Considered one of the premier courses in the mid-west. The Bear, just as its name suggests, is an animal that will tear your game apart. Designed by Jack Nicklaus the course is a par 72 layout that generally plays at 6,948 yards. Its rating is a difficult 76.1 with a slope of 150.
Darren was one stroke out of the lead when he teed off on the 18th hole yesterday. His drive on the par 4 hole left him with about 110 yards to the flag. Selecting a wedge for his approach to the green, Darren hit the perfect shot settling in the bottom of the cup for an eagle and the tournament lead.
After being out of the game for four years dealing with a neurological disorder that displayed symptoms similar to those of Parkinson’s disease, Darren is happy to just be back on the course.
As one of the club professionals at Warwick Hills Golf and Country Club, Darren regularly plays one of the tougher golf layouts in Michigan. Home of the Buick Open until 2009 and now the host of the Ally Challenge for the PGA Tour Champions, Warwick Hills is a true test of a golfer’s ability.
After recovering from surgery to alleviate the condition that derailed a promising career Darren is now 36 years old. The Fenton resident still has plenty of time to post sub-par rounds on his scorecards
Atop the Leaderboard
After his round, Darren talked with Justin Phillips Director of Tournament Operations for the Michigan Section of the PGA. On his round of 68, “Leading the Michigan Open, that’s crazy and a bonus even if it took a shot to go in on the last hole for a 2,” he said. “You never expect to hole out, and to do it there on 18 of The Bear. I mean, I hit my best two shots of the day to finish, which leaves a really good taste in my mouth.”
Darren addressed his health and the surgery that gave him back his ability to play the game. “It was a motor function issue,” he said. “My hands would shake really bad, and it got so bad I couldn’t write my name, I couldn’t eat because my hands were shaking, I had trouble even holding on to a golf club because my hands were going all over the place.”
“The surgery became about quality of life, not golf. They think it might have been caused by a four-wheeler accident I had after high school (2002) where I had some head trauma, but they don’t know. All I know is now you can see that there are wires running down my neck underneath the skin, and I have a whole different perspective on everything. I used to be pretty fiery, but now, honestly, bad shots don’t bother me. You can’t tell if I’m shooting 68 or 88. I’m just happy to be playing golf again.”
Three More Days to Compete
The Michigan Open consists of four rounds of golf. Darren tees off today in the 2nd round at 8:45 am. With 155 golfers competing, there is still plenty of golf to be played. Follow Darren as he tackles the Bear again today with a live leaderboard from the Michigan PGA.
We will be watching with daily updates in The Lasco Press.