It could be said that Michael Busse was born to golf.
The Rochester sophomore, the son of two area teaching pros, took on famed Oakland Hills Country Club’s South Course with 119 other high school competitors Monday and came out medalist with a one-over 73 — leading the Falcons to the team championship as well by one stroke over Rockford.
“This is the toughest course I’ve ever played, and the competition was great here, the best teams in the state,” Busse said. “I’m just very happy how it all worked out.”
The Next Tee Invitational, hosted by Birmingham Seaholm, brought in the top area teams and also drew defending Division 1 champ Battle Creek Lakeview, defending runner-up Plymouth and Division 2 defending champ Grand Rapids Christian.
Rochester finished with 313, with Rockford at 314 and Novi Detroit Catholic Central at 317. Milford-Lakeland was at 318, Hartland had 319 and Plymouth and Birmingham Brother Rice tied for sixth at 321.
“This group of kids is so well grounded, even though they knew the historical importance, we talked about it,” Rochester coach Paul Marti said. “I told them to take a look at the plaques. Every great player (in golf history) has played here. They’re very respectful but very relaxed about the whole thing.
“It’s nice to get the best teams involved. And to play the South Course, this is a first time ever, and to have our kids play well, you can’t beat that.”
This win should make Rochester the top-ranked team in Division 1 in the early season with very few tournaments to compare to due to the bad spring conditions. But the Falcons, who finished fifth last year in the regional and did not qualify for the state tournament, also shot scores of 302-306 in a two-day tournament in Ohio recently.
“Considering the course, collectively I think this is a really solid outing,” Marti added.
Busse’s father and mother are teaching pros — Perry at the Oakland University Golf and Learning Center and Mary Jo at Great Oaks Country Club. Yet Michael Busse’s words and tone indicated he has never felt pushed into the sport, just supported.
“They’ve taught me very well and guided me the right way,” he said. “I’m really thankful for that and so grateful for them being there for me whenever I need them. They didn’t push me into golf but are always there to help.”
Busse scored three birdies, including back-to-back on 12 and 13, and four bogeys for the round.
“I hit good approach shots into both of those holes and capitalized, making the putts,” Busse said about his fifth time ever playing the South Course. “Just hit a lot of greens, made a couple putts and that’s really what it takes out here. Got up and down when I needed to. I had a couple bad shots but you’ve got to recover from that, and I did.”
Hartland junior Bryce Messner was runner-up with a 74. He has experience playing the course. He had a terrible start with back-to-back double bogeys that got turned around quickly with an eagle on the par-five 18th hole.
“It was all their first time playing here,” Messner said of his team’s top-five performance. “So I thought they all did well, kept it together for the first time playing here. It’s a really tough course.
“They’d been asking about how to play the course a good week or more in advance. They were very excited to play it. Told them bogey is a good score out here, battle through it.”
Andrew Walked of Lakeview made history last summer as the youngest African-American qualifier in the history of the U.S. Amateur. He shot 77 Monday.
Defending state Junior Amateur champ Donny Tropser of Canton tallied a 79 — the same score Rochester’s Michael Murri and Scott DiFilippo recorded to help earn the team title.