Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run Brings Division 1 NCAA Men’s Golf to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula


South Dakota State University to Host Ranked Teams at First-Ever Event

Bark River, Mich. – The newest golf course in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Sage Run at Island Resort & Casino proudly announces that its first signature tournament will be an NCAA men’s Collegiate Invitational hosted by South Dakota State University. The Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run, a two-day, 54-hole stroke-play invitational will tee off this fall with ten college teams competing Sept. 1 – 2 on Sage Run’s 7,309-yard Paul Albanese design.

South Dakota State director of golf Casey Van Damme, an Upper Peninsula native, was instrumental in organizing the tournament and bringing it to Sage Run. His squad will host and square off against Michigan State, Detroit University, Purdue, Kentucky, 18th-ranked North Florida University of Central Florida, East Carolina, Northern Michigan and 21st-ranked Liberty University in the first-ever Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run. Liberty’s Ervin Chang, a top-ranked player in 2018-2019, headlines a talented field while Northern Michigan’s squad, from nearby Marquette, will rely on depth and local knowledge.

“We’re excited to be bringing in top intercollegiate talent from around the country to showcase and take on Sage Run,” Tony Mancilla, Island Resort General Manager, said. “It will be interesting to see how the golf course holds up to top-flight talent and how the players react to the challenges the course presents. With several blind shots off some tees and some very demanding long par fours, this isn’t typically a course that players go low on their first time out.”

Mancilla adds that bringing in alumni and families of the players and attracting local galleries and volunteers will be a great way to acquaint avid golfers with the beauty and natural setting of the region’s newest championship golf course. “We think once visitors see the course, they’re going to want to come back and play it for themselves,” Mancilla said. The public is invited to attend with no admission charge.

Sage Run plays around, over and through a scenic ridge that was shaped by glacial activity. Golfers experience winding holes through the trees and some open areas with tremendous variety of landscape and shot values. Natural long grasses edge the bunkers, and some of the short par 4s have blind shots to the greens.  Albanese said Royal County Down in Northern Ireland, rated among the world’s top courses, served as inspiration for the course bunkering.

“The depth and quality of the field playing in this event is a testament to commitment from Island Resort to host it on this great course,” Van Damme said. “Sage Run is a different kind of venue than these players normally see week-in and week-out, so I think what you’re going to see is the start of a great tradition and a tournament teams will want to return to year after year, especially when they see how strongly this community will embrace golf and support this event.”

Van Damme adds that the he and his staff will prefer to see Sage Run play long and feature fast greens for this tournament. “College players and teams want to separate and identify the best players and they want to be challenged,” he said.

For more information on the inaugural Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run, visit and

About Island Resort & Casino

Located in Michigan’s scenic Upper Peninsula 13 miles west of Escanaba, Island Resort & Casino is one of the Midwest’s largest golf, casino and entertainment resort destinations. The resort features over 300 guest rooms including elegant suites and a 42 –site RV Park. The 408,520 square feet casino offers slots, a poker room, craps, blackjack, Spanish 21, three card poker, let-it-ride, roulette and bingo.

The resort amenities also include the luxurious Drift Spa offering a variety of high-end spa services with access to the resort’s saltwater pool, steam rooms and sauna. Multiple dining options include the signature 5 Bridges Steak and Seafood House, 5 Bridges Pub, Firekeeper’s Restaurant, T.McC’s Sports Bar, Coral Reef Grille, Signature Subs & Pizza, The Coffee & Bakery Shop, as well as The Custard Shop. The Island regularly hosts headline entertainment in the intimate 1,315 seat Showroom, as well as weekly bands and comedy entertainers in Club 41. The Island Convention Center provides the perfect venue for special events, business meetings and weddings.

Award-winning golf has become the centerpiece of the Island Resort & Casino. Sweetgrass, ranked among Golfweek’s Best Courses, as well as recognition by GOLF Magazine and Golf Digest as a Best in State ranking, features an open layout with some of the game’s most fun greens to putt (Redan, Biarritz, Island, and Double-green). The Island Resort Championship at Sweetgrass is part of the Symetra Tour – “Road to the LPGA” and the future of women’s golf. 2019 will be the first full season for Sage Run Golf Club, also designed by Paul Albanese (Sweetgrass) providing a different kind of golf experience where holes flow through the hardwoods and around a drumlin ridge. Golfers will find Sweetgrass and Sage Run are dramatically different, but equally exceptional.

For more information, visit


About Author

Glen Turk is a Wisconsin native who has been the Senior Writer/Editor of Midwest Golfing Magazine since 2006. Besides being an avid golfer, Glen enjoys traveling, music, and cheering on the finest professional sports team of all-time, the Green Bay Packers. Glen’s ultimate golf goal is to play in all fifty states and currently he is more than half way there. His other dream, albeit far-fetched, it to record an ace in all seven states of our distribution area. Thanks to an ace in Illinois in 2015, and one in Michigan in 2016, he has three down, four to go!

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