Top college teams and elite players set to compete lead by local U.P. standout Bryson Mercier
Harris, Mich. – Island Resort & Casino announces the return of its annual Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run. The award-winning golf course in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula will be hosting a collection of top collegiate players and teams from around Michigan and the U.S., September 4 – 5.
The Island Resort Collegiate at Sage Run, a two-day, 54-hole stroke-play invitational, will tee off next month with over 10 college teams competing on Sage Run’s 7,309-yard Paul Albanese design.
“We are very proud of the tradition we have created of bringing top collegiate teams and players from around the country to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. To be able to showcase these great players on one of the top golf courses in the country is very exciting for us and for the local community,” Tony Mancilla, Island Resort General Manager said.
“Sage Run has proven to be fun and challenging for the players, who are tested with a variety of short and long par 4s and reachable par 5s. 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 4s, this isn’t typically a course that players go low on their first time out.”
South Dakota State hosts this tournament each year. This year, a new Head Coach, Parker Edens, will be at the helm. His squad will square off against Michigan’s own Northern Michigan University and University of Michigan teams, as well as Bowling Green State University, North Dakota State University, Miami University, Illinois State University, Southern Illinois, University of Kentucky, University of Toledo, University of Wisconsin-Green Bay and Valparaiso.
Players in the field this year are highlighted by the Upper Peninsula’s own stand out player, Bryson Mercier of South Dakota State, who attended North Central High School in nearby Powers, MI. Mercier had equally successful junior careers in both Wisconsin and Michigan. In Wisconsin, he was named Junior Golfer of the Year in 2020, which included 10 victories on the Wisconsin Junior Tour Circuit. In Michigan, he was the high school state individual champion in 2019 and 2021 and was named first team all-state those years. He also won the Upper Peninsula Junior Championship three consecutive years 2019-2021. Other top collegiate players competing in the tournament include Griffin Barela from Wisconsin, Caleb VanArragon from Valparaiso, and Toledo’s Barend Botha.
In addition to seeing the game’s up and coming players and a high level of golf in the local community, Mancilla adds that bringing in alumni and families of the players and volunteers has been a great way to acquaint avid golfers with the beauty and natural setting of the resort and its newest national award-winning golf course. “Once visitors see the golf course, and experience the region, they’re going to want to come back and play it for themselves.” Mancilla said.
Selected by Golf Digest as one of the “Best New” courses in the country, Sage Run features a variety of rugged terrain including a massive drumlin/ridge that comes into play throughout the course. The course meanders through scenic hardwoods and open areas with a variety of shot values. Players encounter fun, challenging green complexes, strategic bunkering, elevation changes and some great short par 4s. Sage Run dares players to try heroic, exciting shots into the greens, enhancing the cerebral and shot making challenges the collegiate players will face. Course designer Albanese was inspired by Royal County Down, a Northern Ireland golf club rated among the world’s finest.
“We are very excited to return to Island Resort and have these players and teams experience this fun and challenging venue once again. Sage Run is a different type of venue and has certainly evolved over the last year,” said Edens. “It will be exciting to see how the players challenge the course. We 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 and they want to be challenged. Sage Run will certainly do that.”
Admission for the event is free and the public is encouraged to attend. For more information on the Island Resort Intercollegiate at Sage Run, visit www.islandresortgolf.com.
About Island Resort & Casino
Located in Michigan’s scenic Upper Peninsula 15 minutes west of Escanaba, Island Resort & Casino is one of the Midwest’s largest golf, casino and entertainment resort destinations. The resort now features 400+ guest rooms, more than 1,200 of the latest slots, a poker room, various gaming tables, a sportsbook, bingo hall, two championship golf courses, the luxurious Drift Spa, an RV park, a headline entertainment showroom, a pool with waterpark features, an expansive convention space that can be customized, and enough dining choices to please every palate. The resort is easily accessible via regional airports in Escanaba and Marquette — connecting through Detroit, Saginaw, Lansing, or Grand Rapids. Visit www.islandresortandcasino.com.