Big Rapids, Mich. - Reigning NCAA Division II National Finalist Ferris State University welcomed another sellout crowd of family, friends, supporters and alumni for the 36th annual Bulldog Football Golf Outing at Clear Lake Golf Club this past Saturday (June 8).
The event featured yet another sellout and it came on the heels of recent strong turnouts for the annual fundraising event. A large group of former players were back for the event that has included nearly 150 total participants in recent years, helping build momentum for the upcoming 2019 campaign.
A contingent of former players and alumni competed in the four-person shotgun golf scramble, which is hosted by the FSU Gridiron Club in conjunction with the Bulldog Athletic Association (BAA) and serves as one of the Ferris State football program's primary fundraising events.
Those taking part in this year's event not only had an opportunity to play the 18-hole round, but were also treated to lunch prior to play, dinner after the event along with a banquet that featured raffle and auction prizes. A postgame gathering took place at the alumni-owned Buffalo Wild Wings location in Big Rapids.
Among the participants in this year's event was former Ferris State men's golf standout Ben Cook, who recently was the only Michigan native to play in this year's PGA Championship at Bethpage Black. He played in the football outing with his grandfather and family members.
The Player's Cup Division, which includes former Bulldog football players, was again won for the third consecutive year by the team of alumni C.J. Van Wieren, Ryan Kaul, Jeff Hollandsworth and Chris Machalak, who successfully defended the Player's Cup Trophy.
Bulldog football head coach Tony Annese and his staff, along with a number of current student-athletes and returning starters, were on hand or competed throughout the event. Those who took part also had an opportunity to win raffle prizes and bid on several unique auction items.
"It's awesome and again one of the biggest we've ever had so that's exciting," said Annese. "The turnout says a lot about the support we're getting and how engaged our former players and alums are with our program. It means so much and we're thankful this many golfers have came out to support us."
The Bulldogs will begin their 111th season of varsity competition this coming fall with their sights set on making a sixth consecutive trip to the NCAA Division II Playoffs. FSU returns 18 starters from last fall's historic campaign as is the preseason #2 team in the country by multiple sources.
Along with reaching the national title game last fall, the Bulldogs captured the GLIAC Championship in 2018 and won the Super Region Three title by winning their first four NCAA Playoff games en route to a historic run. The four playoff wins included FSU's first-ever National Semifinal victory at Minnesota State. Recently, SB Nation labeled FSU as Michigan's best football team of 2018 regardless of division.
Ferris State will open the 2019 season at home under the lights on Thursday, Sept. 5, against the Findlay Oilers in non-league action at Top Taggart Field. Kickoff is set for 7:30 p.m. (ET).
Below are the Golf Outing Winners:
Players Cup - C.J. Van Wieren, Ryan Kaul, Jeff Hollandsworth, Chris Machalak
Mixed - Bill Taylor, Ruth Hicks, Lauri Niskanen, Jim Niskanen
Men's - Aaron Thompson, Jeremy Mishler, Will Goode, Brenden Kudla