Local caddies honored with prestigious Evans Scholarship

By: Jonathan Szczepaniak | Metro | Published February 14, 2024

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METRO DETROIT — Twenty high school seniors and caddies in the state of Michigan were ecstatic to receive letters from the Western Golf Association holding opportunities that they’ve longed for since their caddying journeys began.

“I found out after I got home from school,” St. Clair Shores Lakeview senior Sara Linsdeau said. “When I opened the letter from the WGA, the first thing I pulled out was a green flag that said, ‘New Scholar Class of 2024.’ As soon as I read that, I got up and hugged my mom.”

Linsdeau, who caddies at Country Club of Detroit, was the lone Macomb County recipient of the prestigious scholarship.

The WGA Chick Evans Scholarship, founded by Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr. in 1930, is in its 94th year of awarding college scholarships to high school caddies across the nation. The scholarship provides housing and pays the full tuition to the 24 universities across the country that participate in the program. Roughly 340 caddies nationwide are expected to receive the scholarship this year.

The University of Michigan and Michigan State University are home to the majority of the in-state scholarship recipients with 59 currently at Michigan and 87 at Michigan State. The program has had more than 12,040 graduates since its founding.

Evans Scholars are determined by numerous factors, including a strong caddie record, academic excellence, personal character and financial need. The scholarship is valued at more than $125,000 over four years.

“We are thrilled to welcome this new group of student caddies to the Evans Scholars family,” WGA Chairman Steve Colnitis said in a press release. “Their dedication in the classroom, on the golf course and in their communities represents what our Program has been about since 1930.”

The scholarship has been a calling card for local country clubs, as Lochmoor Club in Grosse Pointe Woods added to its history last year with three recipients. This year, Oakland Hills Country Club topped the in-state list with seven recipients, while Bloomfield Hills Country Club came in second with four.

For some recipients, they’re continuing the tradition of receiving the scholarship in their families.

“My sister is a current Evans Scholar and so are my cousins, so it’s really been something that’s run in my family for years,” Novi High School senior Mia Hamdan said. “That’s also how I got into caddying.”


State of Michigan recipients for the 2024 Evans Scholarship (With hometown/sponsoring club/high school): Luke Deighan (Birmingham/Oakland Hills CC/Ernest W. Seaholm HS), Mustafa Hamadah (Bloomfield Hills/Bloomfield Hills CC/Bloomfield Hills HS), Nilah Hughes (Brownstown/Meadowbrook CC/Inter-City Baptist School), Liliana Chaney (Commerce Township/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS), Grayson Johnson (Dearborn/Plum Hollow CC/U of D Jesuit HS), Lillee-Ann Jacobs (Flint/Warwick Hills Golf & CC/Luke M. Powers Catholic HS), Andrew Blood (Jackson/CC of Jackson/Jackson HS), Ryan Winter (Lansing/CC of Lansing/Home schooling), Dane Benner (Lathrup Village/Red Run Golf Club/Berkley HS), Nathan Lee (Livonia/Bloomfield Hills CC/Detroit Country Day HS), Mia Hamdan (Novi/Meadowbrook CC/Novi HS), Sebastian Alvarado-Ruiz (Pontiac/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS), Rene Belmares (Pontiac/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS), Hector Herrera (Pontiac/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS), Marco Martinez (Pontiac/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS), Mohamed Erreghaoui (Southfield/Bloomfield Hills CC/Berkley HS), Payden Pittman (Spring Lake/Wuskowhan Players Club/Grand Haven HS), Sara Linsdeau (St. Clair Shores/CC of Detroit/Lakeview HS), Kevin Myrtollari (Troy/Bloomfield Hills CC/Athens HS), Emanuel Rodriguez (West Bloomfield/Oakland Hills CC/Pontiac HS).


Meet some local winners:


Luke Deighan

City: Birmingham.

Sponsoring Club: Oakland Hills Country Club.

High School: Ernest W. Seaholm.

Caddying experience: Five years.

College: Hopeful for Michigan.

Major: Focus on business.

On the impact of caddying: “It’s helped me mature exponentially. Being around the people at Oakland Hills and the level of success they’re at, you just learn so much on the course. It’s hard to describe. When someone says, ‘Oh, you got to meet my parents,’ I have so much confidence that I can talk to an adult respectfully and make good connections all because of this job.”

On Oakland Hills CC: “It’s very welcoming. Even when you first get there, the members are trying to help you out. They’re not going to judge you because it’s your first year caddying and you’re still learning. They’re going to help you out and help you grow as a caddy and as a person.”

Most famous golfer he caddied for: Tom Izzo.


Mohamed Erreghaoui

City: Southfield.

Sponsoring Club: Bloomfield Hills Country Club.

High School: Berkley.

Caddying experience: Five years

College: Undecided.

Major: Pre-med.

On the impact of caddying: “It teaches me to keep working hard, and for growth now, to never give up. There were a lot of hardships when I first caddied, but I would never be the same person now, someone who tries no matter what happens.”

On Bloomfield Hills CC: “They’re always helping each other. Not only from caddy to caddy, but the members too. They really look out for the young caddies and make sure everyone feels welcomed. They teach life skills in golf and life in general.” 

Most famous golfer he caddied for: Steve Yzerman.


Mia Hamdan

City: Novi.

Sponsoring Club: Meadowbrook Country Club.

High School: Novi.

Caddying experience: Three years.

College: Undecided but leaning MSU.

Major: Advertising management.

On the impact of caddying: “It’s made me more outgoing as a person, and I’ve just been able to make so many friends at Meadowbrook. They’ve taught me a lot of great life lessons, both the caddies and members there.”

On Meadowbrook CC: “They’re very outgoing and everyone knows everyone. They’re all just really nice people, and they all want to support everyone whether it’s on their golf game or pursuing the Evans Scholarship. The environment is very family-like.”

Most famous golfer she caddied for: One of the owners of Leo’s Coney Island.


Sara Linsdeau

City: St. Clair Shores.

Sponsoring Club: Country Club of Detroit.

High School: St. Clair Shores Lakeview.

Caddying experience: Three years.

College: Undecided.

Major: Undecided.

On the impact of caddying: “Caddying has taught me a lot about communicating with others and helping others. I wasn’t awful talking with adults before caddying, but it really helped me get out of my comfort zone.”

On CC of Detroit: “I was really nervous when I started caddying, but as soon as I got there I met one of the members and he was super nice and told me where to go. I never met a rude person there. All the caddies are super helpful and want each other to succeed.”

Most famous golfer she caddied for: USGA Senior Amateur Tournament golfer.


Kevin Myrtollari

City: Troy.

Sponsoring Club: Bloomfield Hills Country Club.

High School: Troy Athens.

Caddying experience: Five years.

College: Hopeful for Michigan.

Major: Focus on business.

On the impact of caddying: “For me personally, it’s helped a lot because I was pretty shy as a kid. I was scared to go there for the first time, but it’s helped me become more outgoing.”

On Bloomfield Hills CC: “We all become friends with each other and welcome every new caddy. It was a great experience overall and I thoroughly enjoyed it, and I’m going to love working there the next couple summers through college and see where it goes from there.”

Most famous golfer he caddied for: Steve Yzerman.