When Rochester girls golf coach Jeff Haney and his team went into the clubhouse sitting atop the Division 1 leaderboard at The Meadows in Allendale on Saturday afternoon, he didn’t expect them to finish as the runner-up.
That was before Traverse City West made its push.
“It was kind of shocking,” Haney said. “The team we thought we were hanging with (Novi) ended up not being the team we were hanging with at the end. We were really surprised.”
West, which entered Saturday five shots off the lead, shot a 337 — the lowest team score on the second day of competition — to tie Rochester for first place with a two-day total of 685. But West took the top spot by winning the fifth golfer tiebreaker.
“I couldn’t be more proud of the girls,” Haney said. “For them to go for two days and play as tough as they did, it was an incredible job.”
Bloomfield Hills (692), Troy (695) and Novi (696) rounded out the top five finishers.
Veronica Haque, the only Rochester golfer with previous state finals experience, finished tied for fifth individually for the second consecutive year with a 160. She qualified as an individual each of the last two years.
Haney said he expects his team to take its runner-up finish and build on it next year.
“They’re not going to want to have this feeling again,” he said.
Brighton’s Julia Dean won the individual title with a 155. Lake Orion’s Moyea Russell and Rochester Hills Stoney Creek’s Lauren Ingle tied for third with a 158.
At Bedford Valley in Battle Creek, Birmingham Seaholm won its third consecutive team title with a 664, 13 shots ahead of second-place finisher Midland Dow.
“It’s every bit as great the third time around,” said Seaholm co-coach Cathie Fritz.
Jordan Michalak, Seaholm’s top golfer, finished tied for third individually with a two-day total of 159, while teammates Catherine Markley and Allegra Cunningham each shot a 164 to tie for eighth.
“They really carried us,” Fritz said. “She (Markley) was definitely the hero.”
At Michigan State’s Forest Akers West, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood posted a 733 to finish a distant third behind first-place finisher Spring Lake (661).
Detroit Country Day (735) finished in fourth and Warren Regina (747) fifth.
Individually, Carleton Airport’s Olivia Reed finished second with a 157 and Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Danielle Staskowski took fourth with a 159.
At Forest Akers East, Macomb Lutheran North took second place with a 693 – nine strokes behind Kalamazoo Hackett – while Livonia Ladywood finished fourth with a 725.
“They’ve come a long way,” said Ladywood coach Aaron Chessman of his team that finished in seventh place a year ago. “The past three weeks, we’ve played really well.”
Ladywood was led by Jordyn Rioux, who finished 11th individually with a 172.
“We had more success this year than a lot of people thought we’d have,” Chessman said.
Maple City Glen Lake’s Nichole Cox won the individual title for the second consecutive year. She finished with a 150, six strokes better than the second-place finisher Meg Watkins of Frankenmuth.
“It feels really nice,” Cox said. “I was really nervous this morning because I was only up by two. I just tried to stay calm.”
Glen Lake coach Paul Christiansen said he was happy with what he saw from Cox. She finished third as a freshman in 2013, and won the individual title last year by one shot.
“Each year, she’s improving a lot,” Christiansen said. “She’s a more mature player. Not many people get a chance to defend the title, and then come back and win it.”
Al Willman is a freelance writer