From 3rd to 2nd to Champion for DCC

June 6, 2015

By Butch Harmon
Special for Second Half

BIG RAPIDS – After coming close the past few seasons, Detroit Catholic Central captured the 2015 MHSAA Division 1 boys golf championship in a big way Saturday.

DCC earned its first MHSAA golf title since 2010 with a two-day total of 591 at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids. That score was 31 strokes better than second-place Battle Creek Lakeview, which finished with 622 strokes.

Canton took third with 624 while Hartland (625) and Rockford (633) rounded out the top five teams.

The championship ended four years of frustration for the Shamrocks that included falling one stroke short at last year’s Final and a third-place finish in 2013.

“Mission accomplished,” DCC senior co-captain Glenn Piot said. “This was our goal all year.”

Fellow senior captain Will Coffman shared his teammate’s feelings.

“It’s been a long time coming to be honest,” Coffman said. “Last year we battled to the end and lost by one. This feels great.”

Not only did the Cougars have to fend off a talented field of teams, but they also needed to fight off tough weather conditions that included plenty of wind along with the always challenging course that is home to Ferris State University.

“The boys just battled all weekend,” Detroit Catholic Central coach Mike Anderson said. “The conditions were tough with the wind, but the boys just kept grinding.”

The Shamrocks relied on a total-team effort and balance to get the job accomplished. Three of Catholic Central’s golfers placed in the top 10 individually, while the fourth score finished just two shots out of the top 10. 

Ben Smith led the way. He turned in a pair of consistent efforts as he shot a 72 on Friday and then came back with a 73 on Saturday to finish with a 145 that placed him third overall.

Max Palmer and sophomore James Piot tied for eighth place. Palmer and Piot both carded scores of 150 for the two days, with Palmer shooting a 70 and an 80 and Piot carding a pair of 75s. Coffman finished the tournament with a 152 total as he shot 77 and 75. 

“As a team we played pretty well,” Piot said. “Max played great the first day. Ben played solid the whole weekend, and Will was pretty solid too.”

As a team, the Shamrocks posted strong scores on both days of the tournament. Catholic Central led the by nine strokes after shooting a 294 on Friday. The Shamrocks then came back with a 297 on Saturday. 

DCC had its entire team of more than 20 golfers on hand for the event.

“I didn’t expect all of them to make it up,” Anderson said. “It’s a two-and-a-half hour drive, and we had over 20 here. It shows the kind of support we have. This is a pretty special group of kids. They are all good players. We have 60 to 65 kids try out, and we try to whittle it down to 20 or so. They are all good golfers. They are all tournament players in the summer.”

Battle Creek Lakeview placed second overall and also had the individual champion. Junior Andrew Walker, who placed ninth as an individual last year, took home the medalist honor. He shot a 70 on the first day and came back on Saturday to shoot a 72, giving him a two-day total of 142 that was two strokes lower than Donnie Trosper of Canton. 

“This is what I’ve been chasing for three years now,” Walker said. “To finally be able to win it is amazing. I tied for ninth last year and finished two shots out of a playoff.”

The experience helped Walker this year. 

“Consistency was the key this year,” Walker said. “The course is tough, so I just tried to go out there and stay consistent and not get in too much trouble. This feels amazing. I can’t describe the feeling.”

Trosper, who opened with a round of 67 on Friday, finished with a 144. Catholic Central’s Smith placed third with a 145, as did Joe Montpas of Flushing. Joel Pietila of Rockford placed fifth with a 147. 

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PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Catholic Central’s Ben Smith watches a shot Saturday at Katke Golf Course while leading his team to the Division 1 title. (Middle) Battle Creek Lakeview’s Andrew Walker claimed the individual championship by two strokes. (Click to see more from

Mid Peninsula's Boys Sweep UPD3 Titles, Including 1st Team Championship

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 1, 2023

HYDE – The Rock Mid Peninsula boys won their first Upper Peninsula Finals boys golf championship Thursday, earning it in Division 3 at Highland Golf Club near Escanaba.

The Wolverines finished with a score of 324, 13 strokes fewer than runner-up Ontonagon.

“It’s the first time in school history for us, so we’re pretty excited about it,” Mid Pen coach Earlene VanDamme said. “The kids put a lot of work into this year.”

They did it with three golfers among the individual top five, led by medalist Bradly VanDamme, who shot a 77, and tournament runner-up Michael Englund, who carded a 78. Christian VanDamme was close behind with an 81, which was good for a fifth-place tie.

Big Bay de Noc’s Nick Desjarden watches a tee shot at Highland Golf Club. The three golfers have shot consistently around 80 all year. 

“Our top three boys were pretty equivalent. They were within one or two strokes of each other,” Coach VanDamme said. “I kept messing with the order. It didn’t matter where I put them, it always ended up that they were just all always kind of consistent.”

Bradly VanDamme said he has been shooting consistently in the 80s. He shot an 80 here during a practice round. 

“So a 77 today was huge,” he said. “I never expected to play as good as I did today.”

Fixing a key part of his game helped.

“I got off the tee well; usually that’s my struggle,” VanDamme said. “But every tee, I just thought, if I can keep this one in play and keep it in the fairway, then this course is pretty easy if you can keep it in the fairway.”

He said he was happiest about the team title.

“It’s great. All the guys are really excited. That was our goal coming into this – we didn’t care how we all individually placed, we just wanted to win as a team,” he said.

Watersmeet’s Edmond Williams putts during his round.That’s the way team leaders think.

“Bradly is a strong leader for the team,” Coach VanDamme said. “He continuously is just prepping the team, saying, ‘Come on guys, this is about the team score. We all need to do this.’”

His brother Christian VanDamme was just four strokes behind him.

“It helps that (Bradly’s) brother is on the team because he is very competitive with him,” said Coach VanDamme, who also is Bradly and Christian’s mother. “And they put a lot of extra practice in trying to better themselves, so they do practice a lot.”

Ontonagon was team runner-up for the second year in a row.

The Gladiators were led by Abi Pestka, who finished in third place and shot an 80, and Jerry Majurin, who tied Christian VanDamme with an 81.

“That’s the best the boys have done as a group,” Ontonagon coach Jim Jessup said. “Everybody was fairly close in terms of their scores.”

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PHOTOS (Top) Rock Mid Peninsula celebrates its first UP Finals championship in boys golf Thursday. (Middle) Big Bay de Noc’s Nick Desjarden watches a tee shot at Highland Golf Club. (Below) Watersmeet’s Edmond Williams putts during his round. (Photos by Jason Juno.)