Champions Prevail by Narrowest of Margins

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2018

GLADSTONE — A tie-breaker was needed to determine a team champion Thursday at the Upper Peninsula Division 3 Boys Golf Final.

Cedarville and Ontonagon finished with 351 strokes apiece on this warm and humid day at Irish Oaks Golf Course.

It was Ontonagon, however, crowned champion for the first time since 2006 based on a lower score by its fifth golfer.

Ontonagon’s No. 5 golfer, senior James Domitrovich, shot 100 and Cedarville’s fifth score was 104, enough to give the Gladiators the edge.

“The kids on both of our teams have a great work ethic,” said Ontonagon coach Adam Spaulding. “The boys and girls are out there every day practicing, and the results have shown. The kids have come a long way in three weeks. Our course (Ontonagon Country Club) didn’t open until May 12 (due to weather and course conditions), but they understand the situation.”

Crystal Falls Forest Park placed third at 355, followed by three-time reigning champ Carney-Nadeau at 370 and Dollar Bay at 484.

Forest Park senior Lee Hedtke was medalist with 80, followed by Ontonagon juniors Henry Menigoz and Ed Polakowski and Cedarville senior Trevor Khollman at 82.

“In the first nine holes, I played solid,” said Hedtke. “I hit the ball straight, and staying on the fairway makes the game a lot easier. My short game was real good, and my putting was even better. It’s a great feeling to do something like this at the end of the year.”

Hedtke, who plans to enroll at Northeast Wisconsin Technical College in Green Bay this fall, fired a 35 through his first nine holes. A brief downpour then provided its share of challenges during the second half of the tourney.

“It was pouring for three holes in a row, and I got a little frustrated for about 4-5 holes,” said Hedtke. “That can get into your head very quickly. Then, I became a little more patient and birdied one hole.

“A 35 in the first nine set the tone. We were waiting for the rain to stop, yet we wanted to keep playing at a fast pace. You just have to play through it.”

Cedarville freshman Caleb Khollman placed fifth at 83. He was followed by Powers North Central senior Ben Snyder at 86, Carney sophomore Max Baumler, Cedarville freshman Jay Freel and Chassell junior Blade Warren all at 87 and Forest Park sophomore Evan Hedtke and junior Riley Hendrickson and Dollar Bay sophomore Ashton Janke all firing 89.

“That wasn’t bad at all,” said Cedarville coach Rob Freel. “Our second, third and fourth guys played about the same. I’m happy with the way we played. Our boys have a young group coming back, and our girls finished in a good place.”

Pickford junior Cody Campbell sank a hole-in-one, using a 9-iron on the No. 5 hole.

“It felt nice,” Campbell said of his tee shot. “It came off great and got a lot of elevation right away. It was jaw dropping. It was also very exciting. It’s a very rare event to have happen.”

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PHOTOS: (Top) The Ontonagon boys won the U.P. Division 3 Golf Final title Thursday at Gladstone’s Irish Oaks Golf Course. Members of the team are, from left: Henry Menigoz, Bradley Myhren, James Domitrovich, Eddy Polakowski, Tomas Immonen and Coach Adam Spaulding. (Middle) Forest Park’s Lee Hedtke watches a putt roll toward the hole Thursday; he shot 80 for the boys medalist honor. (Photos by Mike Mattson.)

Saline's Williams-Hoak Named National Coach of the Year by LPGA Professionals

By Geoff Kimmerly senior editor

September 20, 2022

The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year.

Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.

More on the award from LPGA Professionals:

The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.

LPGA Professionals Class A member Debbie Williams-Hoak knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels. She is a former LPGA Tour Player and track & field athlete who represented U.S. Track & Field in Russia and West Germany. She is a four-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame, University of Michigan Women’s Track Hall of Fame member and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame as a player, coach and teaching professional. This year, she is being inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

Having been a multi-sport athlete accustomed to competing at the highest level, Williams-Hoak brings something unique to her coaching style. She has successfully coached boys and girls golf for the past 16 years at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, and currently is serving as the first female president of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. Williams-Hoak feels proud that every girl on her team shot career lows while maintaining 100-percent academic eligibility this season, while her boys team placed second in the conference championship and qualified for its second-straight state Finals appearance.

She is dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of the game while empowering students through golf and hopes her example will pave the way for other women coaches to lead as well.

Williams-Hoak received the 2017 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf.  She was honored with the Midwest Youth Leader of the Year and Goldie Bateson Award two times, in addition to numerous recognitions as Coach of the Year from Saline High School.

She is deeply involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, which she currently serves as the LPGA Midwest Secretary since 2021. She has been site director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washtenaw Country since 2015 and acted as an advisor for the Site Director Certification program in 2021. From 2018-2021, she worked as an expert committee member for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.  She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academies in Michigan over the last two years.

"I am extremely humbled by this award, as there are so many outstanding LPGA coaches in our association. What an honor to represent the LPGA, the state of Michigan and the game of golf as a coach,” said Williams-Hoak. “It is a privilege to work with so many wonderful players who make coaching so rewarding. I am also fortunate to have such great fellow coaches in Michigan and throughout the LPGA. Thank you so much for this very special recognition."

PHOTO: Saline golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak, far left, stands for the trophy shot with her girls team after the Hornets won the 2016 Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. (MHSAA file photo)