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.”

Click for full results.

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.)

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.”

Click for full results.

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.)