DCC Closes Perfect Spring with Repeat

June 11, 2016

By Paul Morgan
Special for Second Half

ALLENDALE – Even though Detroit Catholic Central led after Friday’s first round of the Lower Peninsula Division 1 golf tournament, coach Mike Anderson knew things weren’t just right.

‘’On the drive up and during breakfast on Friday morning the guys were very quiet,’’ Anderson said. ‘’Today, it was back to normal, having fun.’’

Ben Smith was the Shamrocks’ poster child for quiet-Friday, fun-Saturday.  The junior shot a 6-over par 78 for the first round, but came back for a 2-under 70 on Saturday to help DCC repeat as MHSAA champion.

The Shamrocks shot 299-298 – 597 for the two-day tournament, held at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. Grosse Pointe South was second with rounds of 302-303 – 605.

Battle Creek Lakeview’s Andrew Walker won a one-hole playoff over Plymouth’s Jack Boczar to take medalist honors. Each shot a 143. The championship was Walker's second straight.

Smith and junior James Piot (71-77 – 148) have been the leaders on Catholic Central’s team, according to Anderson.

‘’As it turned out James had a good first day and Ben had a good second day, so it worked out pretty well,’’ the coach said.

The turnaround for Smith was pretty simple.

‘’Today, I think I missed like two fairways and Friday I think I hit only two fairways,’’ Smith said. ‘’On the first day, it wasn’t really nerves, but I just wasn’t hitting it well and I couldn’t find the fairway, which leads to problems on this course.

‘’Overall, I played really well, but I left a few shots out there. I three-putted twice for par and missed a couple of short ones, but that’s going to happen.’’

Three holes on the back nine were crucial for Smith and his teammates. The junior double-bogeyed the par-3 13th hole, but came back with a birdie on the par-5 14th and then drained a long putt on the par-4 15th for a par.

‘’After making the double bogey, I used that to motivate me to play better,’’ he said. ‘’Luckily, I had that short par five and it’s a birdie hole.

‘’I was thinking to hit a drive out there, put it on in two and either get an eagle or birdie, which is what I did.’’

Added Anderson: ‘’Ben’s played well all year and Friday was his worst round of the season.’’

Also in the top five for Catholic Central was senior Max Palmer (75-75 – 150), junior Sean Niles (75-76 – 151) and junior Sean Sooch (79-83 – 162). Anderson is all smiles when thinking about next year and having to replace just one player.

‘’They didn’t lose an event all year,’’ Anderson said. ‘’All the boys on our team are going to play college golf and they have bright futures.’’

That goes all the way to Catholic Central’s ninth golfer.

‘’My sixth-through-nine golfers could make anyone’s top five,’’ he said. ‘’They will probably play college golf and they can’t make their high school top-five.’’

The all-smiles thing can be said about Grosse Pointe South coach Doug Roby, who isn’t losing a player off his top five. The Blue Devils’ scores were junior Oliver Livingston (71-74 – 145), sophomore Evan Theros (73-75 – 148), junior John Schoof (80-75 – 155), freshman Coalter Smith (78-79 – 157) and sophomore Patrick Sullivan (82-82 – 164).

‘’The kids played well both days,’’ Roby said. ‘’Friday night, we reviewed where we potentially gave away some strokes and it was in the last four holes.

‘’One of the things with this team is our play in that stretch. We just came up short today.’’

Actually, it was most of Catholic Central’s players getting off to hot starts, which put Grosse Pointe South in a position of playing catch-up all day. As a team, the Shamrocks had a seven-stroke lead over the Blue Devils after six holes.

‘’We talked about continuing to do the same things we’ve done all year,’’ Anderson said about the Saturday pep talk. ‘’We have to play our game, which is hitting greens and fairways, making good decisions and taking the double bogey out of play.’’

In doing so, the Shamrocks won the school’s fourth MHSAA golf championship in the past 13 years.

After DCC and Grosse Pointe South, the rest of the team scoring was Grand Blanc 617, Warren DeLaSalle 618, Midland 620, Battle Creek Lakeview 622, Detroit U-D Jesuit 624, Plymouth 630, Bloomfield Hills 632, Ann Arbor Skyline 637, Grand Ledge 641, Northville 650, Rochester Adams 655, Birmingham Brother Rice 657 and Rockford 669.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Detroit Catholic Central clinched its second straight Lower Peninsula Division 1 title. (Middle) Battle Creek Lakeview's Andrew Walker (right) shakes hands with Plymouth's Jack Boczar after winning a one-hole playoff for the individual medalist honor. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com 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)