Golf Finals: Aces Abound

June 16, 2012

ALLENDALE – Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice came back from an eight-stroke deficit after Friday’s first round to edge first-day leader Battle Creek Lakeview by a stroke, 603-602, in the Division 1 Final on Saturday at The Meadows.

The Warriors had finished fourth at the 2011 Final and brought four of their top five scorers from that team to Allendale this weekend. It was their first championship since 1998.

Sean Friel shot a 148 to tie for fourth individually, and Kyle Gaines was sixth with a 149. Two others missed the individual top 10 by two and three strokes.

Battle Creek Lakeview’s Mike Garland shot a 141 to win the individual championship by four strokes.

Reigning team champion Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central finished fifth.

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Division 2 at Ferris State

Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood made good on its  No. 1 ranking by shooting a 588 – 27 strokes better than runner-up and two-time reigning champion DeWitt, at Katke Golf Course. The Cranes finished runners-up in 2011.

Cranbrook-Kingswood placed three among the individual top 10. Dylan Deogun tied for fourth with a 144, Michael Ray tied for seventh with a 146 and Alex Papa tied for ninth with a 147.

Hamilton’s Nick Carlson won the individual championship in a playoff with DeWitt’s Tyler Polulak. Both shot 139.

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Division 3 at Michigan State

Boasting four of its top five scorers from last season’s championship run, Jackson Lumen Christi repeated by shooting a 596 at Forest Akers East. The Titans finished six strokes ahead of Hanover-Horton and Grosse Ile. (Hanover-Horton was runner-up based on a tie-breaker.)

It was the fourth straight Division 3 title for Lumen Christi.

After losing in a playoff last season to Pontiac Notre Dame’s Aaron Knutson, Grand Rapids West Catholic’s Sam Weatherhead finished four shots ahead to win the individual championship with a 136.

Lumen Christi had two golfers finish among the top five – Alex Reynolds tied for third with a 144, and Austin Eccleton was fifth with a 145.

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Division 4 at Michigan State

Lake Leelanau St. Mary moved up from its No. 2 ranking in the state coaches poll to win the championship by five strokes over Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central at Forest Akers West.

The championship was St. Mary’s first. The team finished 10th in 2011.

Hackett’s Ted Rider moved up one spot to claim the individual title with a 142 after finishing runner-up last season. Joel Sneed was fourth for St. Mary and Paul Bardenhagen was seventh.

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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)