Grand Rapids Christian Keeps to Plan, Finishes Championship Charge

June 10, 2023

FRANKENMUTH – Grand Rapids Christian junior Dylan Clark admitted that, for him at least, Friday night was a rough one.

He’d shot a 73 during the first round of the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final at The Fortress to tie for sixth individually. But his team still trailed leader and two-time reigning champion Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice by 10 strokes despite carding a solid 300.

And yet, Clark and the Eagles were not without hope – they had a plan. And just about to a person, they credited “the plan” for an impressive comeback Saturday that netted the program’s second Finals championship in this sport and first since 2013.

Brother Rice’s Lorenzo Pinili is awarded first place individually.“We were all pretty confident, me myself especially. We knew it would be a long day today – it’s a marathon, not a 100-meter race – and we came in and stuck to the plan,” said sophomore John Cassiday, who tied for sixth individually. “We were sticking to a plan we drew up a couple of weeks ago, staying within our limits and don’t try to do anything special. We knew we were one of the best teams here, and it showed the last couple of holes.”

Grand Rapids Christian followed that Friday 300 with a 295 during the final round, while Brother Rice shot a 307 as the title chase went to the final holes and the Eagles prevailed by two strokes with a two-day 595.

Clark ended up fifth individually after shooting another 73, and freshman teammate Cooper Reitsma was tied for sixth with Cassiday after cutting his Friday score by four strokes (76-72) to also finish with a 148.

Junior Adam Workman didn’t play Friday but stepped into the Eagles’ lineup Saturday and also carded a 73 to help the charge.

“We felt like we had a good chance today because some of our guys didn’t play their best (Friday), and we felt like if we stuck to our plan that we made as a team, we’d get back closer to the mean for us,”  Grand Rapids Christian coach Kevin Broene said. “One of the things we’ve done all year is try to harp on a couple of things that keep us resilient, positive, bouncing back – encouragement – and gosh, if we didn’t embody those things today, I don’t know what day would embody that.

Gaylord’s Kole Putnam tracks a drive.“I’m really proud of the guys for every role that was played today, and they did it.”

Brother Rice’s 307 on Saturday was still the fourth-best score of any team on the weekend – behind only its Friday score and Grand Rapids Christian’s two rounds. Senior Lorenzo Pinili followed up an awe-inspiring 64 from Friday with a 70 on Saturday to finish as medalist after placing second both of the last two seasons. Following him, senior teammate Marcus Lee was the third golfer to tie for sixth individually.

Pinili’s two-day 134 was the lowest two-day tournament score he’d carded in high school golf.

“(Friday’s) round, I was just taking one shot at a time, trusting my shots, trusting my game. My putts were falling yesterday, I was hitting it close yesterday, and everything was going my way. So I was just letting it flow that day,” he said.

“Today was a little bit of an opposite day with the putter – the putter was not as hot. But I still tried to stick with it, tried to let the game flow. I didn’t really worry about anything today.”

Flint Powers Catholic senior Robert Burns gave Pinili a strong chase Friday shooting a 68 on the way to a second-place 141 for the weekend. Gaylord senior Kole Putnam and Stevensville Lakeshore senior Jacob Marohn tied for third at 144.

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PHOTOS (Top) Grand Rapids Christian’s Cooper Reitsma looks over a putt during Saturday’s second round at The Fortress. (Middle) Brother Rice’s Lorenzo Pinili is awarded first place individually. (Below) Gaylord’s Kole Putnam tracks a drive. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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