Grosse Pointe South Takes Final Step

June 9, 2018

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for Second Half

ALLENDALE – The Grosse Pointe South boys golf team had grown weary of coming up a few strokes short.

After placing runners-up at the Lower Peninsula Division 1 Finals the past two years to Detroit Catholic Central, the Blue Devils finally broke through Saturday at The Meadows at Grand Valley State and captured the program’s first MHSAA championship.

Grosse Pointe South fired back-to-back rounds over the weekend of 299 for a 598 total. The Blue Devils finished 19 strokes ahead of runner-up Rockford, which shot 617.

Birmingham Seaholm (619), Northville (624) and the Shamrocks (627) rounded out the top five.  

“They were so self-motivated and self-driven to take it to that next level,” Blue Devils coach Rob McIntyre said. “They were sick and tired of coming close, and they took it upon themselves to really drive that one extra step. I’m really proud of how they went out there and performed.”

Grosse Pointe South senior Patrick Sullivan was the catalyst in the win and earned an individual Finals title while also gaining redemption.

Sullivan defeated Northville’s Jimmy Dales on the second playoff hole to earn the medalist honor.

“We came here my sophomore year, and we lost by a few strokes and I played horrible,” said Sullivan, who will play at the University of Michigan in the fall. “I don’t even think my score counted the second day. So just to come back for the team and win, and for me to win individually is just a bonus.”

Sullivan and Dales each shot 143 with rounds of 71 and 72.

Sullivan was in trouble on the first playoff hole after his second shot flew over the green. However, he got up-and-down to force an extra hole and won it with a two-putt par.  

“My adrenaline was clearly going on the second shot to get there, but my lie was pretty good,” he said. “I took a big swing, and it worked out. Two-footers the last two holes felt like 20 feet, but they got the job done. I putted well the past couple days, and that was the difference.”

Dales, a senior, missed last year’s Finals after undergoing hernia surgery two weeks before his team’s Regional.

“It was good to come back and play well, and I thought I had a really good game plan coming into the week,” Dales said. “I hit my irons really well, and that gave me some birdie opportunities and kept big scores out of the way. I made a lot of really clutch putts, especially on that playoff hole.”

Grosse Pointe South junior Coalter Smith also finished among the top 10, in a tie for third with a 148 total.

Also contributing solid scores were sophomore Tom Sullivan (152) and senior Evan Theros (155).

“We’ve been practicing a lot to not hoist the second-place trophy, and it feels really good,” Smith said. “This has been building year after year, and we’ve played like this all year. We’ve all been able to play pretty well and shoot in the low to mid 70s.

McIntyre knew this team had the makings of one that could reverse the trend of near misses.

“This was the end goal, and we knew from the beginning that this was our potential,” he said. “I don’t want to say it was state championship or nothing, but I’m very proud of the scores they put up that led us to a state championship.”

Rockford’s runner-up effort was its highest finish at the Finals in school history.

Junior Kevin Healy led the Rams with a 146 total after a pair of 73s and placed second overall.

Senior Daniel Froumis shot 151, while freshman Oliver Haeverle carded a 153.

“Give credit to Grosse Pointe South because they are a phenomenal team,” Rockford coach Joel Siegel said. “They definitely played awesome, and our guys played awesome. I knew we had a lot of potential this year and were just searching for consistent four and five guys.

“This is where I thought we would be, and it’s going to be really fun to see what happens next year returning most of our guys from (this) year.”

Entering Saturday, the Rams were among six teams separated by five strokes or fewer behind Grosse Pointe South.

“Our last couple holes on Friday were 12, 13 and 14, and we played those absolutely terrible,” Siegel said. “Our van ride home was focusing on how we could dial in on those holes because we knew they would be important coming in, and ironically though, they were. We were able to get through them just fine.”

Utica Ford’s Owen Tucci shot the lowest score of the Finals, firing a 5-under 67 on Saturday after shooting 81 for the first round. He finished in a tie for third at 148.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Grosse Pointe South’s Patrick Sullivan guides an iron shot during Friday’s first round at The Meadows. (Middle) Northville’s Jimmy Dales watches one of his shots Friday. (Click to see more from

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.”

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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.)