Hackett Dominates Again in D4

June 15, 2013

By Tom Kendra
Special to Second Half

EAST LANSING – Father’s Day came early this year for Kalamazoo Hackett Catholic Central golf coach Steve Rider.

The first gift came from his team, which brought home Hackett’s third MHSAA championship in the past five seasons at Saturday’s MHSAA Lower Peninsula Division 4 Final.

The Fighting Irish dominated from the start, surging to a 10-stroke lead after Friday’s opening round and extending it further Saturday, finishing with consecutive rounds of 300 for a 600 total, 21 strokes better than second-place Saginaw Nouvel.

“We’ve been fortunate, and we’ve had a good group of kids come through here in recent years and they’ve been successful,” said Rider, who was still drying off after a celebratory dousing of water from his players. “Our goal was to win a state championship, and what a way to go out.”

Suttons Bay (630) placed third, followed by New Lothrop (642) and Fowler (657) in a tournament played in near-perfect conditions with no rain and very little wind at Forest Akers East golf course at Michigan State University.

The next early Father’s Day present came from his own son, Ted Rider, who won a two-man playoff on the second hole to repeat as Division 4 medalist.

Ted Rider opened with a 1-over 73 on Friday, then shot the round of his life to get into the playoff – a 3-under par 69 – for a 142 total. That equaled individual qualifier Zack Bialik of Manistee Catholic Central, a senior who shot back-to-back 1-under par rounds of 71.

Rider won on the second playoff hole when Bialik’s par putt just burned the edge of the cup.

"I honestly wasn’t thinking about the individual part of it at all this weekend,” said Ted Rider, who finished second at the Final as a sophomore before winning it the past two years. “It’s just so great to win the team state in my senior year. I’ve never been in a playoff at the state finals, so winning that was like icing on the cake.”

Coach Rider acknowledged his team will be hard-pressed to “three-peat” next spring, as he will be losing the top four players off of this year’s team – three of whom finished among the Top 10 individually Saturday.

In addition to Rider, Hackett junior Colin Joseph finished third overall after back-to-back rounds of even-par 72. Joseph will not be back with the Irish next year as his family is moving to Ohio.

Finishing ninth for Hackett was senior Luke Stull, who shot rounds of 73 and 75. Senior Spencer Walter (166) and sophomore Joe Wenzel (168) completed the scoring for the Irish.

After posing for some unique team pictures, including a cheerleader-like pyramid, Coach Rider reflected on an amazing five-year run, which now features three MHSAA championships and a runner-up finish a year ago to Lake Leelanau St. Mary.

“These kids love to play golf together. They push each other, but they love each other,” said Rider, who also coached his older son, Jack, on the Hackett championship teams of 2009 and 2010; he now plays for Grand Valley State’s golf team. “This has been a very special run.”

Coach Rider also has not decided whether he will bring back the Kelly green shorts, complete with white shamrocks, which one of the parents located earlier this month and his team and coaches wore on Friday and Saturday.

“I’m thinking we’ll probably retire the shorts, but I’m not sure; we played pretty well in them,” Rider said.

Saginaw Nouvel placed second behind the 1-2 punch of senior Brody Schiller and sophomore Nick Ludka.

Schiller shot consecutive 73s to finish fifth overall and Ludka, who had the low round on Friday with a 70 before falling back to a 77 on Saturday, placed sixth. The Panthers were unable to make a move on Hackett, with only one other score in the 70s.

Suttons Bay, New Lothrop and Fowler all struggled in Friday’s opening round and then played much better on Saturday to secure top-five team finishes.

Suttons Bay, which entered the Final ranked No. 2, wound up third after shooting 322 on Friday and 308 on Saturday. Senior Sean Lammy led the resurgence, bouncing back from a 76 with a 71 on Saturday, second only to Ted Rider’s 69, to finish tied for sixth individually.

New Lothrop did not have a single player in the Top 10, but locked up its fourth-place team finish by shaving six strokes off Friday’s score.

Fowler, paced by the steady play of junior Austin Feldpausch (74-73-147) was five shots better on Saturday than on Friday to hold off Pentwater for fifth place.

Other individuals placing in the Top 10 were Eau Claire senior Andy Vanderburg (145) who took sixth, and Petersburg-Summerfield senior Wyatt Spalding (148), who tied for ninth.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Kalamazoo Hackett’s Ted Rider tees off during the individual playoff Saturday at Forest Akers East. (Middle) Manistee Catholic Central’s Zack Bialik watches one of his tee shots during the playoff. (Click to see more at HighSchoolsSportsScene.com.)

Pinili Aiming to Add Medalist Honor as Brother Rice Seeks Finals 3-Peat

By Keith Dunlap
Special for MHSAA.com

June 8, 2023

The phrase the “third time is a charm” might often be trite and overplayed, but it also couldn’t apply more to Bloomfield Hills Brother Rice senior golfer Lorenzo Pinili.

Greater DetroitTwo years ago as a sophomore, Pinili finished as the individual runner-up at the Lower Peninsula Division 2 Final, five shots out of first at Bedford Valley in Battle Creek.

Last year, Pinili was the runner-up again at Grand Valley State, valiantly rallying from an opening-round score of 76 to shoot a 68 on the second day at The Meadows, but still ending six shots behind.

Both years, Brother Rice won the team title, so Pinili still left happy.

But no doubt, he hopes the third time will be the charm from an individual point of view when he competes at this weekend’s Division 2 Final at The Fortress in Frankenmuth.

“This year, I definitely have a lot more motivation to finish first,” he said. “It’s a lot of patience. That’s what it is. I just have to trust my game and not really force anything. That’s what most people try to do. If they know they want to get a win or know they want to play well, they’re going to start forcing shots that’s out of their comfort zone or do stuff they don’t really do.”

Pinili, who will play collegiately at Michigan State, has been hitting a lot of good shots throughout a golfing life that started when he was 2 years old. 

In fact, while Pinili has no recollection of the moment he took up the game, his father Rommel has reminded him constantly throughout his life.

“He said that I picked up a stick while the TV was on and I tried to copy what was on TV,” Pinili said. “From there, he gave me a plastic club, and he gave me real balls. He thought I was making good contact. From there, he gave me real metal clubs, and I was able to hit balls. There’s actually a video on YouTube that you can find of me hitting golf balls at the range when I was 2. From there, it’s been with me my whole entire life.”

Pinili said if there’s one area of his game that has evolved more than any other since he began high school, it’s performing when the stakes are the highest.

The Warriors celebrate their second-straight team title, including Pinili (standing, third from left) and his younger brother Leandro (standing, fourth from right

Brother Rice associate coach David Sass echoed those sentiments about Pinili’s enhanced ability to stay even-keeled mentally under pressure.

“He has a tendency to have such a high level of expectation for his game, that can kind of prohibit him from looking beyond a simple mistake,” he said. “He’s been really good about doing that lately. Golf is very hard, and it’s really about managing your mistakes. Perfection is basically unattainable in golf. If he stays patient, understands that, picks his spots on when to be aggressive, is aggressive in that moment, and then plays it smart during moments he shouldn’t be aggressive, I think he’s got an incredible chance to win this thing.”

One of the biggest competitors for Pinili this weekend could be someone in the same household.

Leandro Pinili, a sophomore, finished in a tie for ninth last year at the LPD2 Tournament, and definitely helps push Lorenzo to greater heights in the game.

“We share a lot of passion with the game together, and sometimes it gets a little too competitive just because he wants to beat me and I can’t let him beat me,” Lorenzo said. “It’s really nice having someone besides me who understands the side of golf that I understand. It’s also really fun being able to play with my brother and compete with him. I really love it, and that’s one of the biggest things I’m going to miss about Brother Rice golf.”

And no doubt, Brother Rice will definitely miss Lorenzo Pinili when he finishes his high school career on Saturday at a course he is looking forward to playing because it will require precise shots.

“I think it will separate the best from the rest of the pack,” he said. “You really can’t get away with anything out there.”

Keith DunlapKeith Dunlap has served in Detroit-area sports media for more than two decades, including as a sportswriter at the Oakland Press from 2001-16 primarily covering high school sports but also college and professional teams. His bylines also have appeared in USA Today, the Washington Post, the Detroit Free Press, the Houston Chronicle and the Boston Globe. He served as the administrator for the Oakland Activities Association’s website from 2017-2020. Contact him at [email protected] with story ideas for Oakland, Macomb and Wayne counties

PHOTOS (Top) Brother Rice's Lorenzo Pinili, right, tees off during the 2022 LP Division 1 Finals as Grand Rapids Christian's Adam Workman follows his shot. (Middle) The Warriors celebrate their second-straight team title, including Pinili (standing, third from left) and his younger brother Leandro (standing, fourth from right). Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)