Hanover-Horton Ties Up 1st Title Since '93

June 9, 2018

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – It was fitting that the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Boys Golf Finals took place on the same day as the 150th running of the Belmont Stakes horse race, because Hanover-Horton and Big Rapids had a photo finish.

The two were tied after Friday’s first day at Forest Akers West with identical scores of 321, and then walked in from the course after Saturday’s second round having each shot scores of 330 to finish with a final total of 651.

So the figurative photo finish was the fifth-golfer tiebreaker, and that went the way of Hanover-Horton, which won its first MHSAA boys golf title since 1993.

“Mother Nature had a lot to say about today,” Hanover-Horton coach Mike Brockie said after watching his team survive a day full of rain, adding that what helped his team was that it played in a tournament at Forest Akers West about a month under weather conditions that were just as poor with a steady rain all day.

“You had casual water on the greens,” Brockie said. “My boys are somewhat mudders. I have a couple mudders, and I have a couple that would prefer not to play in this. But I tell my kids that you have to turn this weather into an asset, and I had three kids that did.”

Leading the way for Hanover-Horton was senior Brody Spink, who shot a two-day total of 159 (76-83).

Senior Garret Spink was right behind with a 161 (82-79), sophomore Brogan Brockie had a 164 (83-81), sophomore Jack Brockie shot a 167 (85-82) and freshman Kyler Rod finished at 182 (93-89).

Ultimately, it was Rod’s 89 that proved the difference, as that total was two shots better than the 91 shot by Big Rapids’ fifth golfer.

The Cardinals were led by junior Pierce Morrissey, a Michigan State-committed recruit who won the medalist honor with a final total of 147 (70-77).

“I struggled a little bit, and I wasn’t able to execute on a couple of shots that I hit real well,” Morrissey said. “The weather came into effect a little bit, and I finished out with the game I had today.”

Junior Owen Seay shot a 156 (74-82), senior Fletcher Boida had a 167 (85-82) and senior Benjamin Faith shot a 181 (92-89) additionally for Big Rapids.

In 2008, Big Rapids won the Division 3 title via the fifth-golfer tiebreaker, but was on the other side 10 years later.

“We played (Hanover-Horton) a couple of different times, and it has always been tight,” Big Rapids coach Mark Posey said. “You play in tournaments like this, and you know every stroke is going to count.”

Posey said there were no weather-related instructions that needed to be given to his team before Saturday’s play started.

“You are playing Michigan golf, and you get that experience playing in all sorts of weather, especially being from Northern Michigan. “My boys were prepared and ready to go. They knew they had to take their time and be patient. I’m really proud of the way that they hung in there today. They really fought their way through out there and didn’t give away any strokes. They kept at it.”

Grosse Ile was third with a 660, Grand Rapids South Christian shot a 669 to finish fourth, and Jackson Lumen Christi and Grand Rapids West Catholic tied for fifth with a 673.

Individually, Grand Rapids West Catholic senior Anderson Ryan finished second with a 150 (76-74), and Jackson Lumen Christi junior Tanner Schnell was third with a 153 (75-78).

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PHOTOS: (Top) Hanover-Horton’s Brody Spink watches one of his drives during Friday’s first round of the LP Division 3 Final. (Middle) Big Rapids’ Pierce Morrissey pumps a fist after making a putt. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Mid Peninsula's Boys Sweep UPD3 Titles, Including 1st Team Championship

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

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.)