Northville Rises from Low-Scoring Pack to Finish with 1st Finals Victory

By Dean Holzwarth
Special for

June 10, 2023

ALLENDALE – A mere six shots separated the top three teams at Saturday’s Lower Peninsula Division 1 Boys Golf Final.

Out of the competitive tussle emerged a first-time champion.

Northville captured the program’s first Finals title after fending off its two closest competitors.

The Mustangs shot a two-day total of 605 to clip runner-up Rochester Adams (607) and third-place Brighton (609).

Adams’ junior Peter Roehl won the individual title after closing with a final-round 68.

“This program has never won a team state title in golf so this team, yesterday and today, just battled and battled and battled,” Mustangs coach Matt Lewicki said. “It’s been one of the toughest state finals we’ve ever seen from a competition standpoint top to bottom, so for these guys to prevail, it's incredible.”

Four seniors catapulted Northville to the win, led by Mason Sokolowski with a third-place finish.

Adams’ Peter Roehl tracks a shot during his medalist weekend.Sokolowski fired a 144 (70-74), while teammate Greg Braun shot a pair of 74s and finished 11th overall.

“This is crazy, our first boys golf championship,” Sokolowski said. “Everyone had each other’s back, and we were having fun out there in our last high school tournament.

“We’ve been going back and forth all year (with Brighton), and today was about smart golf. No big numbers and not getting ahead of ourselves. We just battled on a really tough course.”

The unsung hero for Northville was senior Thomas Forsythe, who hadn’t competed during the last two weeks due to the team’s talent and depth and had to go through qualifying for the opportunity to play. 

“He wasn’t expecting to play in this tournament and he came out and really contributed and really helped the team,” Lewicki said. “He came in and had a counting score yesterday and nailed it down today. He came through a gauntlet of qualifying to get in this tournament, and it was incredible for him and the rest of our seniors.”

Forsythe shot a 156 (77-79), while senior Ryan Gallagher added a 157 (79-78).

“I’m overwhelmed,” said an emotional Forsythe. “I had to qualify to get into this, and now we’re state champions. We have some good players on this team, and I’m happy that I could help and get this done.

“We just took it one shot at a time and managed to pull through. I’m happy for all the seniors, and this is the first one in school history. It’s a big deal and means a lot.”

Northville and Brighton entered the final round knotted at 300.

“The mindset today was to have fun, and the reason they were here was because they worked their butts off to get here,” Lewicki said. “Just stay calm and stay confident. Don’t get too high or too low.” 

Adams trailed by nine strokes entering Saturday, but posted the best final-round score (298) to jump into second place.

Senior Justin Oviatt finished eighth overall with a 147 (74-73).

“These kids had a great year, and I think we had 10 first or second-place finishes,” Highlanders coach Matt Zavadil said. “Overall they had a great year, and to finish it off with runner-up is pretty good.”

East Lansing’s Drew Miller follows one of his approaches.Roehl shot a 72 on the first day, but stormed to the top of the leaderboard with stellar play and finished Saturday with a tournament-low 3-under-par round.

He bested runner-up Drew Miller of East Lansing, who shot a 143 (74-69).

“I was just trying to make par on every hole,” Roehl said. “I knew scores might be a little lower, but I didn’t really look at the leaderboard and just played the golf course hole by hole. It worked out in the end.”

Roehl drained a 20-foot eagle putt on the fourth hole.

“That kickstarted my round,” he said. “I cooled off a little bit but finished strong. It feels good to win, but it stings to come up short as a team.”

Two Brighton players, seniors Winston Lerch and Andrew Daily, finished among the top 10 individuals.

Click for full results.   

PHOTOS (Top) Mason Sokolowski putts during Northville’s title-clinching round Saturday. (Middle) Adams’ Peter Roehl tracks a shot during his medalist weekend. (Below) East Lansing’s Drew Miller follows one of his approaches. (Click for more from High School Sports Scene.)

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