Tawas Closes with History-Making Round

June 11, 2016

By Scott Keyes
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – It's no secret. Lansing Catholic has owned the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Golf Finals over the past decade.

After the Cougars rolled to a double-digit victory over Tawas at their Regional, it looked like they were primed to capture a fourth straight Division 3 title on a course they were quite familiar with in Forest Akers East on the campus of Michigan State University.

Think again.

Lansing Catholic wasn't in contention; however, the team that looked vulnerable at Regionals turned out to be he one everyone was chasing Saturday afternoon.

Tawas won its first-ever MHSAA Finals championship in any sport by overcoming a 13-stroke deficit on the final day.

Tawas shot a two-day score of 600 (303, 297), with Saturday's 297 setting a school record 18-hole round.

Jackson Lumen Christi came in second (603), Big Rapids took third (619), Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian took fourth (625) and Houghton Lake rounded out the top five (631).

"Tawas has never won a state championship in any team sport," ninth-year coach Keith Martin said. "So we were really excited, but thanks to the tracking we were able to do, we kind of knew we had it."

Martin knows in tournament play you never know what is going to happen until the final hole, so to watch his team overcome double-digit strokes was a huge accomplishment – not to mention doing so with a first championship on the line.

It appeared it wasn't Tawas' day through the first nine holes when the Braves fell 13 strokes behind perennial power Jackson Lumen Christi.

"We started out really slow on the front nine, and Lumen Christi was playing really well," Martin said.  “One of our kids chipped in for eagle on the 10th, and the positive vibes spread pretty quick after that.

"Then we knocked in a couple birdies and really regained our composure."

After shooting 153 as a team on the front nine, sophomore Daniel Shattuck chipped-in on the 10th to start the momentum toward the team’s best nine-hole score this season, 144. Martin called that shot the turning point in the match, not to mention calling it one of the most incredible shots he’s witnessed first hand, 

"We shot 144 on the back which is – that’s pretty dang good."

Shattuck said he was mulling through his round, but the shot gave him new life. He wound up shooting the best nine holes of his life.

"It's crazy how things work out," Shattuck said. "All you need is a break or a confidence boost, and that's what happened. I looked up and realized I made eagle in the final round of the state championship. It doesn't get any better than that."

Tawas has a six-man rotation, and two split one of the five spots in the Finals lineup.

Mason Buresh and Kyle Costigan played on Friday and Saturday, respectively, and combined to shoot a 153 – which finished third among the team’s five scores.

Buresh shot an 80 on Friday, while Andrew Volk had a consistent weekend with a 152 (74-78), which put him just two strokes outside the individual top 10.

Senior Bryce Myles who led the team with a two-day total of 148 – 73 Friday and 75 Saturday – and finished tied for fourth individually with a 148.

Winning the individual championship was Macomb Lutheran North's Scott Sparks with a 141; he also won an individual title two seasons ago as a sophomore. Dundee’s Justin Kane and Big Rapids’ Carter Bechaz tied for second at 147, and joining Myles at 148 were Freeland’s Benjamin Balen and Jackson Lumen Christi’s Will Double.

Myles said there was nothing like saving one of his best rounds of his career for his final high school tournament.

“To be able to win a state championship, finish all-state all in your final high school tournament is an incredible feeling," he said.

As for Lumen Christi, which was tied with Tawas after the first day and at one point held a 13-stroke lead – the Titans settled for their third runner-up finish over the past four seasons.

"Lumen Christi is an amazing program with a Hall of Fame coach," Martin said. "They played really well, but I guess it was our day today."

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Tawas’ Bryce Myles responds enthusiastically during Saturday’s second round of the Lower Peninsula Division 3 Final. (Middle) Macomb Lutheran North’s Scott Sparks watches a shot at Forest Akers East. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

Saline's Williams-Hoak Named National Coach of the Year by LPGA Professionals

By Geoff Kimmerly
MHSAA.com senior editor

September 20, 2022

The LPGA Professionals have named Saline High School golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak as its national Coach of the Year.

Williams-Hoak was among national award winners who were selected by the LPGA Professionals’ executive committee from a pool of Section Award winners, which were voted on by officers of those regional sections.

More on the award from LPGA Professionals:

The LPGA Professionals Coach of the Year Award was established in 1980 and is awarded annually to an LPGA Professionals member who is actively engaged in teaching and/or coaching golf at the collegiate or high school level.

LPGA Professionals Class A member Debbie Williams-Hoak knows what it takes to compete at the highest levels. She is a former LPGA Tour Player and track & field athlete who represented U.S. Track & Field in Russia and West Germany. She is a four-time Big Ten Champion, a member of the Ohio Track & Field Hall of Fame, University of Michigan Women’s Track Hall of Fame member and a member of the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame as a player, coach and teaching professional. This year, she is being inducted into the University of Michigan Athletic Hall of Honor.

Having been a multi-sport athlete accustomed to competing at the highest level, Williams-Hoak brings something unique to her coaching style. She has successfully coached boys and girls golf for the past 16 years at Saline High School in Saline, Michigan, and currently is serving as the first female president of the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. Williams-Hoak feels proud that every girl on her team shot career lows while maintaining 100-percent academic eligibility this season, while her boys team placed second in the conference championship and qualified for its second-straight state Finals appearance.

She is dedicated to instilling a lifelong love of the game while empowering students through golf and hopes her example will pave the way for other women coaches to lead as well.

Williams-Hoak received the 2017 Sandy LaBauve Spirit Award, the most coveted honor bestowed by LPGA*USGA Girls Golf, for her continued dedication and passion for empowering girls through golf.  She was honored with the Midwest Youth Leader of the Year and Goldie Bateson Award two times, in addition to numerous recognitions as Coach of the Year from Saline High School.

She is deeply involved with the LPGA Professionals organization, which she currently serves as the LPGA Midwest Secretary since 2021. She has been site director for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf of Greater Washtenaw Country since 2015 and acted as an advisor for the Site Director Certification program in 2021. From 2018-2021, she worked as an expert committee member for LPGA*USGA Girls Golf.  She also coached at the LPGA Leadership Academies in Michigan over the last two years.

"I am extremely humbled by this award, as there are so many outstanding LPGA coaches in our association. What an honor to represent the LPGA, the state of Michigan and the game of golf as a coach,” said Williams-Hoak. “It is a privilege to work with so many wonderful players who make coaching so rewarding. I am also fortunate to have such great fellow coaches in Michigan and throughout the LPGA. Thank you so much for this very special recognition."

PHOTO: Saline golf coach Debbie Williams-Hoak, far left, stands for the trophy shot with her girls team after the Hornets won the 2016 Lower Peninsula Division 1 championship. (MHSAA file photo)