Wykons Follow Bociek on Dominating Run

May 30, 2018

By Dennis Grall
Special for Second Half

NORWAY – Trey Bociek found a pretty efficient way to get around Oak Crest Golf Course here Wednesday.

The sophomore simply played bombs away off the tee, pounding his drives some 280 to 300 yards with deadly accuracy over the rolling, tree-lined 5,903 yards. He posted a career-best 74 to help his Iron River West Iron County teammates capture the Upper Peninsula Division 2 boys championship.

Bociek was the medalist and finished three shots ahead of teammate Nathan Thomson, whose brother Noah was fourth with 80. Trevor Tchida of Hancock was third at 79, while Norway's Evan Anderson was fifth with 81.

Bociek also plays hockey, for Kingsford under the co-op program. He golfs from the right side but is a lefty with a hockey stick as a center. Hockey is his favorite sport.

He struggled at the start, with a string of three bogeys before getting three birdies to close out the front nine. He had two birdies and seven pars on the back.

"The first birdie (on hole 2 following par on the short dogleg left opening hole) started me off," he said. "I got into it and had a good pace the rest of the way."

While some players said the greens were slow, Bociek was happy with the speed. "I like them that way because I can hit the ball harder," he said, adding he also was solid with his approach wedge shots.

Playing at George Young Golf Course in Gaastra, south of Iron River, has been helpful to his development because its tree-lined fairways and large greens.

Bociek said he was focused on his game of golf. "I was not worrying about anybody else," he said. "I blocked everybody out and did my thing."

Bociek pointed out the Wykons have three sophomores and two freshmen, which should bode well for the future. Coach Mark Martini agreed with Bociek that the Wykons should continue to contend.

"They don't realize this opportunity doesn't come along that often in life," he said of potentially establishing a dynasty.

Martini said Wednesday's success actually began around Easter when he sent a text to his players "to get ready for the train and the U.P. and we are going to win. We talked about it all year.

"They played like this all the time. They practice well, they listen well," he added, indicating the Wykons did not use a surprising runner-up finish at the conference finals as incentive.

The Wykons also won U.P. titles in 2003, 2008 and 2015.

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PHOTOS: (Top) Iron River West Iron County handily captured the Upper Peninsula Division 2 boys golf championship May 30 at Norway’s Oak Crest Golf Course. The Wykons finished with 315 strokes, 29 fewer than runner-up Norway. The team is comprised of, from left, Trey Bociek, Brayden Nelson, Noah Thomson, Peyton Williams, Nate Thomson and coach Mark Martini. (Middle) Bryce Bowerman of Munising chips onto the 16th green. (Photos by Dennis Grall.)

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.)