DeTour Girls Deliver 1st Title since 1999

By John Vrancic
Special for

June 1, 2017

GLADSTONE — Most, if not all DeTour High School girls weren’t around the last time a team from their school was crowned Upper Peninsula golf champion.

It was 1999, and the Raiders were competing in Class D at the time. Ontonagon was runner-up that year.

On Thursday, the Raiders ended their title drought by taking the Division 3 crown for the first time with 403 strokes. They were followed by reigning champion Cedarville with 406 and Ontonagon at 433.

“I had a feeling it would be between us and Cedarville,” said DeTour coach Ken Wilkie. “I think our depth was a factor, plus we have four seniors. It’s very important to have that senior leadership and experience. The girls knew what to expect. Hopefully, this will draw some interest from our younger girls.”

Cedarville freshman Lily Freel earned the medalist honor with an 82 at Irish Oaks Golf Course. She was followed by DeTour seniors Madison Wilkie and Kaalin Crawford at 85 and 86, respectively.

“In the beginning, it was definitely a struggle,” said Freel, who shot 98 in last year’s Finals at Escanaba Country Club. “It took me a couple holes to settle down. I wasn’t too nervous, but I could still feel the pressure. I could tell I was a little tense, then I was able to convince myself to relax. I had some bad shots, but was able to recover from them. Last year was good for me because I learned from playing with the other girls. I put a lot of time into my game last summer and had a better idea what to expect.”

Freel, who works at the Les Cheneaux Club in Cedarville, is no stranger to golf.

“I think it’s great,” she said. “I’m around it all the time. I live within a block of the club. I ride my golf cart there all the time.”

Wilkie, consistently in the title hunt throughout her high school career, came in as reigning champion. She tied for first as a freshman in 2014, then was runner-up as a sophomore.

“Everything started good,” said Wilkie, who will continue her golf career at Lake Superior State University. “My play on the front nine was as solid as I’ve had, then things kind of fell apart on the back nine. I couldn’t read the greens for some reason. If you missed the hole, the ball rolled a little further. I had a hard time adjusting. I had three bad holes in a role at one time. My putting was better on the front nine. The first hole is always hard. Everybody tends to be a little nervous. Lily played awesome. I’m proud of her.”

Crawford’s putting, however, improved on the back nine.

“I became a little more comfortable on the course,” said Crawford, who will play basketball at Alpena Community College in 2017-18. “This is the best I’ve done in competition. Everything just came together. It was a real nice day for golf. It wasn’t too hot or too cold. There also wasn’t much wind.”

Cedarville coach Rob Freel said he was pleased with the Trojans’ performance.

“I was hoping our girls would come out on top, but they played real well today,” he added. “We’re excited about Lily’s potential. She has worked hard on her game.”

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PHOTOS: (Top) DeTour’s Kaalin Crawford gets ready to hit a tee shot during Thursday’s U.P. Division 3 Golf Finals at Gladstone’s Irish Oaks Golf Course. Watching Crawford hit are Ontonagon’s Samantha Lutz, left, and Engadine’s Lauren Dennis. (Middle) Cedarville’s Lily Freel hits a tee shot Thursday; she shot 82 to win the medalist honor. (Photos by Mike Mattson.)

Potent Pair Lead Cedarville/DeTour Girls to Repeat; Ontonagon Ace Paces Field

By Jason Juno
Special for

June 1, 2023

HYDE – Cedarville and DeTour have been golfing together for just two years as a co-op – and they already have two Upper Peninsula Girls Golf Finals titles.

The Islanders repeated in Division 3 with a score of 420 on Thursday at Highland Golf Club near Escanaba. That was eight strokes better than runner-up Big Bay de Noc and 16 fewer than third-place Ontonagon.

“It’s nice,” Islanders coach Jeff Autore said. “These girls worked hard. They knew they had a chance to be defending champions. We knew we had a pretty good chance coming in. This was our goal. The girls knew it, they were determined. This is why we practice in the rain and in the snow and in the cold.

Ontonagon’s Emmy Bobula tees off during her championship round.“We expected this and we worked hard for this, and they deserve it.”

For Hayley Kohlmann, who shot a 94, and Taylor Williams, who carded a 107, it was their third-straight team title. Cedarville also won as a standalone team in 2021. 

“They’ve had a pretty good run,” Autore said. “And then we co-opped with DeTour, and Lily Plowman has been our best player all year long. She finished in the top five last year.”

Plowman also shot a 94 on Thursday. She and Kohlmann were two of just three golfers in the field to shoot under 100.

The other was medalist Emmy Bobula of Ontonagon; she shot a 90. All three were over 100 at last year’s Final, held at the same course.

Bobula shot a 113 last year.

“So I really improved this season a lot,” she said. “It was crazy, that was my PR (personal record), so yeah, pretty bonkers.”

It was definitely a good time for such a good performance. She likes playing in tournaments and doesn’t get nervous for them. There’s no bigger tournament than this one for U.P. high school golfers.

Mackinac Island’s Isabella Nitzschke hits out of a tough spot beside a tree. “It’s crazy, it’s kind of surreal,” Bobula said. “I shed a few tears because it’s my senior season. It feels pretty good.”

Her coach Jim Jessup said Bobula wanted to have a big year – and she did.

“She’s a senior, she had drive, she wanted to do things this year and she did them,” Jessup said.

It all started for her Thursday off the tee.

“Probably my drives really saved me,” she said. “I had good drives today, which is probably the best thing and chipping, I did pretty well in chipping today actually.”

Ontonagon’s Madyson Pantti shot a 102 and Camryn Pederson of Big Bay de Noc a 105.

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PHOTOS (Top) Cedarville/DeTour’s Lily Plowman hits out of the sand during Thursday’s UPD3 Final. (Middle) Ontonagon’s Emmy Bobula tees off during her championship round. (Below) Mackinac Island’s Isabella Nitzschke hits out of a tough spot beside a tree. (Photos by Jason Juno.)