Harbor Springs Goes Low, Claims 1st Title

October 21, 2017

By Keith Dunlap
Special for Second Half

EAST LANSING – Going into this weekend’s Lower Peninsula Division 4 Girls Golf Finals at Michigan State's Forest Akers East, the best team score Harbor Springs had produced this season was a 330.

When his team shot a 352 to place fourth after the first day, Harbor Springs coach Pete Kelbel pointed out that 330 number as a barometer for the Rams to try and close the 12-stroke gap that existed between them and first-place Almont.

“We already did a 330, and if we shot anywhere near what we did, we will be in the hunt,” Kelbel said.

Harbor Springs not only got to 330, but bettered it – and as a result was more than just in the hunt when it all was said and done.

The Rams were MHSAA champions.

Thanks to a blistering score of 328 in Saturday’s second and final round, Harbor Springs finished with a total of 650, 11 shots ahead of runner-up Jackson Lumen Christi.

Almont was third at 699, North Muskegon fourth with a 716 and Kalamazoo Hackett was fifth with a final score of 718.

The title was the first in Harbor Springs girls golf history. The Rams finished runner-up in 2014, their lone top-two finish before Saturday.

A big reason for the team jump was the improved scores on the second day from junior Madi Bezilla and sophomore Evie Garver.

After shooting an 87 on Friday, Bezilla did 11 shots better Saturday with a 76.

Garver also had an 11-stroke improvement, going from a 92 on Friday to an 81 on Saturday.

“(Evie) is probably the longest-hitting girl here,” Kelbel said. “Of course in golf you have to get the wedge shots on and the putts in, and that’s what she did today.”

Lumen Christi entered the day one shot back of Friday leader Almont and turned in a second-day score of 350, but it wasn’t enough to match Harbor Springs.

“This team won it,” Lumen Christi head coach David Swartout said of Harbor Springs. “My hats off to any team that can shoot that score on the second day. Typically on the second day, scores go up.”

However, the second-place finish was still a source of pride for Lumen Christi.

Swartout said the program was almost scrapped five years when only two girls came out for the team, and he saw one of the current seniors shoot a 21 on her first hole at the 2014 MHSAA tournament.

Lumen Christi ended up finishing 14th that season.

“To come from that to runner-up state champions, that’s phenomenal,” he said.

Senior Geraldine Berkemeier and junior Hillary Ziemba shot identical two-day scores of 163 to lead the way for Lumen Christi.

Individually, Brooklyn Columbia Central junior Alissa Fish emerged from a four-way tie for the lead after the first day to win medalist honors, following a first-day total of 79 with an 80 on Saturday.

“I struck my irons close enough, but I didn’t putt real well,” Fish said. “I actually putt really bad today and it had me in tears at some point. A lot of it came down to putting it close enough to where I could finish out a lot of holes.”

The individual runner-up was Almont senior Grace Zimmerman, who followed up a 79 on Friday with an 82 on Saturday to finish at 161.

Click for full results.

PHOTOS: (Top) Harbor Springs poses with its first MHSAA Finals championship trophy won in girls golf. (Middle) The top 10 individual finishers at Forest Akers East. (Click to see more from HighSchoolSportsScene.com.)

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

By Jason Juno
Special for MHSAA.com

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.

Click for full results.

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.)