HARRIS – There's a first time for everything.
That old saying was certainly proved true Wednesday afternoon during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 Girls Golf Final at the steamy Sage Run Golf Course.
The firsts? A U.P. championship for Kingsford High School, and a hole-in-one for Marquette junior Abigail Luke.
The Flivvers took home the team trophy for the first time in school history by topping the leaderboard with 412 strokes, seven clear of second-place Escanaba (419) and 22 ahead of third-place Negaunee (434).
It was a dream come true, said junior Bryonna Sanders, who was the individual runner-up shooting a 99.
“It feels pretty awesome,” Sanders said. “We came out here yesterday (for practice) and we put out a full effort. I think with our team spirit and pushing each other, we did pretty well.
“I didn't really have a game plan, but I went off with my nine-hybrid on every hole. … My driver wasn't hitting it today. Just have to wing it, and golf does its thing!”
Luke’s hole-in-one came midway through the front nine.
“It's crazy,” Luke said. “I was really upset about my last couple holes, but then I made a hole-in-one! It was just tears of joy. I haven't done it before. I was 99 yards away, and so I took my 50-degree (club) which I knew could go 95. And then I rolled it in. I could see it right from where I was! I was speechless when it happened.”
Luke ended up shooting a 101, which tied her for fourth with Escanaba freshman Kamrie Scott. Eskymos senior Sierra Scott was one stroke further back at 102.
The repeat medalist was Negaunee senior Rachel Niskanen, but she wasn't thrilled about how she got to her victory this time – even though she won by seven strokes over Sanders in firing a 92. Niskanen has routinely shot in the 70s and 80s all spring long.
“Honestly, it was a really rough day out there for me,” Niskanen said. “I was having a hard time hitting my irons, and it was probably one of the worst rounds of my whole spring season. But, I mean, a win's a win, I guess!
“I had a lot of fun with Negaunee golf. They do a really good job, putting on tournaments. Overall, I shot pretty well this season, mostly pars and birdies. But today was just a rough day.”
Kingsford had three of the top 10 individual finishers, with Grace Maki (tied for sixth, 102) and Ella Rizzo (tied for 10th, 105) joining Sanders at the top of the leaderboard.
In all, there were nine schools and 47 golfers playing in the event, which took roughly five-and-a-half hours.
Marquette finished fourth, followed by Menominee, Calumet, Sault Ste. Marie, Houghton, and Westwood.
PHOTOS (Top) Kingsford celebrates its first Upper Peninsula Finals team championship Wednesday at Sage Run. (Middle) Sault Ste. Marie’s Liliana Gutierrez putts during her Division 1 round. (Below) Marquette’s Abigail Luke. (Photos by Jack Hall.)
Be The Referee is a series of short messages designed to help educate people on the rules of different sports, to help them better understand the art of officiating, and to recruit officials.
Below is this week's segment – Animal Interference - Listen
In golf – it’s common to hear about birdies, eagles, maybe even an albatross. Or in my case, a snowman. But what if an actual animal interferes with your ball while in play?
There are two kinds of interference.
The first involves a ball still in motion. If you are putting and a squirrel darts out and stops or redirects your putt, you simply get a do-over from the original spot.
Off the green, if a moving ball is stopped or re-directed, you play the ball from where it ultimately stops.
If your ball is stopped and a seagull picks it up and carries it off – you just replace the ball to its original spot and proceed.
It doesn’t happen often, but now you know how to deal with squirrels and seagulls … in addition to birdies and eagles.
(PHOTO by Gary Shook.)