By Geoff Kimmerly
Second Half editor
This photo of Marquette’s 1996 Upper Peninsula Class A-B champion team is like most stuffed into our archives from publications past – and at the same time, includes a player starting on one of the most historic runs in MHSAA girls golf history.
Third from left is then-freshman Kendra Palmer, who won the individual title that day at Marquette Golf & Country Club with a score of 93. She also went on to win individual championships the next three seasons, becoming the first Michigan high school female golfer to win four Finals total.
Palmer shot a first-place 89 in 1997 at Gladstone Golf Club as her team finished third, and then a winning 89 at Escanaba Country Club as Marquette finished third again in 1998. Palmer capped her career firing an 85 to lead her team back to the top of the standings in 1999 at Riverside Country Club in Menominee.
Palmer went on to play at Loyola University in Chicago and was named Horizon League Player of the Year as a senior in 2003. This past summer Palmer won the Upper Peninsula Ladies Golf Association championship – click for more on that event from the Marquette Mining Journal.
Only one other golfer has won four MHSAA girls championships – Marquette’s Carley Saint-Onge from 2008-2011. Seven have won three Finals titles – Menominee’s Jenny Mellinger (1984-86), L’Anse’s Jennifer Kangas (1990-92), Ann Arbor Pioneer’s Kate Loy (1993-95), Ontonagon’s Halley Borseth (2009-11), Ishpeming Westwood’s Megan Manninen (2009, 2011-12), Okemos’ Elle Nichols (2011-13) and Maple City Glen Lake’s Nichole Cox (2014-16).
PHOTO: Marquette's 1996 girls golf team, from left: Jill Zorza, Emily Downs, Kendra Palmer, Jenny Shaffer, Katie Crotty and Elizabeth Koski.
Join Elizabeth Coon as State Champs! takes a look at all of the action from the 2023 Lower Peninsula Girls Golf Finals.