Allegan County News & Union Enterprise Sports

Otsego golf teamcompetesat D2Finals

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor

EAST LANSING—As sophomores last year, Spencer Shearer and Landon Eastman represented Otsego in the Division 2 Boys Golf State Finals after qualifying as individuals.
The duo returned to the Finals again this season. Only this time, they brought their teammates with them.
Competing in the State Finals as a team for only the third time in program history, Otsego put together a two-day total of 660 to tie for 15th.
The Finals took place Friday, June 7, and Saturday, June 8, at Forest Akers West on the campus of Michigan State University.
“We had a great experience getting to the State Finals as a team,” longtime Otsego coach Matt Rayman said. “It’s always an honor to represent Otsego and be able to compete on the biggest stage.”
The Bulldogs finished the first time with a score of 333, which was tied with Jackson Northwest for 14th in the 18-team field.
“We didn’t play particularly well on day one, which put us in a little hole that I wasn’t anticipating,” Rayman said.
“Regionals, in my opinion, is the toughest and most stressful tournament as you have to preform at your best to advance, and we did that very well. I just think the time off in between (regionals and the Finals) and the anticipation might have played a part for us, but the fact is everyone had to deal with that same situation.”
The good news for Otsego is that all five of its members who competed at the Finals will be back next season: Shearer and Eastman are joined by fellow junior Jurian Shaffer as well as sophomore Karson Holladay and freshman Owen Santman.
“We’re a young team, so we should all come back ready next season,” Rayman said.
Shearer, as he’s done all season, led the charge for Otsego. After matching Eastman with an 81 on day one, Shearer posted a 75 on day two for a total of 156, which was good for 31st.
“Spencer was our top performer all year and ranks high in all the state categories,” Rayman said. “He is just starting to get recruited pretty hard and works as hard as anyone, so I don’t see any letup with him going forward.”
Eastman shot 79 on day two to finish at 160, followed by Shaffer (81-79—170), Holladay (86-89—175) and Santman (90-88—178).
“Landon Eastman had a very nice state tournament,” Rayman said. “He is the ultimate competitor and will also continue to improve.
“Jurian was another key contributor all season and had a solid tournament; Karson had some up and downs at the Finals, but had some really solid stretches counting both days; and Owen got his feet wet and will be an outstanding golfer going forward.”
In addition to the group that competed at the State Finals, junior Andrew Ballman is among the other golfers who will return for Otsego next season.
“I think all of those guys will improve and our top goal will be, as always, to win the Wolverine Conference first, then get out of regionals and hopefully compete and improve at the State Finals,” Rayman said.
“This is an awesome group to coach as I start winding down my coaching career at Otsego. I believe this is my 25th consecutive year as boys coach, and I look forward to seeing this group to the end.
“I recently stepped down as girls coach after being the only varsity coach since starting the program. It has been an incredible honor to coach as many kids as I have over the last 25 years, and I’m not quite done yet.”
Plainwell sophomore Drew Rayman joined Otsego in representing Allegan County at the Finals after qualifying as an individual by virtue of his performance at regionals.
Drew Rayman had the same scores as Shearer—81 on day one and 75 on day two for a total of 156—to tie for 31st.

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