Saugatuck/Douglas Commercial Record Sports

Saugatuck golfers place 10th in state

By Jason Wesseldyk
Sports Editor
Throughout the regular season, the Saugatuck boys golf team was ranked in the top 10 in Division 4. At the State Finals Friday and Saturday, June 7-8, the Trailblazers showed themselves worthy of that status.
Saugatuck shot a two-day total of 703 (355 and 348) to place seventh.
Clarkston Everest Collegiate won the state title at 664, followed by Calvin Christian (672), Hillsdale Academy (674), Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central (679) Hackett (682) and Charlevoix (691).
“Overall, I was happy with the way we competed and finished at the Finals,” coach Brian Ward said. “We came into the event ranked 10th in Division 4, so to out-perform our ranking was nice. We did not have our best rounds, but played solid and grinded to a great finish.”
This was the second-straight year Saugatuck qualified for the Finals as a team. Last year, the Trailblazers finished 12th.
“It was great to move into the top 10 this year,” Ward said. “It validated us being ranked there throughout the season.”
The team Ward brought to the Finals — played at The Meadows on the Grand Valley State University campus — was exactly the same as last season. That group included now-seniors Russell VandePoel, Eli Janowiak, Owen Marzolf and Jacey Merkle along with junior Cameron Lewis.
“Being largely a group of juniors last year at the Finals allowed us to learn a lot of firsts,” Ward said. “Things like how the event is run and what to expect for warmup. To be able to come in this year and just focus on the golf was a big advantage to our mindset.”
VandePoel regrouped from shooting a 95 on day one to shoot a 79 on day two. That 174 total matched Janowiak (90-84) for best on the team and ranked 29th overall. Marzolf (88-95) and Merkle (92-91) followed.
“Our four seniors — Eli, Russ, Owen and Jacey — have been instrumental in putting Saugatuck golf back into the spotlight,” Ward said. “We had a really strong program in the early 2000s and it’s awesome to see this group bring it back.
“Thanks to their hard work and efforts, this season we had enough kids interested in golf that we were able to have a JV team. That, in turn, will help our program at the varsity level and allow us to continue to be successful for years to come. So, they’ve helped leave a legacy that will be felt in our program for years to come.”

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