SUNFIELD — Emily Barker and Maranda Barton had an advantage playing on their home course Wednesday.
And the Lakewood golfers took advantage of that to help the Vikings secure a spot in the state golf finals.
Barker and Barton each finished among the top five individuals overall to help the Vikings to a runner-up finish at the Division 3 regional at Centennial Acres Golf Course.
Lakewood had a score of 363 – finishing eight strokes behind regional champion Hastings – to reach the state meet for the fourth consecutive year. It marked the fourth straight runner-up finish at the regional for the Vikings.
“You’re gunning for the regional championship and you’re hoping to take that crown – that part of it is a little tough,” Lakewood coach Carl Kutch said. “We knew we had a very good shot today on paper – us and Hastings are neck and neck Losing to them by eight strokes – they just had a little bit more depth. But we’re happy to be back to the state finals as a team. Four years in a row – I couldn’t ask for more.”
Haslett (415) and Charlotte (418) were the next best area finishers at the regional. Ionia had a team score of 445, Alma finished with a 451 and Corunna had a 475. Williamston and Sexton didn’t have enough golfers for a team score.
Lakewood’s runner-up finish was led by the strong play of Barker and Barton, who each put things together in their strong rounds. Barker shot a 73 to earn medalist honors, finishing seven strokes ahead of runner-up Jackie Nevins of Hastings to add another accomplishment to her strong prep career. She was also the medalist at the regional a year ago.
“It was a really exciting round today. I feel like I kind of put it all together for these postseason tournaments so I’m really pleased with my score,” Barker said. “It’s my best score since last year. It was a really solid round and I’m going to use it as momentum into state finals next week and look to improve.”
Barton, who finished fifth overall, had a personal-best 18-hole round of 88.
“I was really pleased with it,” Barton said. “I went hole by hole and it came out really well. I think the whole team did really well.”
The Lakewood captains hope to carry that momentum into next week’s state meet and help the Vikings improve on their seventh-place showing in the state finals from last year.
“We’re going to go out and try for everyone to have their personal best,” Barker said. “That’s what we’re going to be focused on this next week of practice.”
Contact Brian Calloway at [email protected] Follow him on Twitter @brian_calloway.