Home > Girls golf: Unranked West takes Div. 1 state title | USA Today High School Sports

Girls golf: Unranked West takes Div. 1 state title | USA Today High School Sports

Brighton’s Julia Dean hits an approach shot on No. 9 Saturday at Grand Valley’s The Meadows. Dean shot 73 to win the individual title by one stroke.

Brighton’s Julia Dean hits an approach shot on No. 9 Saturday at Grand Valley’s The Meadows. Dean shot 73 to win the individual title by one stroke.

ALLENDALE – Newcomers created a lot of buzz at the Division 1 golf finals.

Unranked Traverse City West won the team trophy on a tiebreaker, and first-year Brighton player Julia Dean won individual medalist Saturday at The Meadows at Grand Valley State.

T.C. West turned a lot of heads by coming in unranked and posting a first-round team score Friday of 348, just five strokes behind No. 1 Rochester (343). The Titans reversed the tide in the second round Saturday with a 337 score to Rochester’s 342, and won on a fifth-player score (Madeline McCall, 93) to earn the championship.

“I think because we’re from the north a lot of times we can be forgotten about, even though throughout the season we won six tournaments in a row,” Traverse City West coach Kristen Nolan said.

“I think (the bad weather) actually benefitted us in the long run, because we are used to cold weather, rain, snow. Yesterday, the girls were a little disappointed with the way they played, but it ended up everyone playing a little bit over what they normally play.”

Last season, West finished 12th at the tournament; Rochester did not qualify last year but shot to the top of the rankings during the season.

“For the girls to come back and prepare and to have the season they’ve had, it’s been an unbelievable year,” Rochester coach Jeff Haney said. “I couldn’t be more proud of them. I told them I’m not any less proud of them had we shot one stroke better. It’s just unfortunate that we tied. But we’re very proud of their accomplishments.”

Rochester and West have no seniors in the starting lineup.

Freshman Anika Dy led West with a 79-77—156, good for runner-up individually; Rochester’s top scorer was Veronica Haque with an 80-80—160, good for a T-5 finish overall.

“The team win is a good feeling — you have each other’s backs,” Dy said. “We are shocked that we won. Tears of joy were coming out. It was crazy, because we’ve never come close to this.”

After the first day of play Friday, the scoring at the Division 1 finals was the closest any coach could remember, going back decades. Entering the final round, the top-four teams — Rochester, Bloomfield Hills, Lake Orion and Traverse City West — were within five strokes of each other.

Dy said she really wanted to be the freshman that came in and won medalist the first year. She has made waves on the national stage by qualifying two years in a row for the Drive, Chip and Putt National Championship at Augusta National, which kicks off Masters week in early April.

“I really wanted to win; losing by one hurts,” she said. “You go back and think of the shots that could have been saved, but you could do that all day. I am proud of it, and I’m ready for the next three years.”

Dean won medalist by scoring 82-73—155. She is a junior, but joined Brighton this year for the first time.

“Playing for Brighton is something I always wanted to do, but I had been so busy with other tournaments for AJGA, and this year was my first opportunity to play (high school), so when it became available in my schedule I definitely wanted to join,” Dean said. “The camaraderie is so much fun.

“The difference today was my putting. Today my goal was to get every putt 2 feet past the hole, and a few of them dropped in.”

Dean said no one shot stood out as her best.

“There were a few that weren’t my best shots, but they helped me at the time. I think I was really consistent off the tee, so that really helped. I didn’t have to worry about position, I was pretty much in the fairway each hole, a big help.”

Other finals

Division 2 at Battle Creek’s Bedford Valley

Birmingham Seaholm, which held a slim two-stroke lead after Day 1, took the state title with a 664 total, 13 shots ahead of Midland Dow. South Lyon was third with 692. Muskegon Reeths-Puffer’s Karina VanDuinen shot a 74 on Saturday for a 156 total, earning medalist honors by two shots over Dow’s Stephanie Carras.

Division 3 at Michigan State’s Forest AkErs West

Spring Lake ran away with the Division 3 title, shooting 336 on Saturday for a 661 total, 70 shots ahead of first-year varsity program Goodrich. Spring Lake’s Anna Kramer shot a second straight 77 to earn medalist honors, three shots ahead of Airport’s Olivia Reed.

Division 4 at Michigan State’s Forest Akers East

Kalamazoo Hackett (684) expanded its three-stroke lead after Day 1, winning the state title by nine strokes over Macomb Lutheran North. Frankenmuth was third with 722. Maple City Glen Lake’s Nichole Cox was the medalist, shooting 74 on Saturday for a 150 total.

Frankenmuth’s Meg Watkins was second, six strokes back.

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