Lakeview High boys’ golf coach Tony Evans said he wanted to make sure his players were relaxed and stress-free heading into Friday’s opening 18-hole round of the MHSAA Division 1 Finals at The Meadows Golf Course at Grand Valley State University in Allendale.
So, Evans said the team agreed to do something it did during a regional tourney last season — stay out in the woods at a KOA campground in his sleeps-seven travel-trailer, instead of at a hotel.
Seems the idea might catch on.
Junior Matt Garland shot a field-best round of 3-under-par 69, senior Jared Muler carded a par-72 (good for fifth place individually), and Lakeview owned first-place state bragging rights with a score of 296 heading into Saturday’s final 18 holes of action.
Also for the Spartans — ranked No. 5 — junior Landon Osborne had a 77, freshman Matt Alderink a 78 and junior Nick Vocke a no-count 84.
“Camping out in the woods in Allendale, keeping it low-key without putting too much pressure on ourselves … I think the whole scenario worked,” said a chuckling Evans, whose squad is three strokes lower than second-place Traverse City West (299), four better than third-place Grand Rapids Forest Hills Central (300), six ahead of fourth-place Muskegon Mona Shores (302) and eight in front of fifth-place Birmingham Brother Rice (304).
“Garland played lights-out today — he was actually 5-under with six holes to play before a triple-bogey — and Multer birdied four of his last six holes. Then there was Landon, who had a real roller-coaster day — he struggled now and then, but did have a hole in one on the par-3 17th — and Matt Alderink swatted it around for his 78.
“So, the good thing is,” continued Evans, “is that while Garland and Multer played really well, Landon and Alderink are also both capable of going lower than they did today. So if all four of those guys are able to not worry about the scoreboard or what anybody else is shooting, and just go out there Saturday and play their best, we just might be able to steal this championship with a lot of very good teams in it and get out of the Grand Rapids area before they know what hit them.”
Lakeview has won four boys’ team state titles in school history, the last one coming in 2008. The Spartans finished in a tie for seventh last year at the finals.
“All the kids just did a great job today,” added Evans. “After squeaking out of regionals last week with a third-place finish via a fifth-man tie-breaker score, and just being happy to be here, now we have a chance to win this thing. The kids were really loose (Friday), and hopefully they’ll be that way again Saturday. We’ll see.”
At Katke Golf Course at Ferris State University in Big Rapids, Marshall — ranked No. 3 in D-2 — was in a tie for eighth place with East Grand Rapids with a 320 after Day 1. First was Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood with a 299.
Sophomore Brandon Hawkins led the Redhawks with a 76, followed by sophomore Tanor Blowers with a 79, senior Nick Hawkins with an 82, sophomore Aaron McCoy with an 83 and freshman Brooks Bultemeier with a no-count 86.
Also at the site, individual qualifier Evan Krohn, a senior at Gull Lake, shot a 77.
The high-score barometer for top-10-and-ties All-State individual medals Friday was a 75.
At Forest Akers East at Michigan State University, Delton Kellogg senior Mitch Wandell was in sixth place individually after a par-72, and Olivet sophomore Tyler Masters had a 77.
The top-10-and-ties-for-All-State high score Friday was a 74.
For complete scores, please see mhsaa.com.