Whichever player tees it up will likely shoot a low score, and such proved to be the case on a perfect day weather-wise at the annual Oakland County Division I boys golf tournament on Wednesday.
Once again showing the depth that has catapulted it to a No. 2 ranking in Division 1, Brother Rice is the boys golf champion of the county once again after shooting a tournament-best team score of 303.
Clarkston and Milford each shot a 310 to finish behind the Warriors, with Clarkston officially being awarded the runner-up spot via the fifth-golfer tiebreaker.
Novi Detroit Catholic Central (314) and Novi (318) rounded out the top 5.
Brother Rice had three golfers break 80, led by respective 74s from junior Nick Dennis and sophomore Lucas Belanger. Senior John Gordy added a 75, and senior Doug Cubbin had an 80. Meanwhile, sophomore Sean Friel added a solid score of 82 that wasn’t even needed in the final scoring, because of the rounds by the other four players.
“Each tournament, there’s a different guy or a couple of guys going low,” Brother Rice head coach Dan Bumpus said. “It’s nice to know that, one through five, you can count on a good score on any given day.”
Brother Rice finished second at last year’s tournament to Farmington, although Bumpus said coming so close to winning last year wasn’t a source of motivation going into this year’s tournament.
“I never even mentioned it,” Bumpus said. “We go into every tournament hoping to win and preparing to win.”
While Brother Rice winning the tournament wasn’t necessarily shocking, it was a surprise Clarkston finished where it did.
The Wolves had three golfers break 80 themselves, those being Jimmy Delnick (75), Taylor Walker (77) and Nick Robeson (78). Andrew Lange added an 80 for Clarkston.
“If we can get our putting straightened out, we can be dangerous,” Clarkston head coach Pete Gallagher said. “We’re good ball-strikers. (We were hoping) for top five. That might’ve been a bit overzealous, but we’re here to compete.”
With little wind, the sunny weather produced the expected low scores, as 13 golfers shot 76 or better and 34 broke 80.
The lowest score was turned in by Milford senior Chris Cunningham, who fired an even-par round of 72 to earn medalist honors in his last county tournament.
Cunningham said he birdied four holes, bogeyed four holes and hit 15 greens in regulation during his round.
“Every year I’ve played here, I’ve improved,” Cunningham said. “It feels good to finally bring it all together in one round and play well.”
North Farmington’s Max Kollin and Novi’s Tyler Manning each shot a 73 to finish in a tie for second behind Cunningham.
In addition to Dennis and Belanger, Farmington’s Gregg Bussell, Pontiac Notre Dame Prep’s Aaron Knutson and Walled Lake Northern’s Joe Parker each shot a 74 as well.
As is the case every year, the county tournament is the last big tournament that precedes the start of postseason tournaments for boys golf teams.
Next week, district tournaments around the state will take place, with the top six teams at each district advancing to regional tournaments the following week.
From there, the top three teams at regionals qualify for the state tournament.
E-mail Keith Dunlap at email@example.com
Oakland County Division I tournament
(at Pontiac Country Club, par 72)
TEAMS — Birmingham Brother Rice 303; Clarkston 310; Milford 310; Novi Detroit Catholic Central 314; Novi 318; Birmingham Groves 319; Farmington 320; Troy 321; Walled Lake Northern 321; Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 322; Pontiac Notre Dame Prep 322; North Farmington 323; Lakeland 324; Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook Kingswood 325; Lake Orion 326; Rochester Adams 326; Walled Lake Western 328; South Lyon 331; Orchard Lake St. Mary’s 331; Walled Lake Central 335; West Bloomfield 336; Ortonville Brandon 337; Bloomfield Hills Andover 339; Oxford 341; Waterford Kettering 349.
INDIVIDUALS — Chris Cunningham (Milford) 72; Max Kollin (N. Farmington) 73; Tyler Manning (Novi) 73; Nick Dennis (Brother Rice) 74; Lucas Belanger (Brother Rice) 74; Gregg Bussell (Farmington) 74; Aaron Knutson (Notre Dame Prep) 74; Joe Parker (W.L. Northern) 74; John Gordy (Brother Rice) 75; Jimmy Delnick (Clarkston) 75; Corbin Rainey (Lake Orion) 75; Brad Ferguson (Lakeland) 76; Parker Millington (Milford) 76; Taylor Walker (Clarkston) 77; Alex Waelchli (Lake Orion) 77; Mike Panek (Catholic Central) 77; Brendan Gres (Oakland Christian) 77; Sean Hickey (St. Mary’s) 77; Nick Robeson (Clarkston) 78; Shane Kesthely (Farmington) 78; Alex Wiese (Lakeland) 78; Jake Sakkinen (Milford) 78; Charlie Green (Catholic Central) 78; Tyler Coyne (Oakland Christian) 78; Jeff Holmes (Troy) 78; Blake Hunter (W.L. Western) 78; Wayne Glessner (W.L. Western) 78.
Source: Oakland Press