By John Vrancic
Special to the Second Half
ESCANABA — The Munising girls made a bit of golf history for themselves Thursday, earning their first MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 3 title with 416 strokes.
They were followed by Bark River-Harris with 435, Crystal Falls Forest Park with 444, defending champion Cedarville at 447 and DeTour at 474.
'“I think our consistency is what got us here,” Munising coach Bette Immel said. “We have four seniors who’ve played four years of varsity golf. This is a great way for them to end their careers.”
The Mustangs were led by sophomore Carla Nottmeier, an exchange student from Germany who was runner-up with a 93 at Highland Golf Club.
“On the front nine, I felt I wasn’t doing well with my driving,” Nottmeier said. “I didn’t get the distance I wanted, but that got better on the back nine. I started to relax a little more and hitting the ball a little farther. It’s a great feeling for us to win as a team.”
Sophomore Margo Brown, St. Ignace’s lone representative, was crowned individual champion at 90.
“I double-bogeyed the first three holes,” said Brown, who fired a 43 on the back nine. "After that, I told myself to shake it off, and I relaxed a little. I hit with my irons pretty good and putted pretty well.”
Brown, who played mainly on the school’s boys team during the season, had a chance to do two practice rounds at Highland, which she said proved helpful.
“I came up here with my dad on Saturday, then I had an 85 in a practice round here yesterday (Wednesday),” she added. “I knew what I had to do on every hole. The greens were real hard today. You had to hit the ball short and let it roll. You also had to club down on the par-3s.”
BR-H junior Savanna Stenberg hit 94, including 45 on the back nine.
“I started real bad on the front nine,” Stenberg said. “I was having a problem with chipping. My short game improved on the back nine, which was a big boost. I wanted to shoot a 42 on the back nine and hoped to finish in the high 80s. I know I could have done better, but I’m still pleased with my score. I had the home course advantage, which was pretty helpful because I knew where every obstacle was on the course.”
This marked the second straight runner-up finish for the Broncos, who placed second in Division 2 a year ago.
“Savannah shot a great round,” BR-H coach Scott Farnsworth said. “I’m proud of all the girls. They’ve worked extremely hard and done well all year. The girls all come from families who play golf. They have a golf background and understand the terminology. I hope they play golf all summer and keep improving their game.
“A lot of it is course management and knowing what to do. There was a lot of rough out there today. If you didn’t stay on the fairway, it added strokes in a hurry.”
Stenberg was followed by DeTour eighth-grader Madison Wilkie with a 95 and Forest Park junior Lexi Gussert and Munising senior Molly Mattson, both at 99.
Gussert, who came in as defending champion, already has offers to play basketball
at several major colleges including reigning NCAA Division I national champion Connecticut, which she’ll be visiting in the near future.
Also part of Munising’s championship team were seniors Katie Immel, who hit 107, and Eve Gendron at 117 and Emily DesJardins at 120.
“Our four seniors are awesome kids,” coach Immel said. “Their cumulative GPA is about 3.8, and they’re great ambassadors to our community. They’re close friends and they’re all like my daughters.
“We were pleased to have Emily on the team this year. She tore her Achilles tendon in the first basketball game last year and didn’t think she’d be able to play golf. But the doctors cleared her shortly before the season. I think this really means a lot to her.”
Full results will be linked when available.
PHOTOS: (Top) German exchange student Carla Nottmeier shot a second-place 93 to lead Munising to the Division 2 team championship. (Middle) St. Ignace's Margo Brown watches a putt fall on the way to her medalist score of 90. (Photos by Keith Shelton.)