By Adam Niemi
Special for Second Half
IRON RIVER — The writing was on the wall for the Munising High School girls golf team — play your best golf.
On Thursday, the Mustangs pulled through with a commanding lead to win the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 2 title at George Young Golf Course.
Munising coach Bette Immel said her team’s performance was another notch in the golfers’ impressive athletic resumes.
“Just had a fantastic day. We’ve had three seniors on the team that have been playing since their freshman year; great way to end their golf careers,” Immel said. “This group has done some marvelous things. They won the state championship in tennis this year, now golf, track is Saturday (U.P. Finals in Kingsford) which a few of them will participate in the top few spots there. One of the girls has four straight championships in cross country as well.
"It just couldn’t happen to a better group of girls. They’re great stewards of our community, great role models for others in the town. It’s one of these special things that doesn’t happen a lot. Just very proud of them.”
Bailey Downs was the medalist. Her 88 helped the Mustangs to a 412 team score. Crystal Falls Forest Park finished a distant second with 500 strokes. Iron River West Iron County was third at 514.
Frankie Mattson also placed among the top 10 individuals for Munising with a 105.
“I think course management was a big thing — make sure they know the smart shot, not take chances and be too aggressive, so just play smart and I think they did that,” Immel said of the team strategy.
Payton Dube led Hancock with a 91 to finish individual runner-up.
Munising, Forest Park and West Iron County were the only girls teams who fielded enough golfers to qualify a team score.
Michelle Wiegand’s 108 paced the Wykons, tying at 11th overall with Munising’s Taylor Downs. Anna Malmquist shot a 111, tying for 13th with Munising’s Marissa Immel.
Alexis Bailey’s 101 was good for a fourth-place medal for Painesdale-Jeffers.
Newberry’s Riley Burton shot a 100 to earn a third-place medal.
West Iron coach Mark Martini said the Wykons’ roster turnover to youth this year from experience last season could mean well for the future.
“Our girls are not only young for the most part, in some cases they have been holding a golf club for about 12 weeks total,” Martini said. “We have come a long way. I am just hoping they stay with it for the summer, and we will probably be a good team. We were second in the state last year; this year we’re kind of starting all over.”
Full results will be linked when available.
PHOTO: Munising's Bailey Downs watches a putt during her run to the medalist honor Thursday. (Photo by Adam Niemi.)