BY DAN STICKRADT
ORION TWP. — Despite a fine season which included the OAA Red Division championship, Rochester Adams dropped out of the boys golf Division 1 top 10 last week.
Perhaps the Highlanders served notice Friday that they do belong among the state’s elite.
Adams, playing in perhaps the state’s deepest district, put together its season-best score, compiling a play-five, count-four team score of 296 at Bald Mountain Golf Course to lead a pack of eight quality teams to win its first district title since the MHSAA added the district round in the fall of 2006.
“Since they have added the district, we have made it to regionals several times, but this is our first district championship,” said Adams coach Dan Picot. “Adams has made the state finals many times throughout its history, but it’s even tougher now because you have to get through both districts and regionals to make it to state. We’re fortunate enough to play well to get past the first step.”
At the district level, the top six teams and the top six individuals not on those qualifying teams advance to the regional June 8 at Boulder Pointe in Oxford. The top three teams and the top three individuals at the regional level eventually make it to the state finals June 15-16.
Adams had all five golfers shoot 77 or better to lead the way. Lake Orion was second (300), while Rochester Stoney Creek (301), Grand Blanc (306), Fenton (308) and Rochester (312) also made the regional cut.
Clarkston (314) and Oxford (314) both just missed the cut, as only 18 strokes separated the top eight teams at the loaded district. Romeo (325), Waterford Mott (332), Waterford Kettering (341) and Pontiac (no team score) rounded out the 12-school field.
“We knew it was going to be a very tough district and I honestly felt that there were at least eight schools that had a realistic shot at qualifying for regionals,” said Picot. “I thought we put it all together on the right day. A 77 was our highest score and 71 was our best. We have been consistent all season but I really feel we have been playing our best golf in the past 3-4 weeks. We are peaking at the right time.”
Lake Orion’s Mason Gorris, who recently shot a 31 at an OAA Red Division league jamboree for nine holes, was medalist with a one-under round of 71. He was tied with Adams freshman Brandon Borrows and hit off the 18th tee in a playoff round to determine the medalist.
Gorris eagled the par-5 18th hole with a long chip shot that found the cup to lift the junior to the top of the standings of a field where 31 out of 70 golfers broke 80 despite the poor conditions.
Barrows wound up second, while Grand Blanc’s Michael Engelman (72) and Clarkston’s Jimmy Delnick (73) followed closely behind.
Four players tied for fifth at 74, including Stoney Creek’s Richie Ingle, Rochester’s Mike Murri, Grand Blanc’s Connor Carey and Lake Orion’s Alex Waelchli, while Rochester’s Eric Shyu, Stoney Creek’s Spencer Lendzion, Adams’ Jamie Stanton, Stoney Creek’s Ryan Jackson and Fenton’s Kevin Berry all shot 75 to tie for ninth overall.
Individual-wise, the six golfers not on advancing teams that qualified for the regional included Clarkston’s Delnick, Romeo’s Danny Abbott (76), Mott’s Austin Sereno (77) and the Oxford trio of JJ Lewis (77), and Chris Brooks (78) also made the cut.
“For the weather, we had some great scores in our district and I think we all know that it’s going to be really rough at the regional,” said Picot. “There are some good teams coming from the other district to our regional. Swartz Creek won that district, and Traverse City West, Davison, Midland Dow and even Traverse City Central are solid teams. It’s going to be a dogfight to see who gets out of that regional.”
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