BY DAN STICKRADT
HOLLY— Randy Johnson is trying to figure it out.
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian has not lost to a fellow Division 4 school at a boys golf tournament since the middle of last season and it’s only dual meet loss of the season came when Johnson played with a slit squad.
The Lancers, the defending Division 4 state champions, were top-10 at the prestigious Oakland County Division I Tournament and Indianwood Invitational, won the Loon Invitational and all three MIAC league jamborees within the past five weeks.
Yet somehow, Oakland Christian dropped from first to fourth in this week’s coaches association Division 4 rankings.
“I am trying to figure that out,” laughed Johnson. “I knew the other teams have had some good scores, but we haven’t really lost to anyone from Division 4. We’ve won our three league tournament, and when we lost our dual, we played a split squad and the best player on our one team was out sick when played Lutheran Northwest. That didn’t matter, because we still won the league. But to drop us down to fourth?
“We’re playing in a bunch of tournaments against large Class A schools, some which are ranked in D-1, and on some really tough courses. No one else has played the type of schedule we have,” offered Johnson. “But that’s okay. Now is the time that matters. I think the boys have been playing with a little bit of a chip on their shoulders. They feel like they can repeat and be the best team in the state.”
The Lancers made a statement Friday on the course of Heather Highlands. Oakland Christian posted a play-five, count-four score of 308 to win by 23 strokes and finish 40 strokes better than the third-place team.
The top six teams and the top six individuals not on qualifying teams advance to the Division 4 regional at Westland Golf Course in Oakland Township.
“There were some other state-ranked teams in our district,” noted Johnson. “We won by over 20 strokes and third through sixth place teams weren’t even close.”
Grosse Pointe Woods University-Liggett, ranked sixth, was a distant second at 331 and unranked Southfield Christian was third at 348. Rochester Hills Lutheran Northwest, ranked 11th, came in fourth at 357, 10th-ranked Clarkston Everest Collegiate was fifth (361) and Sterling Heights Parkway Christian (372) followed suit on the list of team qualifiers.
Novi Franklin Road Christian (380), West Bloomfield Jewish Academy (382), royal Oak Shrine Catholic (384), Marine City Cardinal Mooney (472) and Birmingham Roeper (no team score) rounded out the team standings.
Oakland Christian had four of the top eight finishers and three of the top four in its dominating district win — the school’s third straight district title.
Zach Preuss fired an even-par 72 to win medalist honors for Oakland Christian. Tyler Coyne and John VanNoord tied for third at 77 and Spencer Haupert, who missed last season with a broken leg, was eighth with an 82.
“We have been pretty consistent with our top three. It’s been getting that fourth good score to come through on a more consistent bases,” said Johnson. “I thought spencer came through with that in the district. We’ll need that at the regional and state finals. We have the capability to get everyone down in the 70s, like last year. But that hasn’t happened.”
University-Liggett’s Jeff Mott was second in the medalist standings with a 76. Everest Collegiate’s David Smith was fifth (79), while Lutheran Northwest’s Jameson Collar (80), Franklin Road’s Josh Ward (81), Southfield Christian’s Mitchell Powell (82) and Liggett’s Robert Stanley (83) also finished in the top 10.
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