BY DAN STICKRADT
OAKLAND TOWNSHIP — Davison might have been at a disadvantage Thursday on the links of Twin Lakes. The course was a solid hour away from home and the Cardinals were not all that familiar with its features.
That simply did not matter.
Unranked Davison captured its second straight regional title, putting together a play-five, count-four team score of 351 to topple a deep field of several quality teams.
The top three schools and the top three individuals not on qualifying teams all advance to the Lower Peninsula Division 1 state finals Oct.19-20 at Michigan State University’s Forest Akers East.
“We won a regional last year, but we were a veteran group. This year we had to travel and we knew there were several good teams here,” said Davison coach Darci Stocker. “I thought we played well overall. I knew we would have to play well due to the teams that were here. The girls stepped up.”
Perhaps nobody stepped up more than Andrea Richards.
A senior, Richards did not fare well at the regional last season, even though her team won at another location. She redeemed herself with a five-over round of 77, emerging as the sole golfer to break 80 on the brisk and extremely windy afternoon.
“I played a lot better than last year,” said Richards. “I thought I hit some nice drives and had a lot of birdies. As a senior, I knew I had to step up and play better than last year.”
Tara Scheider finished eighth with an 87, while Gabby Stephens (91) and Madison Faculak (96) aided Davison’s winning effort.
Rochester saw its string of 13 straight state finals appearances come to an end with a fourth-place regional finish last season. The Falcons emerged from the collection of talented teams this season to grab the runner-up slot with a 359 team score, the 16th time in 22 years Rochester has made the cut.
Jazmin Haque (85), Hailey Bradley (90), Abby Saber (91) and Alex Brinkman (93) helped the Falcons regain its former spot among the state’s elite.
“It’s kind of strange, but we were really used to going and then last year we didn’t make it. It felt like something was missing and I could see how upset the girls were,” said Rochester coach Jeff Haney. “The goal was to qualify this season but we also knew that we would have to have a very good day to qualify this season. There were several good teams here. And the girls did a great job. We had a couple of them shoot their best scores of the year.”
Rochester Adams finished third for the second consecutive year (367) to grab the coveted third qualifying spot. Kate Cenko (85) Kaela Sakorafis (90), Carly Densmore (90) and Natalie Lumsden (99) led Adams.
“Last year was a pleasant surprise. This year we thought we’d have a good chance if we continued to work hard,” said Adams coach Dave Tulppo. “
Rochester Stoney Creek, which had posted four straight top-five state finals finishes, finished fourth at 369, tying the same score as Port Huron Northern. Clarkston (388), Grand Blanc (391), Lake Orion (399), Midland (406) and Oxford (412) rounded out the top 10 in the 15-school field.
Individually, Chloe Guschewski of Rochester Stoney Creek (82), Dominique Molinaro of Port Huron Northern (83) and Midland’s Amanda Walsh (86) all made the state cut as individuals.
Walsh tied Clarkston’s Anna Gray with an 86, but defeated Gray on a one-hole playoff. It marked the second straight season that Walsh gained her state qualifying berth on a playoff hole.
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