GRAND RAPIDS — Only a few seasons old, Montague girls golf took a massive step forward Monday, qualifying for the state finals for the first time ever.
The Wildcats finished third at the Division 4 regional tournament played at The Mines Golf Course, earning the final team qualifying spot.
Montague’s team score for the day was 378, easily claiming the third position over fourth-place Kalamazoo Christian, which shot a 404. NorthPointe Christian and Kalamazoo Hackett got the top two positions.
Orianna Bylsma led the Wildcats at the regionals, shooting an 86, the fourth-best individual score. Megan Brown was Montague’s #2 scorer, shooting a 93, and Katie Unger posted a 99.
“We knew if we shot close to our season average we would have a good chance to qualify, and the girls were able to do just that thanks to Ori and Meg’s performances,” Montague coach Phil Kerr said. “I knew that this was going to be a special group, but the success has certainly come faster than expected. Every time I set a new goal, these girls get better, and now we have one more chance to showcase our growth at the state finals.”
Kennedy McDonald and Gabby Moreau each shot 100s to round out the Wildcat scoring.
Kerr said Bylsma had been knocking on the door of breaking 90 for “a couple of weeks” and has managed to do so for two straight rounds.
“Megan is right behind her,” Kerr said of Brown. “I wouldn’t be surprised to see her break through at the state finals. It’s a great feeling to know that I can always count on them to perform.”
Whitehall qualifies for state
BIG RAPIDS — Whitehall joined Montague in qualifying for state Wednesday at the Division 3 regionals at Katke Golf Course, placing second behind only Big Rapids.
The Vikings shot a team score of 381 at the meet, only five strokes more than the team’s lowest 18-hole score of the season. The host Cardinals had a 331, and Coopersville took the third qualifying position.
Rylee Woodring paced Whitehall at the meet, with a score of 86, which ranked sixth of all players. Kenedy Woodring came in with a 93. Avery Christensen shot a 100 (her third-lowest score of the season) and Vanessa Christensen added a 102 to round out the scoring. Morgan Knapp shot a 107 for Whitehall.
The Vikes, making their third trip to state in four years, will enter the finals ranked 10th in the coaches’ association rankings.
Fansler makes it to state
ADA — Reeths-Puffer senior Abby Fansler will finish her career at the Division 2 state finals this weekend after earning an individual qualifying spot Wednesday at the regionals, played at Egypt Valley Golf Course.
Fansler shot a 90, earning the first of three individual qualifying scores from the tournament. Her score ranked ninth among all players there.
Emma Homfeld was the only other Rocket to play at the regional tournament. She shot a 108, 10 shots shy of state qualification.
Whitehall 4th at Big Rapids Invite
BIG RAPIDS — Whitehall finished fourth at last weekend’s Big Rapids Invitational, a two-day event.
Rylee Woodring led the Vikings at the tournament, shooting an 84-88-172 to take fourth place individually. Woodring averaged an 85 for 18 holes this regular season.
“She is striking the ball well and is working on her warm putting to get red hot at the state tournament,” Whitehall coach Greg Boughton said of Woodring.