Todd Rose | Daily Press
Escanaba’s Peyton Wellman putts at the First Bank Escanaba invitational Thursday against Gladstone, Negaunee and Kingsford at the Escanaba Country Club.
ESCANABA — The Escanaba Eskymos boys and girls golfers fared well Thursday at the First Bank Escanaba Invitational with the boys taking the team win and the girls finishing second.
Shooting 327, the Eskymos boys beat out Marquette 334, Menominee 338, Kingsford 347 and Gladstone 426.
On the girls’ side, Escanaba was sandwiched between Marquette 425 and Kingsford 515 with a score of 456.
“As a golf coach, I like collective efforts,” said Escanaba coach Brian Robinette. “I love seeing a superstar and that top-level player, but right now, our personality is we have to beat teams with five consistent players … My boys’ team finally did that. The proof is right on the scoreboard.”
Individually, Menominee’s Andrew McIntyre won in a three-way playoff between teammate Brady Badker and Kingsford’s Matt Solda.
The best-placed Escanaba boy was Curtis Kutchenberg in fifth. He shot 79.
“I’m really proud of him,” said Robinette of Kutchenberg. “He’s a senior. He did play golf with us for two years, but he’s tried other things like baseball. He wasn’t sure if he wanted to play this year, but he showed enough interest, and I’m glad he stuck it out with us.”
Eskymos’ Bryson Lancour 81, Shane Wallin 83 and Sawyer Lamarch rounded out the top ten.
In fourth place was Gladstone’s Cam Ballard who shot 76, just one shot shy of making the cutoff for the playoff with MacIntyre, Badker and Solda.
“Cam Ballard’s been out here all four years for us and (he’s) my number one player,” said Gladstone coach Dane Quigley. “He’s been struggling a little bit this year but came out and shot 76 today. He really put together a nice round today so, hopefully, that gets him back in the mix with some of the premier players in the U.P.”
Quigley also mentioned the performance of senior first-year player — Gavin Myhren who shot 106.
“(It is) his first year playing golf, and he came out and shot 106 today,” he said. “For 18 (holes), it was pretty good considering it is his first year playing tournament golf.”
Quigley added the Braves — with a plethora of young players — are building their underclassmen for the years ahead.
“I’ve got a bunch of freshmen, and we’re grooming them to, hopefully, break 100 and then by the time they’re seniors, we’re looking at getting them to break 90 and shooting in the 80s. We’re on track for that. Just patience for now. Patience is a virtue.”
Like the Braves boys, the Eskymos girls are also a young team.
“My team is young,” said Robinette. “We are a very, very, young team. So, when you come in as a freshman or sophomore — we’re loaded with them on both sides — there’s just a learning curve there that needs to be handled, and that only happens in golf through just putting the time in.”
That time, Robinette said, is starting to pay dividends.
“Right now, we are starting to see — which is what every coach wants — the amount of time we spend on the golf course, the work the kids are putting in and their drive to get better, we’re starting to see that surface out on the golf course in competition,” he said.
Cierra Scott in fourth with a score of 102 was the highest-ranked Escanaba golfer.
“I’m always excited for Cierra because she handles herself so well,” Robinette said. “She has to play with two really, really good players in (Morgan Rhodes) and Josie Hofer, who hasn’t lost yet this year, and she’s not just holding her own, she is going forward watching these girls play and it’s going to turn her into a better player.”
Menominee’s Hofer with an 88 won individually for the girls, with Morgan Rhodes of Marquette in second at 93 and Madison Derusha 96 in third.
Annika Wangrud 115 and Sophia Derkos 119 finshed in eighth and tenth respecivly for the Eskymos.
Two shots out of the top ten was Peyton Wellman at 121.
“I gotta give all of our girls (recognition),” Robinette commented. “We just came off a really tough tournament in Menominee, and they left beaten. They left defeated, and they rebounded really well today.”
Robinette — on behalf of all the Escanaba team — thanked First Bank for sponsoring the event.
The Braves and Eskymos head to Pine Grove Country Club in Iron Mountain next.
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