LELAND — When it came to the postseason, Leland’s Joel Sneed simply could not be beat.
The individual medalist at the district and regional level, Sneed maintained that consistent, high level of play all the way through his last round of the season when he captured the Division 4 individual golf state championship last weekend in Battle Creek at Bedford Valley Golf Course.
Sneed came from four shots back on the final day of the state tournament to win the crown, which he added to the team state championship he won as a freshman with Lake Leelanau St. Mary’s two years ago.
“I definitely peaked at the right time,” said Sneed. “I played well pretty much the whole year in comparison to last year, where I didn’t play all that well. This year I played really well the whole year and I told myself ‘I have to peak come playoff time,’ and that’s what I did.
“It was a culmination of a lot of hard work that I put in this year. It was kind of icing on top of the cake of a really good year of golf.”
How good of a year was it for Sneed?
Well, besides coming away with the individual title, Sneed went through an entire season where he only scored one double bogey — on the fifth hole of the Spruce Run course at the Grand Traverse Resort for the Traverse City Tee-Off Invitational in late April, not long after courses were finally clear of snow and players could begin to get out and compete in tournaments this spring.
“That was pretty much the epitome of my whole year, as I never really had any really bad holes,” said Sneed.
Obviously, Sneed ended the year on the highest of notes. He started the state tournament with 16 pars on the way to a 2-over-par 74, then followed that with a 1-over 73 to surge past day one leader Noah Schneider of Jackson Christian. He ended up with a total of 147 to finish four shots in front of runner-up Sam Wagner from Pentwater.