TRAVERSE CITY — If first impressions mean anything, it appears Farmington Hills Mercy is going to be a major player in the state championship chase this season in girls golf.
One season removed from a runner-up finish in Division 1, the Marlins started their season on Wednesday by shooting a 343 on the Wolverine course at the Grand Traverse Resort, for a 16-stroke lead after the first day of the 27-team Lober Invitational.
Mercy, which took second to Plymouth a year ago, was in top form right from the start despite graduating three seniors off last year’s squad.
“I’m really pleased with how we played today,” said Mercy head coach Vicky Kowalski. “I wasn’t sure what we’d have coming back, but the girls were ready to step in. We have no superstars on our team, just steady players. We have a senior-laden team. I think I have four girls who can shoot 84 or lower.”
The Marlins were led by Erica Heath, who shot an 82, which was good for second overall. Dearborn’s Elyana Bowser carded an 80 for the first day’s top honors.
Brighton was second with a 359, followed by Rochester (363), Holt (372) and Davison (373). Traverse City West was ninth out of the 11 teams competing in Division 1 with a 424, while Traverse City Central’s gold team was tied for 10th out of the 16 teams in Division 2-4 with a 429. Grand Rapids South Christian was the top Division 2-4 team with a 377 with Grosse Ile sitting 10 strokes back. Glen Lake, which was led by Nichole Cox’s 84, was tied with Grand Rapids Catholic Central for fourth with a 406.
Glen Lake, playing on Spruce Run, improved as the day went along.
“Four of our five girls played the second nine better than the first nine,” Lakers coach Paul Christiansen said “It will be interesting (today) because The Wolverine is a different style course. It has a different flavor to it.”