BY DENNIS CHASE firstname.lastname@example.org
Traverse City Record-Eagle
---- — TRAVERSE CITY — Traverse City West coach Mike Schultz is hoping history repeats itself when the Division I state golf finals begin Friday at Michigan State’s Forest Akers West.
“We started out really well last year and I think that’s going to be our key this weekend,” Schultz said. “We have to make sure we don’t play our way out of contention that first day. We need to play good steady golf the first day and keep ourselves close and then see what happens.”
A year ago, the Titans were only three shots off the lead after an opening day 299. West eventually finished fourth in the two-day, 36-hole event, nine shots behind Birmingham Brother Rice.
“Anytime you can go under 300 in the state finals, that’s playing good golf,” Schultz said.
West’s three seniors — Cam Murray, Payden Myers and Brady Greenman — are back for another shot at a state title. They’ll be joined by sophomore Alex Scott and freshman Keits Shoemaker.
Murray shot a 151 and Myers a 152 last year.
West is coming off a three-shot win over Rochester Stoney Creek in last week’s regional hosted by Lake Orion. That gave the Titans a much-needed boost of confidence.
“That (regional title) happened at the right time,” Schultz said. “We were disappointed coming in second to Swartz Creek again in districts like we did last year. It was great to see the boys go out and win one. It’s been awhile since we won an event with a real good field in it. It definitely felt good.”
To win a state title, West must beat the likes of Battle Creek Lakeview, Muskegon Mona Shores and Detroit Catholic Central. Lakeview placed second, Mona Shores third and Catholic Central sixth last June.
“Lakeview shot 287 in its regional,” Schultz said. “Granted, that was on their home course, but that’s still playing stellar golf when you go that low. Mona Shores is hot right now, too.”
The Titans will play a practice round on Forest Akers West today. It all counts starting Friday.
“I’ll probably be super nervous, as I was last year,” Schultz admitted. “I’m more nervous as a coach than I was as a player. Coaching, you don’t have any control over it. It makes it pretty nerve-wracking.”
Traverse City Central’s Winton Munch qualified as an individual after earning medalist honors in the regional with a two-under 70.