BOYNE CITY — Golf’s big comeback at Boyne City started in earnest Wednesday.
The Ramblers qualified for the state finals for the first time in program history, finishing third in the Division 3 regional they hosted.
Big Rapids and Elk Rapids won the regional, each with a 329 score. Boyne finished four shots behind at 333 to shut Traverse City St. Francis (335) out of the finals by two shots.
“These kids made golf popular at Boyne,” Ramblers fourth-year coach Paul Moody said. “Golf wasn’t the sport to play here. Now we’re getting basketball players on the team.”
The Gladiators’ Tommy Puetz fired a 78 to finish as one of the top three individuals not on a qualifying team, earning him a trip to the finals. Cheboygan’s P.J. Maybank (70) and Ogemaw Heights’ Jack Juarez (81) were the other two.
Josh Lavely carded a 77 to lead the Elks to tie Big Rapids, which won the regional trophy tiebreaker based on fifth golfer’s score. Preston Ball shot 83, Spencer Ball 84 and Gabe Lavely 85.
Kolton Stadt and Aidan Brehm, two of those basketball players Moody mentioned, each shot 80 for the Ramblers. Alec Sherman-Brown added an 85 and Nic Santina 88.
Puetz’ 78 led the Gladiators, with Griffin Mawson carding an 83, Gabe Classens 85 and Adam Gerberding 89.
Other top area scores included Manistee’s Jacob Scharp (86), Benzie Central’s Ethan Novak (86) and Kalkaska’s Cooper Swikoski 96.
Boyne was set to host regional last year for the first time before the COVID-19 pandemic wiped out spring sports.
“It hurt us not having last year,” Moody said. “It set us back recruiting. We could’ve done this last year.”
The Ramblers feature three lefties among their top seven golfers — Stadt, Santina and Ryan Reynolds, a freshman who shot 89.
Gaylord’s Putnam qualifies for states
Gaylord senior Kole Putnam claimed the third individual qualifier spot to earn a trip to the Division 2 state finals.
Putnam shot 73 in the regional at Muskegon’s Lincoln Golf Club.
Cadillac placed ninth in the 19-team regional, led by Harry Chipman’s 80. Ben Drabik added an 82, Jacob LaMonde 89 and MacKale McGuire 90.
Petoskey finished 10th, led by Luke Sumpter’s 79. Max Faulker chipped in an 85, Jackson Jonker 88 and Trenton Bennett 93.
Several area teams play in Thursday’s Division 4 regional hosted by Hesperia at Waters Edge Golf Course.