THOMPSONVILLE — A few new rules and guidelines didn’t deter 65 girls golfers at all.

Traverse City West’s Anci Dy shot a 3-under to lead by three shots over Flint Powers’ Jolie Brochu, who carded a 72.

But the scores were hardly the most important thing about Wednesday’s Lober Classic at Crystal Mountain’s Mountain Ridge course. The fact that there was a sanctioned Michigan High School Athletic Association sporting event for the first time in 161 days stands out.

According to the MHSAA’s schedule, the Lober Classic was the state’s second fall event to start when the first golfers teed off at 8 a.m. Dearborn Divine Child had a tournament scheduled to start at 7:30 a.m.

“We’re just like taking it every day as it is, and enjoying the time we have together,” Dy said. “Being being able to compete here with my teammates and just seeing my friends, everybody’s done a great job. It doesn’t feel super different, even though it definitely is. I’m just hoping that for the rest of the season it goes smoothly as well.”

The tournament featured a lot of coronavirus precautions that will soon be on display at high school sporting events all across the state, varying by sport. The pandemic shut down MHSAA sports on March 12, and not a single sponsored event took place until Wednesday kicked off golf and tennis season. Boys soccer, volleyball, girls swimming and cross country can start Friday.

The tourney used staggered tee times instead of a shotgun start so teams could rotate time at the driving range prior to play and still be able to social distance. Players couldn’t take out the pin or rake bunkers, among the common precautions adopted by golf courses this summer upon opening.

“The only restrictions are like on the range, we had to wear masks, which was different,” TC Central’s Grace Maitland said. “And being socially distanced was different, but at least we get to be out and play.”

Tournament officials took players’ temperatures beforehand, and players weren’t allowed to sign each other’s score cards as would usually be done. TC Central coach Lois McManus had a six-page set of rules for coaches and another handout for players.

“I’m driving around the whole course with nobody in sight, and I’ve got a mask on,” West coach Karl Gagnon said. “But that’s the way it’s got to be.”

The event featured 11 teams, plus two individuals — Alpena’s Kennedy Ellis, who shot 82 and TC Central’s McKenzie McManus, who carded a 92 playing unattached as she sits out a semester following her transfer from TC St. Francis. Lois McManus said teams with long distances to travel had players staying with parents, instead of together in hotel rooms.

“It was fantastic,” McManus said. “The girls have been really looking forward to it. We kept our fingers crossed and our toes crossed and everything and it was wonderful to be able to have the opportunity for these girls, especially after the spring seasons (being canceled), for them to get out and play golf.

“I never saw a coach on the golf course that didn’t have their mask on.”

Flint Powers leads the team race with a 335, followed by TC West (348), Fenton (354), Grand Rapids South Christian (365), Troy Athens (372), Big Rapids (377), Cadillac (381), TC Central (395). South Christian’s B team shot 400 to place ninth, while Central and West’s junior varsity squads shot identical 469s.

Dy’s 3-under round leads Brochu (72) by three strokes, followed by Troy Athens’ Olivia Hemmila (79), Fenton’s Brook Herbstreit (80), Flint Powers’ Lily Isaac (81), Ellis (82), Big Rapids’ Lauren Posey (83), Cadillac’s Madi Drabik (84), Grand Rapids South Christian’s Elle Bolkema (85) and Flint Powers’ Allie Sexton (86) to round out the top 10.

Senior Ava Warren carded a 91 for the Titans, while sophomore Ainslee Hewitt shot 92, junior Ava Krueger 96, junior Hattie Holmes 99 and junior Grace Hawley an even 100.

Maitland led Central’s varsity with a 95, with Sydney Rademacher (97), Addi Balentine (99) and Batcha (104) also counting in the team score.

Molly Anderson shot 97 to slide in behind Drabik for Cadillac, along with Chesni Birgy (99) and Baily Little (101).

“It could have been a little lower, probably like four strokes better,” Dy said. “But it happens and it was just good to be out here again. I just love this course and love this place, so I’m okay with it.”

Dy said she won’t be missing nearly as much this high school season after committing to reigning Division 2 national champion University of Indianapolis in early March. She has one non-high school fall tournament scheduled in September that doesn’t conflict with a Titans event.

“It was good that we were still able to play, but it definitely was weird to not be able to switch scorecards and stuff like that,” TC Central’s Sierra Batcha said. “If possible, it’ll be fun to be able to travel as a team, but we’ll see about that.”

Central’s Elisabeth Robens led all junior varsity players with a 97, while West’s Lilly Boals tied South Christian’s Natalie Northouse at 98 and South Christian’s Emerald Hoekwater shot 99.

The biggest change for players seemed to be the flagstick rule, which doesn’t allow players to pull the pin when putting in order to keep them from touching surfaces other players previous handled.

“Most of the time I generally take it out, unless it’s a straight downhill putt and probably break it off to stop the ball from going so fast,” Warren said. “But it’s been nicer this year, I guess because we haven’t played any aggressive greens yet, but probably when we get there it’ll be a little different.”

Another virus precaution means no awards ceremony. Awards instead get mailed to winners’ schools or coaches.

The two-day tournament heads across Crystal Mountain to play Betsie Valley for Thursday’s final round.

“This one is definitely easier for me personally from the tee to the green,” Dy said. “Betsie (Valley) has a lot more water, and more goose poop to watch out for. But I think the greens on Betsie are also really nice, too, so I love both of them.”

Follow @Jamescook14 on Twitter.

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