Golfers take to Pontiac Country Club to decide county championship
WATERFORD — As Lake Orion High boys golf coach Monty Gallaher put it, Alex Waelchli’s shot on No. 17 at the Pontiac Country Club in the Oakland County championship May 15 should be on a highlight film.
“That should be on ESPN tonight,” the coach said. “He misses on a par 3 to the right. He has some trees to go over, a bunker to go over, and he just hits the shot of the day. He hits a flop shot over the trees, lands softly and rolls up to about 3 feet from the hole for par. Then he ends up birdieing his last hole.”
“I knew I was near the lead,” Waelchli added. “That was a tough hole, and I knew I had to close it out to win the tournament. I was very nervous.”
Waelchli finished with a 2-under 70 to win the individual title and helped propel his team to the overall county championship.
“I played very well. I made a bunch of putts all day, was able to get the ball up and down when I missed the green, and I didn’t make any big mistakes,” Waelchli said. “There are a lot of good golfers playing in Oakland County — a lot of guys that are playing in college next year. So it’s a good, tough tournament to win.”
The Dragons finished with a 303 team total, beating the field by 12 strokes.
“We knew we could possibly win if we all played well,” Waelchli said. “We’ve been really heading in the right direction as a team. It’s good for us to prove to ourselves that we’re playing well, because we’ve been a little off but have scored well in the last two tournaments.”
Novi Catholic Central finished second with 315, followed by Rochester Adams (316). Rochester Hills Stoney Creek beat Farmington High on a tiebreaker for fourth place after both teams totaled 318.
Birmingham Brother Rice, Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood, Novi High and Clarkston High all shot 320, and Rochester High tallied 322 to round out the top 10.
Individually, Cranbrook’s Dylan Deoun shot 72 for second place.
Farmington’s finish was its best since it last won the county tournament in 2007. Last season, the Falcons won the Division 2 county tournament to earn a spot in this year’s field.
“I’m pretty proud of them for coming back and making a showing,” Farmington coach Dennis Zaleski said. “There were opportunities today. … Three strokes out of second place — that’s pretty good. We’re starting to jell, but not peaking yet.”
Gallaher doesn’t believe his squad has peaked either.
“We’re confident, but it’s kind of like the 24-hour rule. We’ll enjoy this, but tomorrow we’ll be practicing as hard as we can, trying to get better,” he said.