Macomb County golfers navigate tough conditions

Martin Vanderhagen leads Pilots to top spot in Macomb County

By: Thomas Franz | C&G Newspapers | Published May 7, 2014

 The Warren De La Salle boys golf team won the 2014 Macomb County Golf Championship. The Pilots were led by junior Martin Vanderhagen, who shot a 76.

The Warren De La Salle boys golf team won the 2014 Macomb County Golf Championship. The Pilots were led by junior Martin Vanderhagen, who shot a 76.

Photo by Deb Jacques

The Warren De La Pilots navigated through blustery conditions at the Macomb County Golf Championship on April 28 to win with a team score of 328.

De La Salle won by three shots over second-place Lutheran North and by four over Macomb Dakota. The county championship took place at Timberwood Golf Course through strong winds and threatening skies, but the Pilots were not phased by the weather that has become typical of this spring’s golf season. 

“They played pretty well for what I wanted. I wanted them to be between 320 and 325 today, and I thought that in the wind today, it would be very difficult to score,” De La Salle coach Doug McKay said. “We’ll take the win today. We dodged the rain, and I’m not unhappy.”

Martin Vanderhagen shot a 76 to lead De La Salle, which was also paced by George Cornwel’s 81 and Nick Trajcevski’s 84. Jacob Burghardt’s 87 rounded out the Pilots’ scoring.

Vanderhagen nearly closed out his round with back-to-back birdies after sinking a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-3 17th before lipping out on the 18th green on another birdie try.

“The greens are definitely tough. The wind didn’t help very much and it was a little chilly, but luckily I was able to get something going,” Vanderhagen said. “I feel like I played really good golf. Scoring couldn’t be much better for the way I hit the ball and made my way around the course.”

Despite the poor weather conditions this spring, coaches and players praised Timberwood for having the course, especially the greens, play true this early in the season.

“Not many courses are in great shape; not many courses have all 18 greens open to play on, so it’s been really hard to get decent rounds in,” Vanderhagen said. “It was nice to be able to play on a playable course.”

Lutheran North’s Scott Sparks, a sophomore, shot a 74 to take home medalist honors by beating out three other golfers who shot in the 70s. Sparks said that he enjoyed the challenge of playing in the windy conditions.

“I was just scrambling around the greens. My putting was good, so I got up and down when I needed to and limited mistakes the whole round,” Sparks said. “I really liked it (the weather), actually. I like hitting different shot types because it never gets you bored.”

Lutheran North also got contributions from Jamesen Mchale, who shot an 81, and Noah Lensay, who shot an 82.

Dakota had its top four scorers all finish in between 80 and 85, led by Jake Vandevelde’s 80.

“We’ve improved every week. It’s been a tough preseason for everybody,” Dakota coach Paul Tocco said. “We have room for improvement. As the weather breaks, we’ll get more rounds under our belt, and I think we have as good of a chance as anyone to get out of the area, as far as our division and districts.”

To round out the top five, Utica Ford II finished fourth at 337, and Utica Eisenhower took fifth at 341. L’Anse Creuse’s Pat Carmody’s 78 and a 79 by Eisenhower’s Jack Hebert were the other two scores less than 80.

Rounding out the field were L’Anse Creuse North (342), L’Anse Creuse (344), South Lake (350), Anchor Bay (354), Romeo (355), Chippewa Valley (358), Utica (364), Armada (367), Sterling Heights Stevenson (379), Richmond (380), Lake Shore (388), Warren Mott (388), Fraser (393), Warren Cousino (396), Warren Woods-Tower (409), East Detroit (423) and Lakeview (447).