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May 15, 2014

Oakland County golf teams battle for bragging rights

By Christian Davis
C & G Sports Writer

WATERFORD — The word “capable” echoed throughout the Rochester Adams boys golf team May 14 at Pontiac Country Club.

The Highlanders had just won the Division 1 Oakland County Tournament for the second time in school history and the first time since 1993.

“I knew we were capable, but we just hadn’t put it all together yet. Today, we did,” Adams coach Dan Picot said.

Each team sent out five golfers; the top four scores counted toward the team total. The Highlanders finished with 303, two shots better than Novi Catholic Central. Farmington High tallied 306 for third in the 23-team competition.

The rest of the field consisted of Clarkston High (308), Bloomfield Hills Cranbrook-Kingswood (312), Novi High (312), Birmingham Brother Rice (312), South Lyon High (313), Oxford High (313), Lakeland High (314), Pontiac Notre Dame Prep (314), Lake Orion High (316), Bloomfield Hills High (318), Rochester High (319), Birmingham Groves (321), Rochester Hills Stoney Creek (321), Troy High (325), Auburn Hills Oakland Christian (329), North Farmington (335), Berkley High (338), Walled Lake Northern (346), Orchard Lake St. Mary’s (349) and Walled Lake Central (363).

“We knew we were capable of shooting like this,” Adams’ Brandon Barrows said. “We’ve been playing well. … Just to come out here and win Oakland County is a big accomplishment before going into districts.”

Farmington’s third-place finish marked the same spot it placed last season.

“We’ve been consistently around this number (306) all season,” coach Dennis Zaleski said. “We’re waiting to go really low, and we’re on the cusp of it. We haven’t spiked or slumped. We’ve just been plugging along.”

This was Berkley’s first appearance in the tournament in veteran coach Scott Baltes’ memory. The Bears earned the invite after winning the D-2 county tournament last season.

Berkley will again be in D-2 next season, as the bottom four teams in the tournament move down, while the top three teams in D-2 move up to D-1. The Bears just missed the cut, but with a new rule being implemented next season, they may not have to wait long for their return to D-1.

Next year, the D-2 tournament will take place a week or so prior to the D-1 event. The D-2 winner earns a spot in the field to compete with the D-1 teams. The other D-2 teams that earned a spot in the D-1 tournament have to wait till the following year to compete in the tournament. The idea being to reward the winning D-2 team, especially the seniors who will be lost to graduation.

“It was a good experience, but I’m a little disappointed. We’ll have our chance to come back next year,” Baltes said.

The county tournament also offers a chance for teams to evaluate themselves before heading to the postseason, which begins with district play May 21.Picot said this win will give his squad a boost of confidence moving forward.

“It’s a big indicator of who we are and where we’re at,” he said. “Hopefully, this continues now as we get down to the crunch.”

Individually, Novi’s Garrett Buckley took top honors with a 3-under-par 69. Barrows was second with a 70.

You can reach C & G Sports Writer Christian Davis at cdavis@candgnews.com or at (586)498-1062. Twitter Follow Christian on Twitter.