BIRMINGHAM — When the Birmingham Seaholm girls golf team dominated its way to an Oakland Activities Association Red Division tournament title earlier this season, it was no surprise.
Seaholm won with a team total of 317, which was 38 strokes ahead of second-place Rochester High Aug. 27 at Knollwood Country Club.
“We all know how good we can be, so it’s kind of what we wanted to do,” junior captain Riley Miller said.
What the Maples expect is a special season.
“They’re a great group of girls,” assistant coach Cathie Fritz said. “They have good attitudes, they’re confident, and they have more discipline from what I have seen in the past. I just think the stars have aligned.”
Last season, Seaholm and Muskegon Mona Shores proved to be far and away the top teams in Division 2 and ranked No. 1 and 2 this season according to the Sept. 8 Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association poll, with Mona Shores holding the top spot.
Last season, Mona Shores won the state title with a 661 total; Seaholm was second with 688, 31 strokes better than the third-place team.
The Maples know there is work to be done to catch Mona Shores, which has won every state title since Seaholm did it in 2008, this time around.
“The course that we’re going to play for states is going to require a lot of course management. It’s not just hit a long drive and a short wedge shot in,” Fritz said. “It’s a thinking course. So at the final, we want them to have the discipline to think through which club they are going to hit off the tee and have management skills on the course.”
Sophomore Rachel Wilson said the short game is the deciding factor on how far the Maples go this season.
“The concentration around the greens is important. If you’re going to make a birdie putt, you can’t just walk up there and hit it, and since the courses are shorter, our second shots are usually a 100 yards and in, so we need to focus on those distances,” she said.
The Maples are also counting on their depth. In the Red tournament, they had three players in the top five, including Wilson as the medalist with a 74 for 18 holes and Jordan Michalak in second with 76.
“Everyone is around the same level, so it’s more consistent,” said junior captain Megan Lam, who was fifth in the Red with 81.
Senior Julie Fynke agreed.
“There’s just a broader span of talent,” she said.
But Miller noted talent is only part of the equation, and that the team has to pull off the shots when they matter the most.
“We know how we all play, so as long as we reach our full potential, we know that we can definitely beat Mona Shores,” she said.