The Skyline girls’ golf team sat at a table inside the clubhouse at Lake Forest Golf Club on Thursday and judging by how they were acting you would think it was 80 degrees and sunny outside and they had just won the Regionals to advance to the state finals.
They Eagles were smiling. Laughing. But mostly satisfied with a job well done at the MHSAA D-1 Regionals (Region 2) at Lake Forest. The conditions outside and during the entire round were miserable but the mood inside, at least for Skyline, was one of joy.
No, the Eagles (below) didn’t take first place. Or second. Or even third, the final spot to qualify for the state tournament. They finished fourth, one spot from playing another round against the very best.
But it all comes down to perspective and the road traveled. The Eagles were simply enjoying the view from where they were sitting.
“I think I speak for the whole team that we are ecstatic,” said Skyline coach Ashley Mantha as her players echoed her summation of the day’s events. “In our short history of Skyline women’s golf this is our best score yet. They set the record a couple weeks ago at the SEC but beat it (Thursday).”
The Eagles shot a team score of 357 to finish fourth, 12 strokes better than fifth-place finisher Pioneer. Saline finished first overall with an impressive team score of 324 with Northville second (338) and Plymouth third (346).
The top three individual teams head to the state finals along with the top three golfers from the rest of the field. Pioneer’s Katie Mina Lee (left) with her 82 was the leader outside of the three top teams. Lee’s teammate Amaya Melendez (below right) fired an 84 to tie for second and also will compete at the state finals.
Skyline’s Caroline Norton missed qualifying by just one stroke after firing a solid 85 on the day. All five Eagles finished under 100 with three breaking 90 on a day meant for boats and worms, not golf. Nikki Lama (88), Tasha Potter (97), Cammi Tirico (89) and Macca Muhammad (95) rounded out the Skyline scorecard.
The Eagles had one of the more consistent – top to bottom – lineups.
“We seem to play better in adverse conditions,” Mantha said. “Last time (at the SECs) it was extremely hot and this time it was chilly and rainy. I think home-course advantage helped and they played with poise. They didn’t get stressed out (Thursday).”
The Eagles’ goal was to finish top five. Consider that goal reached.
Norton took the near miss in stride.
“Yeah, I can think of a few putts I should have made that would have made the difference but I don’t dwell on things like that,” she said. “This is my senior year and it was great to go out with the best score for the school.”
Lee lived up to her billing as one of the top players in the area and is heading to her fourth state finals.
“It was rough and pretty up and down,” she said with a smile. “Some holes were better than others. The second hole was probably the highlight. It was a par-3 and my first shot went right into the bunker about 35 yards away from the pin. I hit my lob wedge really high and it almost went in the hole. I had a tap-in for par.”
Along with Lee’s 82 and Melendez’s 84, Claire Middleton (108), Katie Liu (103) and Sooah Jung (100) filled out the Pioneers’ scorecard.
Huron had only two players tee off on Thursday. Karli Messer shot a 105 and Joann Cho a 129.
The Division 1 state finals are Oct. 20-21 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University.
COMING SOON ON WLAA: Profiles on Pioneer’s Katie Mina Lee & Skyline’s Caroline Norton