COLDWATER – White Pigeon’s golf team found out on Thursday it could play with the big boys.
The Chiefs finished eighth in the 16-team Coldwater Cardinal Invitational, held at the Golf Club of Coldwater. White Pigeon had a team score of 346. Marshall won the event at 314. Sturgis’ golf team had a score of 368 (11th place).
‘’We played in a tournament that was almost exclusively Division 1 and Division 2 schools and we held our own really well,’’ White Pigeon coach Mark Olsen said. ‘’I was very happy that we beat the only other Division 4 school by 38 strokes.’’
Freshman Jordan Olsen led the Chiefs with an 18-hole score of 82, playing one stretch of eight holes at even par. His score was the 14th best in the tournament.
‘’I think I saw my freshman get over his early season nerves and realize that he can play with anyone,’’ Olsen said. ‘’Hole after hole he gained confidence and you could see it building.’’
Riley Olsen and Andrew Mann each shot 86, Christian Ryall-Shoup had a 92 and Cory Snook a 102.
‘’Christian and Riley struggled a little today but didn’t have horrible scores,’’ the coach said. ‘’When you get better, your bad shots become much better and that allows the score to remain respectable.
‘’With a little outdoor short game work, this team is going to be scoring very well. Shooting a 346 is a good score, but it could have been in the 320 range had we played well around the greens.
‘’Once we get used to playing on real grass again, I feel the scores will get even better.’’
Marshall’s Jared Gardner was the tournament’s medalist, shooting a two-over par 74.
Michael Freske led Sturgis with 85, followed by Ryan Brenneman (88), Marcus Neal (90), Skyler Santori (105) and Anthony Matz (116).
“Our score is still too high but it’s moving in the right direction,” Trojans coach Bud Clark said. “We made a nice recovery from our bad first round Wednesday. Michael played well and finished strong, only 3-over for his last seven holes. Ryan played solid golf in only his second varsity match. Junior Captain Marcus Neal almost broke 90 for the first time in his career, and Skyler improved from Wednesday. We talked about managing the course better today, and I saw several instances of that today. One thing is clear: if we want to win our 5th straight County Tournament next Saturday, we’ve got some work to do to get past White Pigeon.”