Sunday’s final round of the Henderson Memorial golf tournament turned into a family affair [VIDEO]

By Jason Goorman
Local Sports Journal

MUSKEGON – Sunday’s final round of the Henderson Memorial Match Play Championships at Lincoln Golf Club became a family affair.

Collin Breit stares down a put during action on Sunday. Photo/Jason Goorman

Collin Breit stares down a putt during action on Sunday. Photo/Jason Goorman

In the championship flight, Collin Breit defeated Ryan Mouw, 1 up, with his brother Alec serving as his caddy.

Kaleb Johnson, a newcomer to the tournament but not to West Michigan, captured the Boys 15-17 division. Johnson is the brother of Lincoln golf pro Colby Beckstrom and a Naples, Fla. resident. He rolled to a 4 and 3 win over Glenn Kastelic, who plays varsity golf for Mona Shores.

Perhaps the biggest story came from the VanDuinen family trio of sisters Kaela, Karina and Karli. Two won championships and the third took second place to one of her sisters.

Karina VanDuinen is going to be an eighth-grader at Reeths-Puffer this fall. But her young age didn’t cause her  to buckle against older sister Kaela, who is a senior at Reeths-Puffer. Karina won the 15-17 year old flight with a 2 and 1 victory. Younger sister Karli won the 14 and under championship 2 up over Abby Grevel.

Kaleb Johnson putts during Sunday's action at the Henderson Memorial.

Kaleb Johnson putts during Sunday’s action at the Henderson Memorial.

Despite her tender age, Karina showed she is a very unique golfer. On the front nine she birded four holes and tallied an eagle to go up 5 on Kaela at the turn. She was at +2 after 14 holes.

Even after her victory, she said she didn’t feel she played well enough.

“I choked a little bit,” said Karina. “I only finished two up after being up five on Kaela. She almost beat me.” When asked how well she competes against her sisters when they practice, she said, “I don’t play with my sisters, I can’t.”

Ryan Mouw and Reeths-Puffer golf coach Chris Carter line up a put. Mouw beat Carter in the semifinals on a 19-hole play off.

Ryan Mouw and Reeths-Puffer golf coach Chris Carter line up a put. Mouw beat Carter in the semifinals on a 19-hole play off.

For championship flight winner Colin Breit, having his brother by his side gave him the confidence he needed to overcome Mouw,  the defending champion. Breit had to dig himself out of a considerable hole after he fell down 4 to Mouw after seven holes.

Kaela, Karina and Karli VanDuinen.

Kaela, Karina and Karli VanDuinen.

“I think, stepping up on the first couple of tees, I thought ‘this is Ryan Mouw.” I’ve been hearing about him since I was little,” said Breit, who currently plays for Hope College and was recently named an Academic All-American. “I knew I had to play some good golf to beat him, but that got the better of me.
There was a spot there where it was just me. I made a few mistakes. He took advantage at first but I dug out.”

A turning point for Breit happened on No. 9, when he cut Mouw’s lead to 3 with a chip in from the fringe just a few feet off the green.

“Alec was telling me as soon as I chipped it in, ‘I saw it going in the second you stepped up to it,’ he said.  “And I just kept working it, I guess. Alec is somebody that between a player and a caddy, you need to be able to trust. Having Alec on the bag is the best option for me. I don’t think I would have had anyone else on the bag to be honest. He was great.”

Johnson, the b0ys 15-17 winner, noticed the family undercurrent right away with the VanDuinen sisters winning and the Breits working the course together. “Seems like it’s a big family ordeal here with the VanDuinens and Breits,”Johnson said. “It’s tough to follow in my brother’s footsteps obviously. But I’m doing my best. I love this golf course. But my wedges were working great and so was my putting.”

“A lot of the holes were cut on some tough ridges today. It was tough to read them, but I seemed to make a couple. I come here every summer just so I can play on it (Linsoln). It’s a confidence builder golf course.”

Garrett Norris shows off his trophy after winning the 14-under championship in a 20-hole playoff.

Garrett Norris shows off his trophy after winning the 14-under championship in a 20-hole playoff.

Johnson is just a junior in high school but he is getting some attention from some big colleges. One is Michigan State, and he said he is very interested in playing for the Spartans.

Mona Shores freshman Garrett Norris won the Boys 14 under division, topping Carter O’Neil in a 20-hole marathon.

In the senior division Barry “The Bear” Searles beat George Ruthkoski, 3 and 2.

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