Local Sports Journal

ANN ARBOR – Hailey Hrynewich faced off against fellow Muskegon golfer Aya Johnson and reached the Sweet 16 in the 98th Michigan Women’s Amateur Championship on Wednesday. The Mona Shores grad and current Ohio University golfer topped Johnson, 3 and 1. Johnson is a North Muskegon alumn and enters her sophomore season for Wisconsin this year.

Hrynewich, a sophomore-to-be at Ohio University, lost in the championship match last year to Christine Meier.

Hailey Hrynewich

Hailey Hrynewich

“Overall, I played well,” Hrynewich said. “It’s a goal to get back to the championship. Last year I played great all the way to the last match, and then didn’t play so well.”

Lake Orion’s Kelly Hartigan topped Michigan women’s golf coach Jan Dowling 2-up and will face Hrynewich in the Sweet 16 on Thursday. The quarterfinals will follow in the afternoon, and the semifinals and championship match are Friday.

Hatigan said it never really crossed her mind that she was playing the Michigan golf coach on the University of Michigan course in her first-round match.

“I just really thought of it as another golf match,” said the senior-to-be Grand Valley State University golfer. “I was just thinking about my game, and it was a struggle. And it gave me a headache.”

Aya Johnson

Aya Johnson

Morgan Smith  was not able to advance on Wednesday as Brighton’s Hannah Pietila defeated Smith 4 and 3. Smith is a Mona Shores grad and enters her Sophomore season this fall at Oakland University.

Others in the “Sweet 16” include qualifying stroke play medalist Allyson Geer of Brighton, Emma Salata of Ann Arbor, Kimberly Dinh of Midland, Sarah Johnson of Wixom, Jennifer Elsholz of Grand Rapids, Kaitlyn Watkins of Frankenmuth, Danielle Crilley of East Lansing, Kelsey Murphy of Plymouth, Lindsey McPherson of Flushing, Sarah Hoffman of Saline, Shannon Warner of Livonia, Gabby Yurik of Oakland and Jacqueline Setas of East Lansing.

Morgan Smith

Morgan Smith

Hartigan was 2-down after two holes of play against Dowling, but rallied to get a 1-up lead by the ninth hole.

“It was back-and-forth and we were halving holes with bogeys, so neither of us played well,” Hartigan said. “I was just glad to have the lead at the end.”

Dowling was 1-down playing 18 and dunker her approach shot on the long par 4 in the pond that fronts the green.

“I was in the rough but I had a pretty good lie,” the coach said. “I had 195 to the pin, and I was 1-down so you have to go for it. I just toe hooked it and aqua.”

Dowling said she recently got her amateur standing back and feels it is important to play competitive golf.

“I think as a coach it’s important to have a feel for the game, and hopefully what you are working with your game helps you relate back to the player. Plus it was here, a good comfortable place for me to get back to competition and get my feet wet. I hit some good shots, but my short game is not quite on.”

Geer, the 15-year-old who had the best 36-hole stroke play qualifying score by six shots, continued her solid play in beating Pader Her of Lansing, a University of Akron golfer, 5 and 4.

“This is the first time I’ve ever won in match play,” she said. “I look forward to the next few rounds. I played pretty well. Stayed around even (par) and she made some mistakes so I took advantage.”

Geer will play Salata, a Western Michigan University golfer, in the round of 16. Salata topped Taylor Clark of Rochester 5 and 3.

GAM Women’s Champion Elsholz had to rally from losing the first two holes to beat Kelsey McDougall of Canton 1-up.  The University of Toledo golfer, who lost in the semifinals a year ago to Hrynewich, said she was a little nervous to start.

“I just had to play golf and try not to be in my own head,” she said. “I settled down and played better.”

Elsholz will play Watkins, a Western Michigan University golfer in the round of 16.

McPherson, a senior-to-be at Michigan State, was back in the amateur ranks after spending last week playing on a sponsor’s exemption in the Meijer LPGA Classic at Blythefield Country Club in Grand Rapids.

“I had to recalibrate myself, and it actually helped to make a double-bogey on my first hole in stroke play qualifying,” she said after she beat University of Michigan golfer Alicia Weber 5 and 4. “I had to refocus on this tournament and where I’m playing this week.”

McPherson will play Murphy, an Eastern Michigan University golfer, in the round of 16.


Geer vs. Salata 8 a.m., Dinh vs. Johnson 8:10 a.m., Elsholz vs Watkins 8:20 a.m., Pietila vs. Crilley 8:30 a.m., Hartigan vs. Hrynewich 8:40 a.m., Murphy vs. McPherson 8:50 a.m., Hoffman vs. Warner 9 a.m., Yurik vs. Setas 9:10 a.m.

Allyson Geer (Brighton), home-school student
Emma Salata (Ann Arbor), Western Michigan University golfer
Kimberly Dinh (Midland), University of Wisconsin golfer
Sarah Johnson (Wixom), former Eastern Michigan University golfer
Jennifer Elsholz (Grand Rapids), University of Toledo golfer
Kaitlyn Watkins (Frankenmuth), Western Michigan University golfer
Hannah Pietila (Brighton), University of Tennessee golfer
Danielle Crilley (East Lansing), Oakland University golfer
Kelly Hartigan (Lake Orion), Grand Valley State University golfer
Hailey Hrynewich (Muskegon), Ohio University golfer
Kelsey Murphy (Plymouth), Eastern Michigan University golfer
Lindsey McPherson (Flushing), Michigan State University golfer
Sarah Hoffman (Saline), nurse at University of Michigan Hospital
Shannon Warner (Livonia), nanny and caddie at Barton Hills Country Club
Gabrielle Yurik (Oakland), Michigan State University golfer
Jacqueline Setas (East Lansing), Michigan State University golfer