Local Sports Journal
Wednesday’s city tournament championship was not a new experience for most of the girls on the Mona Shores golf team.
But it was a brand new thrill for Sami Pyman, from a team and personal perspective.
She played for the Mona Shores varsity two years ago as a sophomore, but was the No. 6 shooter and had to sit out at city. Her family moved to Tennessee for her junior year, so she competed for a high school three states away.
But the Pymans moved back last winter, and Sami rejoined the golf squad this fall.
She’s been the Sailors’ No. 2 shooter for most of the season, behind teammate Rylee George.
But she shot her best 18 holes of the year Wednesday and earned individual medalist honors at the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association City Tournament at Stonegate Golf Course.
She shot an 82, just edging out George (84) and defending individual champion Abbie Alfree of Western Michigan Christian (85).
It was Pyman’s first individual title in high school golf, and she didn’t bother to hide her excitement.
“Before the last hole my coach asked me if I wanted to know where I stood, but I said no because I thought it would make me nervous,” Pyman said. “So I finished the last hole, then he came up and said I won by two strokes.
“I was really happy and excited. This is the first time this has happened to me.”
Her Mona Shores team also had its best collective day, shooting a score of 344 to easily win its eighth straight city title. Reeths-Puffer was a distant second with a score of 378, followed by Muskegon Catholic (429) and Fruitport (434).
Whitehall and Western Michigan Christian finished far behind the pack because they were penalized points for lacking the required number of golfers.
Pyman and George led the way for Mona Shores, followed by Darian Smith (87), Kendall McKinley (91), Andrea Majeski (93), and Kennedy Potts (101).
For Mona Shores Coach Scott Volkmann, Wednesday’s result was more than welcome.
While the Sailors are ranked fifth in the state in Division 2 and have already clinched another O-K Black Conference title, Volkmann said they’ve been inconsistent from tournament to tournament.
He was particularly disappointed earlier this week when the Sailors finished third in their own invitational tournament. They finished behind Kalamazoo Hackett and Spring Lake, two other state powers, but that didn’t make Volkmann feel any better.
“We can compete with anybody, but we didn’t play well,” he said.
Volkmann said he worked with the girls on putting and their mental approach in practice on Tuesday, and it made a huge difference on Wednesday.
He said the entire team had its best day of the season, which bodes well for the Sailors going into their conference championship meet tomorrow and the state regional tournament Oct. 6.
“When you start shooting under 350 as a team, that can get you somewhere at the end of the season,” said Volkmann, who took over this season for longtime coach John Brainard.
Volkmann said the city title is always special at Mona Shores, no matter how many trophies the Sailors collect.
“That’s a goal on our list every year, to win the city championship,” he said. “We take it seriously. We want to win. This is a big week for us, and the way we played today will help us build some confidence.”
GMAA City Tournament
MONA SHORES: Rylee George 84, Sami Pyman 82, Darian Smith 87, Kendall McKinley 93.
REETHS-PUFFER: Mikaela Vanduinen 85, Hannah Moss 101, Libby Luker 99, Karlee Hallberg 93.
MUSKEGON CATHOLIC: Lauren Bliss 96.
NORTH MUSKEGON: Madi Grevel 113, Alyssa Delora 96, Sena Precious 143, Tegan Barclay 124.
FRUITPORT: Kelsey Alvair 110, Taylor Clark 95, Andrea Benson 112, Jamie Fortenbacher 130.
WHITEHALL: Taylor Mikkelson 91, Brooke Borgman 111.
WESTERN MICHIGAN CHRISTIAN: Abbie Alfree 85.