By Jason Goorman
But that era has finally come to an end.
The Reeths-Puffer girls golf team used a dominant performance to dethrone Mona Shores at Stonegate Golf Club on Thursday.
The Rockets finished with a team score of 355, followed by North Muskegon (394), Whitehall (405), Mona Shores (421), Fruitport (444), Western Michigan Christian (490) and Montague (502).
Reeths-Puffer had four golfers in the top 11 of the tournament, including the champion and runner-up. It was the first city tournament championship in the history of the Reeths-Puffer program.
“I had let the girls know that the team had never won a city tournament,” said Reeths-Puffer Coach Chris Carter. “Some of the parents were worried that I told them that, because of the pressure. But I let the girls know and they responded. This is a different group of kids.
“We can achieve things that Reeths-Puffer golf has never done before. Winning city was a big goal for our team and we want to win our conference. In 19 years Reeths-Puffer has only made the state tournament one time. We have hopes of winning regionals and getting to state this year.”
While Reeths-Puffer won the team competition with ease, there was no shortage of excitement in the dual for the individual tournament title, between two R-P players.
Defending champion Karina VanDuinen and teammate Avery Howard were tied for first place with identical scores of 82 after 18 holes. It came down to a playoff on the ninth hole of the course.
VanDuinen shot par, Howard was one over, so VanDuinen kept the championship for another year.
“I wished it wasn’t against my own teammate, but I knew I had to win it because I did it last year,” said VanDuinen, a sophomore who stunned everyone by winning the individual Division 2 state championship last fall as a freshman. “I felt bad because she’s my really good friend. but I had to win.”
Despite all of her prior success, VanDuinen admitted she was nervous during the one-hole playoff.
“After I hit my drive, I was kind of nervous,” she said. “But I kept together pretty good. That was probably my best hole I played all day.”
North Muskegon’s Abby Grevel finished third in the individual competition with an 86, followed by Reeths-Puffer’s Karlee Hallberg (87), North Muskegon’s Lindsay Bliss (88), Whitehall’s Taylor Mikkelson (90), Fruitport’s Morgan Green (98), Mona Shores’ Logan Potts (99), Whitehall’s Brooke Borgman (99) and Montague’s Sidney Stine (102).