By Jason Goorman

The cooler temperatures and brisk winds were not a match for Reeths-Puffer freshman Karli VanDuinen at Wednesday’s Greater Muskegon Athletic Association’s girls city golf championship.

Karli VanDuinen looks up after hitting her putt on the 16th green. Photo/Jason Goorman

The youngest player on the Rockets’ squad, and sister of senior leader Karina VanDuinen, shot a 76 to take medalist honors at Stonegate Golf Club.

Reeths-Puffer also took home its third-straight city title with 317 strokes as a team total. North Muskegon finished in second place, 49 shots behind Reeths-Puffer, with 366 total strokes.

A slow start didn’t inhibit Karlie VanDuinen’s first high-school tournament title as she started with two bogies and responded with a birdie and a pair of pars.

“After a few holes I started to feel pretty good,” said VanDuinen whose sister Karina won the city title as a freshman three years ago. “I fought against my driver a lot but I just grinded away. I challenge myself with chipping and to make every shot better.”

The light tempered freshman never lost control of the day, only turning in five bogies and two doubles, while shooting a 38 on both the front and back nine holes.

“It’s just another day, I guess,” said a humble Karlie VanDuinen about her first city title. “I’ll be looking back on this one for a while. But I don’t really get nervous when I play, I just kind of look at it as another day, another shot.”

The calm and collected attitude the freshman VanDuinen has can be attributed to her team’s work ethic said her coach, Chris Carter.

“This group of girls have worked really hard to get where they are at,” said Carter, who is in his ninth season coaching the Rockets girls golf team. “They know our goal is a state championship. We talk about it out loud and we don’t hide it.”

Reeths-Puffer’s Avery Howard chips on to the 16th green. Photo/Jason Goorman

While Carter likes to focus on his team’s goal of a state title, he was not quick to look over the honor of the Rockets third-straight city title and what that means for his team and program.

“It’s a big thing. A lot of family came out to watch, old players came back to watch too,” said Carter about the value of the day’s honor in the Rocket community. “They are a special family and they focus on their game. There’s a competitive spirit between them but they feed off of each other’s success.”

Reeths-Puffer took the first three places overall as Avery Howard finished second, shooting a 78, while Karina VanDuinen took third place with a 79. Abby Fansler finished in sixth place for the Rockets with an 84.

Taking fourth place was North Muskegon senior Abby Grevel, who shot an 82.

Mona Shores’ Logan Potts took fifth place, shooting an 83.

Also leading in the individual Top 10 was Whitehall’s Rylee Woodring (86) and Kennedy Woodring (94) who took seventh and eighth place, respectively. North Muskegon’s Lindsay Bliss (94) finished ninth and Mya Gonzalez (94) was 10th for the Norse.

Rounding out team scores was Whitehall, which took third place with a 394. Mona Shores (392) finished fourth, followed by fifth-place Montague (428), sixth place Fruitport (445) and seventh place Western Michigan Christian (493).

Reeths-Puffer – 317
Karli VanDuinen, RP 76
Avery Howard, RP 78
Karina VanDuinen, RP 79
Abby Fansler 84

North Muskegon – 366
Abby Grevel 82
Lindsay Bliss 94
Mya Gonzalez 94
Georgie Kersman 103

Whitehall – 394
Rylee Woodring 86
LeeAnna Burns 98
Kennedy Woodring 93
Vanessa Christensen 117

Mona Shores – 392
Logan Potts 83
Chloe Knowlton 97
Taylor Keessen 108
Morgan Rahlston 104

Montague 428
Morgan Osborne 99
Orianna Bylsma 104
Maddy Britton 106
Megan Brown 119
Maddie Brown 125
Kennedy McDonald 123

Fruitport – 445
Emily Dirkse 101
Hannah Labash 114
Olivia Parling 116
Lena Cook 114

Western Michigan Christian – 493
Liz Vos 100
Elizabeth Bonnema 134
Zoe Vanderstelt 127
Abby Oppenhuizen 132