2017-05-11 / Sports

Ball medals twice as Comets collect three victories in six days

By Jay Bushen
Of The Enterprise staff


LELAND GOLFERS show off the Terry Thompson Invitational trophy at Missaukee Golf Club on Friday. The Comets competed in three events last week, finishing first in all three. LELAND GOLFERS show off the Terry Thompson Invitational trophy at Missaukee Golf Club on Friday. The Comets competed in three events last week, finishing first in all three. The Leland golf team has quickly gone from looking like a Northwest Conference up-and-comer to a Division 4 dark horse.

Nate Ball and the Comets could certainly make the argument after their play on the links last week, anyway.

The Comets, who cruised to victory in the Suttons Bay Jamboree last Wednesday and Terry Thompson Invitational on Friday, collected a third straight victory on Monday in the Frankfort Jamboree at Crystal Lake Golf Club in Beulah. Leland beat No. 6 Suttons Bay by seven strokes.

With wins in four of five conference jamborees, Leland now holds a 45-44 lead over Suttons Bay atop the league standings through 63 holes.

“It’s a job far from finished, and we all know that, but so far it’s been a real treat to work with these guys,” said second-year Comets coach Nate Sneed. “They come to practice prepared and ready to go, eager to learn, and they’re never content. We took care of the complacency issue earlier in the year. That loss really helped us.”


SUTTONS BAY golfers celebrate their Elk Rapids Invitational victory at A-Ga-Ming Golf Course on Friday. SUTTONS BAY golfers celebrate their Elk Rapids Invitational victory at A-Ga-Ming Golf Course on Friday. The “loss”—a third-place showing in the Onekama Jamboree on April 26—is the lone blemish for the Comets so far this spring. Despite rolling out a lineup comprised mostly of underclassmen, Sneed has seen his Comets finish first in five of six tournaments.

Ball has been the man most responsible for the success. The sophomore won both league meets last week.

“It’s a mental thing with Nate,” Sneed said of Ball, who sports a 9-hole average of 38.7 through 63 rounds. “Swings are good, putting strokes are great and short game is good but he’s starting to think a little more. He’s reading the course and knowing where he should miss on certain holes—if he is going to miss. From last year to this year, that’s the biggest improvement: not over-thinking but thinking through the course and the game itself.”

Ball fired a 1-under 35 on Monday, outlasting the only league opponent with a better 9-hole average this spring: Thomas Hursey of Suttons Bay (38.3).

Leland teammate Adam Maleski, meanwhile, turned in his best finish of the season with a sixth-place 46. Justin Bardenhagen joined Ball and Maleski in the top 10 with a ninthplace 49 while two players, Luke Kleinschmidt and Quinn Maleski, tied for 14th place with matching 50s.

Hursey finished five strokes back of Ball with a 4-over 40. Suttons Bay teammates Justin McSawby, Jack Pasche and Evan Rohrback recorded matching 49s to tie Bardenhagen and Kingsley’s Keenan Anderson in ninth.

“We know we’ve got to have a couple scores better than that to beat Leland,” said Suttons Bay coach Todd Hursey, whose team has finished second in four of five jamborees. “It seems like we’ve been between seven and 10 strokes behind Leland every time. We’re fortunate to finish second again—it keeps us in the hunt—but if we’re going to win it, we have to put a couple scores in a better position.”

Suttons Bay finished three strokes ahead of reigning conference champion Frankfort and 31 strokes ahead of fourth-place Glen Lake.

Caleb Gleason’s 53 led the way for Lee Houtteman’s Lakers, who have finished fourth in four straight meets.

County golfers were slated to play at Champion Hill in the Benzie Central Jamboree after press time last night. The only other regular-season conference meet left is the Leland Jamboree, which will take place Tuesday at the Leland Country Club.

Sneed’s Comets will be looking to cash in on the home-course advantage, especially since the leagu championship meet will follow at Champion Hill the next day.

“We expect a lot out of ourselves,” Sneed said, “but nothing’s a given and we all know that.”

MORE GOLF

Hursey runner-up at Mistwood

Thomas Hursey took second in the 10-team Traverse City West Titan Invitational at Mistwood Golf Course on Saturday, finishing three strokes behind Ryan Navin of St. Francis. Gaylord took first as a team with a 316.

Hursey (74), Austin Huck (88) and Eli Lewis (89) led the way individually as the Norsemen notched a 350.

Caleb Gleason carded an 88 to lead Glen Lake, which was last with a 396.

Comets win Lake City tourney

A big day from Luke Kleinschmidt lifted Leland to victory in the Lake City Terry Thompson Invitational at Missaukee Golf Club on Friday.

Kleinschmidt cracked the top 10 with a 13-over 84. Nate Ball (86), Justin Bardenhagen (87) and Adam Maleski rounded out the team score.

The team tallied a 344, outlasting Chippewa Hills by eight strokes.

Norse finish first at A-Ga-Ming

Thomas Hursey and Justin McSawby turned in a pair of top-five finishes Friday as Suttons Bay captured a sixstroke victory in the Elk Rapids Invitational at A-Ga-Ming Golf Course.

Hursey carded an 80 to place third individually while McSawby fired an 84 to finish in a fifth-place tie. Evan Rohrback (96) and Eli Lewis (99) also contributed to the team score.

East Jordan was second as a team with a 365. Ryan Navin of St. Francis captured medalist honors with a 73.

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