Prep golf: Marquette’s Rochester wins quad at Escanaba Country Club

ESCANABA – A long-awaited golf opener became a successful one for the Escanaba girls Monday as they won a quadrangular meet with 399 strokes at the Escanaba Country Club.

They were followed by Marquette 432, Gladstone 435 and Kingsford 517.

Marquette senior Avery Rochester recorded the day’s best score at 76. She hit 40 on the front nine, followed by an even-par 36 on the back nine.

Rochester hit a birdie on hole No. 10 and remained a stroke under par on the back nine until she bogeyed No. 15. Rochester then parred the remaining holes.

“After the first five holes, I started playing pretty good,” said Rochester, who enters this season as the defending MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 champion. “It was just a matter of getting back into the flow of things. It was definitely good to get this meet in and get rid of the nerves for the rest of the year.”

Rochester, who also captured U.P. Ladies’ Golf Association title last summer, practiced on this course with several of her teammates on Saturday.

“I definitely think that helped me a lot,” said Rochester, who has a scholarship to play golf at Columbia College in Missouri next season. “I also went to Northern’s golf course on Sunday because it was open and worked on my chipping and putting.

“I think this course is in real good shape considering it opened just three days ago. The greens are in real nice shape and the weather was great.”

Marquette coach Ben Smith says he appreciates Rochester’s leadership.

“Avery is very valuable to our team,” he added. “She’s on the course all the time. She’s definitely rewarded for the time she puts in.”

Rochester’s closest challenger was Gladstone junior Callie Jensen, who fired an 83.

“That’s a good score,” Braves’ coach Dane Quigley said of Jensen’s round. “Callie is a very talented and has a good golf swing. I think she has the talent to be among the top golfers in the U.P. As a team, we’re a work in progress. We need to manage ourselves a little better on the course.”

The Marquette A boys won a five-school meet, edging Esky A 336-337. Iron Mountain A placed third at 356.

“For the first time being on a golf course this year, we did okay,” said Iron Mountain coach Bucky Johnson. “We still don’t have a lineup set. We usually don’t come to this meet, but I glad Escanaba invited us to come over. This gave us a chance to see where we’re at.”

Gladstone freshman Adam Scheeneman and Marquette’s Mike McGee shared medalist honors at 78. They were followed by Esky junior Nick Laviolette and Gladstone senior Ben Lasecki with 80.

“Adam had a wonderful round of golf,” said Quigley. “He was real consistent. He shot 39 on the front and back nine. Ben had a nice round and Kyle Pouliot was also in the mix for medalist (with an 81).

“Today, we went with a group of upperclassmen and a group of underclassmen. I’m excited about what I saw from this team today.”