Prep golf: Marquette’s Rochester, Gladstone’s Lasecki take top honors Tuesday at Wawonowin Country Club

CHAMPION – Avery Rochester of Marquette and Ben Lasecki of Gladstone took top honors at the Range Bank Invitational prep golf tournament Tuesday, but they took different routes to accomplish the feat at the Wawonowin Country Club

While Rochester claimed her girls title by seven strokes over runner-up Callie Jensen of Gladstone, Lasecki needed a playoff hole to put away Marquette’s Brett Specker in the boys competition.

Lasecki and Specker both posted a 77 over 18 holes, but Lasecki came up with a double-bogey six on the extra hole to Specker’s triple-bogey seven.

“I feel I could have played better, but it feels good to win,” Lasecki said after his first triumph this season. “I struggled with my putting, but I played some solid golf.”

His drive on hole No. 1 in the playoff hit a tree and went into the woods.

“I had to punch out and then had an awkward lie for my third shot,” Lasecki said, “which I left short and to the right of the green. I chipped a shot onto the green and two-putted.”

Specker experienced similar problems on the deciding hole.

“I was shaky off the tee and pulled my first shot into the water,” he said. “I had to take a drop.

He hit his next shot into the woods and then put the ball into a sand trap. After his sand shot onto the green, Specker two-putted.

“I would have liked to have taken first, but …,” he said. “But I was good off the tee today and my approach shots were better.”

Jordan Frazier of Marquette took third with a 78 in a count-back over Iron Mountain’s Austin Blomquist. Norway’s Bryce Kelly placed fifth with a 79.

Gladstone claimed the team title with a 325. Marquette finished second with a 327, while Iron Mountain came in third with a 339.

“Lasecki had an excellent day today, but a number of my boys were lights out with their scores,” Gladstone coach Dave Quigley said. “Consistency was big for us today.”

Marquette coach Ben Smith said he was pleased with his team’s runner-up finish.

“It was a better (team) score compared to some of them we’ve been turning in,” he said. “Having two players in the 70s is where you’d like to be all the time.”

Rochester, meanwhile, had little trouble staying undefeated in her six golf matches this season with her 77.

“I kept my drives straight and I was pretty accurate with my approach shots,” she said. “My putting wasn’t the best, though. I had two three-putts.

“But I’m really happy about my (total) score.”

The Columbia (Mo.) College recruit, who posted two birdies on the day, said she’s “pretty pleased” with her game to date, but hopes to improve her chipping.

“I also want to shoot under 80 in as many meets as I can this season,” Rochester added. “I’ve done it twice so far.”

Smith said his No. 1 girl golfer is “unflappable.”

“She has added a little bit of distance this season, but her short game is her strength,” he said.

“She has real good control on the green from 10 feet in. Avery also keeps the ball in play and doesn’t get rattled.”

Quigley said he was a “little surprised” his Gladstone girls won the team title.

“I didn’t know where we’d fall in,” he said. “But Callie was in her usual low 80s and my No. 2 and 3 girls (Paige Tardiff and Gabby Moralson) were consistent (each with a 111).”

Shelby Matonich of Norway placed third with a 99, followed by Katelyn Johnson (100) of Iron Mountain and Jalyn Dagenais (104) of Escanaba.

Craig Remsburg can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 251.