Redmen finish second at GNC golf meet

IRON MOUNTAIN – Judging by the looks on the faces of many of the high school golfers at Pine Grove on Thursday afternoon, it was hard to tell if they just completed 18 holes or a college entrance exam.

With most high school golf teams short on course time thanks to winter’s extended stay, Pine Grove delivered quite the test for the 2014 Great Northern Conference championships, leaving many frustrated with inflated scores.

In the end, it was Escanaba prevailing for both the girls and boys titles.

The Eskymo boys, led by second-place finisher Dane Casperson with an 83, totaled 348 to edge Marquette by six strokes. Gladstone finished third with 359, Kingsford was fourth with 361 and Menominee finished fifth with 388.

The Redmen were led by top medalist Scott Frazier’s 82. Frazier, a junior and the defending U.P. champion, earned league champion honors for the first time in his prep career.

All-GNC honors, awarded to the top five finishers, also included Marquette’s Brett Specker in third with an 84; Escanaba’s Dylan Gauthier in fourth with an 85; and Gladstone’s Bryce Douglas in fifth with an 87.

Frazier, who began his round by paring No. 18, did not use his driver once.

“I didn’t feel confident in it,” he said. “My irons were solid and my putting was great.”

The short game that made the biggest impact for Frazier. A 20 to-30 yard chip on the par 5 No. 2 dropped within inches of the cup for a tap-in birdie.

“The short game saved me a few times, up and down,” he said. “I had a couple of par saves. I went up and down for a par from about 20 yards away on No. 12. The rest of my round was just solid. My game, overall, is solid right now.”

Mike McGee (92) and Drew Leadbetter (98) completed Marquette’s second-place total.

“The biggest thing out there today was just hanging in there,” Smith said. “It’s a tough course, a tough spring. I don’t think too many kids were super thrilled with everything they did out there, but that’s what happens out here. The greens are really nice but its tough to get it in the hole. Tees shots, if you don’t hit them in the right spot, it’s pretty tough to hit anywhere close to the green.

“To shoot 82 like Scott did, hanging in there to shoot four over on the back nine, is tremendous. The course played tough, but its in fine shape, a great test of golf.”

Gladstone’s Callie Jensen managed the only score under 100 for the girls. Her 92 sent her to a nine-stroke win for her first league title. She was second in this meet a year ago.

Jensen’s effort was not enough to overcome to the solid one through five effort turned in by Escanaba. The Eskymos came in at 436 to repeat as league champs, topping the second-place Braves by a comfortable 17 strokes.

Marquette, led by Hannah Crampton’s 109, totaled 473 for third.