MARQUETTE – A number of boys taking part in the first stop of the Upper Peninsula Junior Golf Tour have some lofty aspirations for the game.
“My goal is to shoot in the 40s,” said Jake L’Huillier, 13, of Marquette when he was about halfway through his round Tuesday at the Marquette Golf Club. He shot 56 for nine holes.
He also answered in the affirmative when asked if he’d like to play for the Marquette Senior High School team some day, adding his favorite pro golfers are Tiger Woods and Ricky Fowler.
“My main goal is to get in some good competitive golf and hopefully get ready to play college golf,” said Scott Frazier, 17, already a veteran MSHS golfer and 2013 medalist at the U.P. high school finals. “I’d like to play at a college in Florida.”
Frazier, who shot 84 for 18 holes Tuesday, mentioned a few NCAA Division 1 schools he’s interested in and hopes to gather interest from some of them, such as Central Florida.
But others just want to have fun out on the course, like Collin Hicks, 11, also of Marquette.
“Sometimes I like to play 18 (holes),” he said in response to playing in one of Tuesday’s younger divisions, where competitors just go nine holes. “It depends on if I’m playing good or if I’m playing bad.”
Hicks ended up with a 51.
While these boys had short travels with a tournament taking place in their hometown, other girls and boys ages 8 to 17 traveled from as far away as the Houghton area and DeTour in the extreme eastern U.P.
“This is my first time playing here,” said Evan Anderson, 11, of Norway. He was joined at the event by his brothers Justin and Trevor, and cousin Drew Anderson, all also from Norway.
“The fairways are really green,” he said about one of the biggest differences he noticed in Marquette. “And the greens are pretty fast.”
He also mentioned they’re “wavy,” an allusion to all the undulations that wreak havoc with putting lines.
“I’m just trying to not have too many double and triples,” he said of his goal Tuesday of avoiding multi-bogey holes.
“I’ve played here two or three times for high school,” said Louis Berry, 14, of Germfask, who attends Manistique High School and played on the school’s varsity team this spring. “I hope I can break 90.”
He had one of the best shots of the day, knocking a sand shot from a greenside bunker to within two feet at a hole near the course clubhouse.
MGC pro Marc Gilmore said there were 35 boys and five girls who played Tuesday in the first of nine tournaments that will generally be played weekly from now through mid-August.
This is the only event to be held in Marquette or Alger counties, with subsequent events to be held in Norway, Watersmeet, Iron Mountain, Gladstone, Drummond Island, Houghton, Sault Ste. Marie and the finals to be hosted by Newberry.
“This is a great turnout and I’m really pleased with how golfers came from all around the U.P.,” Gilmore said, adding less than half the entrants were from Marquette County.
Golfers were broken into five age divisions, each with two-year spans – 8-9 years, 10-11, 12-13, 14-15 and 16-17. The trio of younger divisions played nine holes, while the two older ones went a full 18.
Bryce Douglas of Gladstone won the biggest division of the day, boys’ 16-17, where 10 boys were entered. He shot 79.
Fellow Braves’ golfer Kyle Pouliot was second with 82 and Mike McGee of the MSHS team was third with 83.
Negaunee freshman Carter Mason won the boys’ 14-15 division with 87, followed by Berry with 91 and Jacob Ennett 101.
Jordan Jurmu of Marquette took the boys’ 12-13 bracket with 37, followed by Noah Thomsen with 45.
At 10-11, Nathan Thomsen was victorious with 46 and Drew Anderson had 49. Liam Beerman took the 8-9 boys with 56.
In the only contested girls. division, 14-15, Ellie Hicks and Madison Wilkie each shot 106 to share honors.
Next week’s event will be played at 9 a.m. CDT Monday at Oak Crest Golf Club in Norway. The cost is $18, which includes greens fees, food and pop, prizes and unlimited range balls. Call club pro Ryan Gordon at 563-5891 for more information or to sign up.