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Wildcat golfers finish 10th at states

June 22, 2011 - A stellar year for the varsity golf team was capped off with a 10th place finish at the division one state finals this past weekend at Katke-Cousins Course at Oakland University.

The Wildcats shot a two day total of 636 in their first state final under varsity golf coach Terry Kelley. Oxford finished three shots behind seventh place, which featured a three-way tie between Traverse City Central, Plymouth and Battle Creek Lakeview at 633.

Varsity golf coach Terry Kelley said his team's goal was to go and play the best they can. "Essentially that is what we did...we had never played at this level in my coaching I didn't know quite what to expect, and they didn't either, but this is a bunch of determined fellas and they were going to give it their best shot and they did and they showed quite well," he said.

The only Oakland County team that finished ahead of Oxford was Birmingham Brother Rice, who shot a 316 and finished fourth. Oxford shot a 319 on day one and 317 on day two.

J.J. Lewis and Doug Piesko lead the Wildcats with two day totals of 158. Nick Hocker and Josh Hosking followed with 162 and Nolan Chapman finished with a 172.

"We finished just above our season average for tournaments by a couple of strokes," Kelley said. "It was a tougher course than most of the courses we have played, which makes their higher score understandable, but they played the course quite well."

"One of the neat things about this team is they have been really well balanced all year long...on a given match or tournament when one kids has an off day, the other one seems to have picked him up all year long, and I think they did that again this time," Kelley added.

Kelley said his team all year hadn't seen greens as fast as those they putted on during the state finals.

"They were double cut and rolled, which makes them 10 1/2, 11 on the stimpmeter," Kelley said. "My kids are very aggressive putters, and the ones that hooked the holes were running out five and six feet."

A stimpmeter is a device used to measure the speed of a golf course putting green by applying a known force to a golf ball and measuring the distance traveled in feet.

Kelley said one of the most interesting shots of the tournament came during day two from Lewis. On the par 4 18th hole, Lewis faced a blind shot needing to travel over a hill and between a tree and sand trap.

"He had a slot that wasn't five yards wide to put a ball through...and I would have coached him to play the ball short on the line between the trap and the tree and not try and fly it back to the flag," Kelley said.

Lewis went for the flag and stuck it within eight feet. "That was the kind of shots that I know they had to be hitting for two days to score the way they did," Kelley said.

According to Kelley, this was the first time Oxford went to a state final in golf since 1998, when he was an assistant junior varsity coach. He added out of 180 rounds, there was only one round that reached 100.

"The caliber of golf was what you would expect for a state championship. The winning score was one of the lowest in history. The lowest single day record (284 by Davison) was set in this tournament...this was not a ho-hum golf course. This was a tough golf course, especially with the fast greens," Kelley said.

The season could not have gone any better for Oxford, despite all the early rainouts and crappy weather.

"Every season has it's high points and low points, and the unique thing about this season is it had way more high points than low points, so that makes for an outstanding season," Kelley said.

In addition to advancing past districts and regionals, the varsity boys finished with a 9-0 record in duel meets, they won the OAA blue division, an excellent tournament record.

"It was an outstanding season for the kids. They worked real hard, were totally into it and it pays off," Kelley said.

"I'm fortunate to have such a good groups of kids and I'm grateful to the community for their support and appreciate it," he added.

Andrew Moser is a staff writer for the Oxford Leader.
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