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Ford wins Evans-Gill at Gowanie PHOTO GALLERY

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A ninth-place finish in last year’s state meet is still paying dividends for Ford’s golf team.

The Falcons had three players shoot in the 70s Monday to lead Ford to its second straight victory in the Evans-Gill Invitational on a summer-like day at Gowanie Golf Club.

“It gives us a lot of confidence because we have three people from that team carrying on to this year,” said Andrew Palomba, who led the Falcons with a 74. “We did lose two big pieces. We’re looking to replace them and so far we’re doing a good job. We want to get back to where we were last year — and maybe better.”

Ford had a total score of 317, for a comfortable margin over runner-up Dakota, which shot 333. De La Salle and Grosse Pointe North each shot 334, but the Norsemen took third place when their fifth man placed ahead of the Pilots’. De La Salle had a split squad with half the team competing at the Red Run tournament. Eisenhower was fifth at 344.

Drew Tucci shot a 76 and his brother Owen, last year’s Evans-Gill medalist, carded a 79. Payton Thomas rounded out the Ford scoring.

“As a team this is what we have to do every time out,” said Palomba. “We need our top three to shoot scores in the 70s every time we go out and we’re hoping to get a good fourth score from our fourth and fifth spot.

“So far it’s been working for us. We’re 2-for-2 in tournaments. Hopefully, we can move toward a successful season.”

Last Friday, the Falcons took first place in the Lapeer Tune-up tournament.

“Our top three have been playing since their freshman year so we’re experienced and we’re trying to lead the guys behind us, while doing our part with scores in the 70s,” Palomba said.

Falcons coach Justin Lease said that the weather helped the scores in the 39th annual tournament honoring Chuck Evans and Roger Gill, two of the pioneer coaches in Macomb County high school golf.

“We really lucked out in terms of weather,” said Lease, who played in the tournament for Sterling Heights when he was in high school. “We’ve never played this tournament in this beautiful weather at this time of year. Today was a really good day overall. We had three of a total of seven scores overall in the 70s.

“That shows how difficult the golf course is. The kids did a good job of managing the ball. They kept it on the golf course. There are big numbers out there if you let the course get at you. They kept the ball in play and minimized the three-putts because the greens are very fast here.”

Lease wasn’t surprised with three scores in the 70s.

“That’s pretty much what we’re going to have to do,” he said. “We’ve set our goals high this year. We graduated some key people but our hope every year is to come back and compete and get back to where we were a year ago. We’ll keep grinding every day at practice to reach our goal.

“This is a tournament that’s very important to us. It’s early in the season and it honors two of our coaches that were all about what this tournament is — teaching young people how important tradition is.”

Dakota co-coach Justin Taurence got what he expected from the Cougars.

“We had some guys who played around their average,” Taurence said. “There’s room for improvement. Andrew Brooks, a sophomore, played well to shoot an 80. He doesn’t hit the ball real far, but he was grinding it out all day.

“It was a good learning experience. We have eight or nine guys who are really competing among themselves. It makes it tough to pick five for every tournament and six for the league matches.”

Ford (317): Andrew Palomba 74, Drew Tucci 76, Owen Tucci 79, Payton Thomas 88.

Dakota (333): Andrew Brooks 80, Mitch Bazinski 82, Adam Schornak 84, Jon Fruciano 87.

Grosse Pointe North (334): Matt Beach 77, J.P. Navetta 82, Ben Zacharias 87, Luke Muschong 88. (won tie-breaker with De La Salle).

De La Salle (334): Garrett Peterson 78, Justin McCown 80, Nick Rutkowski 83, Josh Williams 93.

Eisenhower (344): Kyle Tinnion 74, Matt Haist 88, Jacob Connor 89, Nick Mariani 93.

Anchor Bay (349): Anthony Novara 82, Andrew Bonk 84, Chris Abdella 90, Mark Baumgarten 93.

Lutheran North (353): Scott Sparks 72, Steven Whittlesey 90, Kyle Kmiec 94, Josh Palmer 97.

Romeo (364): Ian Frause 88, Ryan Menard 89, Noah Winters 92, Luke Durham and Cole Harko 95.

Port Huron Northern (366): Kurtis Obermyer 83, Nick Miller 88, Kyle McMath 97, Luc Bowman 98.

Chippewa Valley (373): Alex Hug 88, Zack Caponi 92, Dante Tocco 96 , Justin Lenard 97.

Cousino (375): Max Dimas 91, Zach Mahalak 92, Aaron Rice 95, Skyler Hunt and Joey Tallerico 97.

Lakeview (381): Joe Frank 83, Matt Vrana 93, Trent LeFever 94, Alex Graham and Evan Tonn 111.

Armada (383): Matt Hammer 83, Graham Borzyk 97, Davon Lattaie 101, Ziggy Bell 102.

L’Anse Creuse (385): Nick Omilian 80, Brandon Catanese 101, Jeremy Spezia 101, Mike Andrews 103.

Stevenson (385): Mike Northup 93, Zach Phillips 94, Dominic Gappy 96, Austin Schilling 102.

Marysville (388): Nick Lozano 90, Matt Rose 97, Evan Brown 100, Sam Palmateer and Jeremiah Scott 101.

Port Huron (390): Nick Bailey 82, Kyle Hepting 99, Matt Pringle 102, Mark Kovach 107.

South Lake (390): Brett Cloud 88, Imran Rashid 92, Sultan Rashid 99, Cam Blizinski 111.

L’Anse Creuse North (394): Evan Debruyne 87, Steven Wehby 90, Connor Dailey 100, Cory Mazur 109.

Utica (397): Dave Haggarty 97, Nick Walker 98, Dylan Scott 102, Neil Fraylick 102.

Last Updated: 4/18/2016 9:01:02 PM EST