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GOLF: Grosse Ile rules the roost again with state title (PHOTO)
Coach Jim Bennett's Grosse Ile team did it again Saturday. The Red Devils went to Battle Creek and won the Division 4 state championship last weekend, beating out Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian by two strokes. The state title was Grosse Ile's third since 2009.
The Red Devils also proved that they are the best team in the state, winning their second state title in three years at Bedford Valley Golf Course. Grosse Ile fired a combined team score of 716 over two days, two shots better than Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian.
Flint Powers Catholic was third (722), Lansing Catholic fourth (731) and Kalamazoo Hacket fifth (760).
Lansing Catholic's Jacqueline Setas took first overall in the individual standings with a 150. She shot a 77 on the first day and an amazing 73 in the rain on Saturday.
Meanwhile, the Red Devils didn't have a player place in the top five. Senior Emily Bargardi shot an 83 on Friday and an 88 on Saturday to place seventh overall with a 171.
But remember, golf is a team sport. And the Red Devils' depth and overall consistency one through five is what allowed them to bring home the championship trophy.
Margaret Esordi (94,85) fired a 179 to place second for the Red Devils with teammate Katherine Kuzmiak (88, 92) only one shot behind with a 180.
Megan Moco (91, 96) fired a 187 and Katie Williams (101, 95) shot a 196 to finish off the championship scorecard.
"We were just our normal consistent self," said longtime Grosse Ile Coach Jim Bennett. "Emily shot an 83 on the first day and Katherine had an 88 as our two seniors really helped put us in good shape after the first day."
While Bargardi's second-day 88 is a great score, especially considering the conditions, it was still 13 shots behind North Pointe Christian's Monica Koert's 75 on Saturday. So the Red Devils had to make up those strokes throughout the lineup.
Enter Esordi, who shot a 94 on the first day but dropped nine strokes off her scorecard on the second day for an 85.
"She shot a 38 on the front nine and that was big for us," Bennett said. "Her 85 was a big key for us on Saturday."
What it did for Kuzmiak was help her relax a little bit.
"With five holes left, Coach Bennett came up to me and told me how everyone else was doing," said Kuzmiak. "When he told me that Margaret had a 38 on the front nine, I knew we were in good shape. It took some of the pressure off and allowed me to relax a little bit. Margaret really stepped up."
Another big factor was at the other end of the scorecard. Williams shot a 95 on Saturday, six shots better than she scored on Friday. But North Pointe's fifth golfer fired a 119 so Williams beat her by 24 strokes.
Remember, it's a team sport.
Bennett thought the Red Devils' biggest competition would come from Flint Powers. But they took themselves pretty much out of the race with a 377 on Friday, compared to Grosse Ile's 356 on the opening day.
Flint Powers shot a team-best 345 on Saturday, but it wasn't enough to overcome its slow start.
Grosse Ile was third in the state last year after winning a state title in 2011 – both in Division 3.
In 2010, they finished second after winning a state championship in 2009, both in Division 4.
Bargardi was on that state title team in 2011.
"I think since this is my senior year this one is a little more special," Bargardi said. "I just appreciate it a lot more this time because I know all the work that goes into it."
Bargardi's 83 really got the Red Devils off and rolling on Friday.
"The key on Friday was I was relaxed," she said. "I play a lot better when I'm relaxed. I was playing with a real nice group and that always helps calm me. I was focused and putted really well on Friday."
Saturday was a little different story.
"The weather was brutal," she said. "I've never played well in bad weather. I was really nervous because of the weather. We were in first place but I knew I still had to play well. I just wanted to break 90, which I did. But I played bad on the front nine and just told myself that I had to pick it up on the back nine."
Bargardi was proud of all her teammates.
"Margaret was great," she said. "Her 85 on Saturday made a huge difference. I was so proud of her. It's just an awesome feeling especially because everyone contributed."
Even Danielle Miles, who didn't even play, contributed to the win.
"She was our alternate and was out there pumping us up all weekend," Bargardi said. "If anyone got down, she was there to keep us focused. She was a big help."
Like Bargardi, Kuzmiak started strong.
"I played well on Friday," said the senior, who opened with an 88. "I felt good and I had a good feeling about the team. I just gained more confidence as the round went on.
"I like playing in the bad weather and Saturday was cold and rainy. But the course was tough. I just tried to stay focused and play my game and not lose confidence."
Kuzmiak also was proud of her teammates and this amazing accomplishment. While some people think Grosse Ile players are born at the country club with a golf club in their hands, the Red Devils earn their success the hard way
"We work really hard," Kuzmiak said. "We play all summer and we hit balls in the winter at indoor facilities. We have a great coach and we were well prepared and knew what we had to do."
And they went out and did it – again!
And they did it as a team.
Last Updated: 10/22/2013 2:24:48 PM EST