The Bucs struggled through blistering winds at Macatawa Legends Golf Club as they took on their third O-K Red Conference jamboree of the season, hosted by West Ottawa. Grand Haven finished tied for sixth at the back of the pack with a total score of 218.
East Kentwood carded equal with the Bucs, while West Ottawa finished fifth at 211, Rockford fourth at 209, East Kentwood third with a 178, Hudsonville second at 180, and Caledonia taking top honors with a score of 178.
“We had a couple blow-up holes, with compounding problems on problems,” Grand Haven head coach Roger Glass said. “The girls get down on themselves when they start out with a bad hole. The conditions definitely played into it, so it was a tough day for them.”
The performance was below the standards of this years squad, who sit in fifth place overall through their first half of the season.
“Usually we are third or fourth, but those top two, Caledonia and Hudsonville, they outclass us and most of the league,” Glass continued. “It is a battle for the middle for us.”
Bekah Schrader paced the Bucs individually, carding a 46 to lead the team, while Audrey Reus followed with a 49. Alex Kingma and Jamie Grentzinger turned in above-average scores of 60 and 63, respectively.
“Schrader is still in the top 10 in the conference, Reus had a tough outing last week, but came back nicely and Kingma and Grentzinger have played better than those scores.” Glass said. “We just had some bad decisions today, bad decisions and bad management.
“When you go from a bogey to a quadruple bogey and back to bogey, that is the stuff we have to work on. Consistency and moving on from that.”
Schrader, though, was less than thrilled with her score. Being a member at Macatawa Legends, she expected to be able to handle the adverse conditions.
“I had three 3-putts and the last hole didn’t go well,” she said. “The wind definitely affected the round, but I’m used to it. It wasn’t anything new, but it’s not always this windy. But, it is going the same way, so I know how to play it.”
Schrader’s 46 left her two strokes outside of the top five for the day.
The conclusion of the West Ottawa jamboree marks the midway point of the golf season. Each O-K Red team will host a nine-hole competition over the course of the year, to go with with a midseason and postseason 18-hole event.
The seven combined nine-hole rounds count for half of the eventual final conference standings, while each of the 18-hole rounds count for one quarter of the standings, raising the stakes when the conference meets at the Meadows Golf Club on Sept. 12.
“That will be the first 18-hole O-K Red event,” Glass said. “The Meadows is another tough course, there is lots of long grass again. It is a tough track for them.”
Preparation is paramount for the high-stakes round, but Glass and the Bucs like to keep things cool, focusing on the tough mental side of the game.
“I don’t think the girls put pressure on themselves. We played 18-holes at a few tournaments early in the season, so we will work on just making good decisions, trying to play away from trouble and avoiding blow-up holes,” Glass said. “A lot of the problems should be easy to fix. We will be there by the end of the season.”
Following next week’s midseason competition, the Bucs have four more jamborees before the all-important conference championship and a potential trip into the postseason.