A week after setting a new school record with a five-under round of 66 at Briar Hill Golf Course in Fremont, the junior tied for medalist honors with Spring Lake teammate David Bonter on Tuesday at Oakridge Golf Club with a 2-over par 38, helping the Lakers win back-to-back Lakes Eight Conference Jamborees. The Lakers were also victorious on Monday at Spring Lake Country Club in a make-up match.
With their strong start to the season, Spring Lake has leaped to the No. 1 ranking in Division 2, according to the Michigan Interscholastic Golf Coaches Association. It’s the first time Spring Lake has been ranked No. 1 in George Bitner’s 40-plus years as head coach of the program.
“I never expected it to happen. I guess someone knows more about this team than I do,” Bitner joked.
That type of opportunity was the reason Fry made the switch from one Lakes Eight school to another.
“I transfered my sophomore year. Golf was the reason,” said the slender 6-foot-5 Fry, who wore thick black gloves on a day where tempratures only reached the low 40s on the course. “I connected with Coach Bitner from the get-go. Spring Lake had a good team and OV was falling off the map. I didn’t want to be a part of that.”
Fry, who’s known for his long drives, said he was concerned after a shaky start on the range prior to the jamboree. But he was steady through nine holes, turning in just two bogeys — on his “two least favorite holes,” No. 2 and No. 9.
During his record round at Fremont, Fry said he only reached about “four or five greens,” but the development of other areas in his game helped him thrive.
“My chipping was great that day,” he said. “It seemed like every chip was within two feet of the hole.”
After two jamborees, Spring Lake now holds a 22-stroke lead over runner-up Ludington. On Tuesday, the Lakers finished with a team score of 158, followed by the Orioles’ 173. Tri-County was third with a 178, while Fremont (184), Grant (192), Newaygo (195), Fruitport (206), and Orchard View (209) made up the rest of the pack.
Bitner said if Spring Lake is to break into the state finals this season, it will need four strong scores. The Lakers received that Tuesday, as John Vanderlaan and Erik Johnson each carded a 41. Sophomore Henry McGannon, who was the team’s top scorer on Monday with a 38, struggled with his short game and settled for a 44.
“Henry reached the first three greens in regulation, but he three-putted every one,” Bitner said. “Sometimes that just happens. But when it does, we have others pick it up. We’re five deep this year, which helps.”
Fruitport, which competes in the Muskegon City Tournament today, was led on Tuesday by Colton Blanchard with a 48.
Bryce Austin shot a 51, Tyler Sparks added a 53 and Jamie Little finished with a 54.
Spring Lake and Fruitport will battle at the Orchard View-hosted Lakes Eight jamboree next Wednesday.