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Through heather and fog

Duncan MacLean • Sep 11, 2018 at 11:24 PM

ALLENDALE — A heavy blanket of fog covered The Meadows Golf Course on Tuesday, as the O-K Red Conference assembled for their midseason invitational.

With 25 percent of the league title on the line and a busy afternoon planned for the golf course, there was no interest in delaying the start time. With visibility near zero, the Grand Haven girls golf team took to the fairways hoping to move into fourth place in the league with a defeat of Grandville.

The weather eventually cleared, but the Bucs’ game stayed murky as they finished fifth overall with a total score of 405 strokes. Grandville finished in fourth at 400, behind Rockford (375), Hudsonville (364) and Caledonia (361). West Ottawa (440) and East Kentwood (469) rounded out the competition.

Highlighting the fifth-place effort was Caydee Constant, who turned in Grand Haven’s best score of 94 strokes to earn a 10th-place medal.

Camryn Constant followed with a score of 101, just ahead of Ally Kingma at 104 and Jamie Gretzinger at 106. Whitney Engelsma and Lilja Plumert rounded out the Bucs’ lineup at 127 and 132.

“I’m definitely happy with the way they played today,” said Grand Haven head coach Roger Glass. “Caydee especially played great. We just have to limit our blow-up holes. We will be moving along, playing fine and then turn in a 10, that is what kills us.

“It was a tough morning with the fog and losing balls, but they pushed through. Overall, I’m pleased. We are getting better.”

The Constant sisters stole the show Tuesday, marking a turning point in what could be a breakout season for the pair. After spending two years away from the game, Caydee and Camryn are rapidly rising to the top of Grand Haven’s depth chart.

“They played a lot of golf in their younger years, but they moved up from Florida two years ago and haven’t played since,” Glass said. “They are just getting the rust off their games, so I know they are going to be better and better.

“Caydee was just striking the ball really well today. Every time I was watching her, I never saw her hit an off shot. She had a few eights on par 4s, otherwise, I thought she was going to shoot in the 80s, that’s what it looked like.”

“My drive definitely carried the round,” Constant said of her medal performance. “I definitely still need to work on my putting, but that’s that.

“The fog wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be when we started, because everyone was helping us find our balls. It didn’t distract me too much.”

As for the rest of the team, their watermark was a little high in their second of three visits to the Meadows. Come season’s end, the Bucs will take on their Division 1 regional meet there, making mastering the course and its tough borders a must.

Tuesday, the course’s trademark heather hazards were played as a lost ball, rather than a lateral hazard, as they were in their first go-round earlier this season. The rule variation drastically increased the difficulty of a few tee shots.

“The tough conditions, with the fog and the heather today, made the difference,” Glass said. “Ball-striking wise, we are playing a lot better than we were at the beginning of the season, but we were one stroke worse than our last outing here.”

“The long grass is really hard to hit out of and today playing it as a re-hit added a lot of distance to a few holes,” Kingma said. “If you do put it in, instead of hitting three from where it goes in, you are hitting three from the tee box. That makes things hard.”

“We’ve got a month yet before the regional,” Glass added. “We will just keep working to improve.

“It will be tough to make it out of the region as a team. Traverse City West is a juggernaut, Rockford, Hudsonville and Caledonia are all there. It will be tough.

“Individually, I know my top four girls are capable of shooting in the 80s if they have a good day, we just have to keep working.”

Now firmly fifth in the O-K Red standings, after finishing in the same position in the first conference event of the year, the Bucs will return to the course Thursday for the Grandville jamboree.

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