By Nelson Hubbell
Stuck in the middle of the pack, the Grand Rapids Community College Raiders golf team finished eighth at the Heritage Hill Collegiate in Shepherdsville shooting a 657 which was 12 strokes back from the top five and 81 above par.
Saturday, March 26, was the first day of the tournament and the weather was a doozy. Wind gusts peaked at 30 mph and temperatures were in the 40s. Just about every golfer in the competition performed worse on the first day compared to the second where the wind was mostly a non-factor.
“They need to realize that this competition is pretty high level, and they have, especially in these tournaments we play in against four year schools,” said GRCC’s head coach John Forton. “I’m looking for them to build on each and every time they go out because when we get to the conference season we need one of them to produce for us to do anything in the MCC. We’re working in that direction. We haven’t had a lot of time to practice so we’re just trying to get them consistent and get them acclimated to college golf which they’ve done pretty well at so far.”
Redshirt-freshman Matt Denhartigh led the way for GRCC with a score of 157, swinging a 73 (good enough to tie for third) on the second day. Denhartigh was ten strokes behind first place and four strokes from tying for fifth among 60 golfers.
“It’s his third year now here at GRCC,” Forton said. “He works real hard at it and he’s been the consummate team player. He’s gotta step up and play good golf in order for us to do well and he did that this weekend.”
The next closest GRCC golfer was redshirt-freshman Arie Jackman, tied for twenty-second at 161, which was 17 strokes from par.
Rounding out the five-man rotation, the rest of the Raiders’ squad finished with freshman Connor Oman at 38th place (168), freshman Sam Foss tied at 47th (172), and freshman Brad VandenHout tied at 54th (181).
As the weather gets gradually warmer the Raiders travel to competitions that are further and further north before conference play. To date they’ve had tournaments in Alabama and Kentucky, and will be appearing at the Ancilla College Invite on Monday, April 4 in Plymouth, Indiana.