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Golf season recap, multiple awards and reflections on national tournament

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GRCC 2022 Men's Golf Team (Photo by Luis Fernandez)

The Grand Rapids Community College men’s golf team placed 18th in the country to finish their season at the NJCAA National Tournament.

They participated in the National Tournament for the fifth straight year; this year it was held at the Twin Hills Golf and Country Club in Joplin, Missouri.

After shooting three rounds, Arie Jackman led the GRCC team with a score of 236 strokes. Matt Denhartigh followed with 241 strokes. 

Conner Oman finished the third round with 249 while Brad VandenHout shot 251 and Sam Foss shot 259.

After the 11-hour drive back to Grand Rapids on May 20, the guys had some reflections. 

“It was really fun…I think that it helps us for next year, knowing what we need to do to get there (the National Tournament) and compete,” Foss said. “Even when I had some tough holes, I never really gave up and I focused on one shot at a time. That’s what the whole team does.”

“Hanging out with the guys for the week was a lot of fun, however the tournament aspect was not as good. I played poorly and didn’t make the cut for the final round,” Denhartigh wrote in a message to The Collegiate. “We battled hard in our last match and it was cool to see how proud we made coach over the year.”

Coach John Forton described the team’s experience at the tournament as outstanding overall.

“You have to be persistent with positive reinforcement and encouragement,” Forton said. “They’re a great group of guys, they persevered through a lot.”

Jackman was named MCCAA and Region XII medalist and received All-MCCAA and All-Region honors. He is signed with Central Michigan University to play in the 2022-2023 season. Jackman is Forton’s first Division 1 transfer during his eight-year coaching tenure at GRCC.

Denhartigh also earned All-MCCAA and All-Region honors after finishing in fourth place at the MCCAA/Region XII Tournament. He is headed to Aquinas College to play golf for the Saints.

“I’m super excited heading into my first year at Aquinas. I played very well in my last year at GRCC, and am hoping to bring that play into the fall season!” Denhartigh stated. 

Oman finished his first season as a Raider also as a member of the All-MCCAA team.

Looking toward next season, VandenHout, Foss, and Oman will return to play at GRCC, and Forton plans to add seven new recruits to the roster to form a team of 10 players.

“Conner is gonna be my captain,” Forton said. “I always say that we must outwork our competition, so it (next season) is gonna be a time to stress really getting better.”

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