Golf: Pioneers finish eighth at Division 1 state finals; Melendez 10th overall

The Pioneer girls’ golf team fired an impressive final round to their successful season, which included an SEC title and a third-place finish at a very competitive Regional.  

The Pioneers shot a team score of 710 this weekend at the Division 1 state finals at Forest Akers West on the campus of Michigan State University. They shot a 352 on Friday and a 358 on Saturday to finish eighth in the state in D-1.

“I’m extremely happy,” said Pioneer Coach Bill Lyle. “We played a very difficult course in difficult cold conditions.”

Going into the season Lyle and the Pioneers’ goal was to beat last year’s 12th place finish at states.

“Anytime you can finish in the top 10, it’s a successful season,” says Lyle. “Eighth place out of 200-something teams overall in the state is something special.”

Northville, which won the Regional at The Links of Novi, carded a 646 to finish first. Grosse Pointe South (678) was a distant second followed by Plymouth (690), Grand Blanc (692), Okemos (692), Troy (701) and Rochester Adams (704).

Pioneer junior Amaya Melendez finished 10th overall with a 158 (77-81).

Others on the Pioneer scorecard were Mackenzie Rooney (90-92 – 182), Katie Liu (94-89 – 183), Sooah Jung (91-96 – 187) and Olivia Lyle (102-99 – 201).

“To have Amaya finish in the top 10 should give her confidence going into next year,” Lyle said. “I’m also extremely proud of Sooah, Katie and Olivia, my three senior captains (photo above) led by example, and I’m proud of them. They get to graduate and say they finished 12th and 8th in States over two consecutive years. It’s been a while since Pioneer had finishes this high in two consecutive years.”

Lyle is already anxious to tee it up again next year.

“I look forward to next year when we have three great players returning in Amaya, Mackenzie and Jillian and expect them to lead us back next year,” he said. “I’m so proud and happy for this team.”

Not only were the Pioneers good on the course, but gracious and understanding off the course as well. Junior Jillian Giordano was a perfect example of “understanding” this past weekend.

“I’m proud of Jillian,” Lyle said. “She played really well Friday in the first round but because we can only play five players each day, she showed leadership by being OK with me subbing her out so one my three captains could play her final round at states. So this team was a team, got along and each one showed sacrifice for the benefit of the team.”

Skyline’s Cammi Tirico was an individual qualifier for the Eagles and she had an excellent weekend at Forest Akers. Tirico shot a 92 on day one and an 87 on the second day for a 179.

Division 4

The Greenhills golf team fired a team score of 829 at the Division 4 Golf State Finals at Bedford Valley in Battle Creek. The Gryphons finished ninth. Grand Rapids NorthPointe Christian placed first overall with a score of 727.

Greenhills’ Aarushi Ganguly fired an 82-87 for a 169 to place fourth overall.

The rest of the Gryphons scorecard featured Euna Lee (99-99 – 198), Sabine Malik (105-106 – 211) and Aanya Seth (130-121 – 251).