Negaunee Miners’ Rachel Niskanen medalist for MHSAA Upper Peninsula Finals in Division 1 girls golf, Marquette’s Abigail Luke scores rare hole-in-one

ABIGAIL LUKE MSHS golfer attains rare hole-in-one

HARRIS — There’s a first time for everything.

That old saying certainly proved true Wednesday afternoon during the MHSAA Upper Peninsula Division 1 Finals in girls golf at the steamy Sage Run Golf Course.

The firsts? A U.P. championship for Kingsford High School and a hole-in-one for Marquette junior Abigail Luke.

Not a first was Negaunee’s Rachel Niskanen repeating as this event’s medalist after she shot 92 for a seven-stroke victory.

The Flivvers took home the team trophy for the first time in school history by topping the 11-school leaderboard with 412 strokes, seven clear of second-place Escanaba’s 419 and 22 ahead of third-place Negaunee, which had 434.

Marquette was a close fourth with 437, while Westwood was ninth with 544.

It was a dream come true, said Kingsford junior Bryonna Sanders, who was the individual runner-up after shooting 99.

“It feels pretty awesome,” Sanders said. “We came out here (Tuesday for practice) and we put out a full effort. I think with our team spirit and pushing each other, we did pretty well.

“I didn’t really have a game plan, but I went off with my 9-hybrid on every hole…. My driver wasn’t hitting it today. Just have to wing it, and golf does its thing!”

Luke’s hole-in-one came midway through the front nine.

“It’s crazy,” Luke said. “I was really upset about my last couple holes, but then I made a hole-in-one.

“It was just tears of joy. I haven’t done it before. I was 99 yards away, and so I took my 50-degree (club) which I knew could go 95. And then I rolled it in.

“I could see it right from where I was! I was speechless when it happened.”

Luke finished with 101, which tied her for fourth with Marquette’s Abigail Luke and Escanaba’s Kamrie Scott.

Finishing just in front of that group in third place was another Redette, Addy Saunders with 100.

But it was the Miners’ Niskanen who led them all with one of only two sub-100 rounds as her 92 could only be compared to Sanders’ 99.

Nevertheless, Niskanen has some exacting standards that she feels she didn’t meet out on the course on Wednesday. Maybe not surprising considering she routinely shot rounds in the 70s and 80s all spring long.

“Honestly, it was a really rough day out there for me,” Niskanen said. “I was having a hard time hitting my irons, and it was probably one of the worst rounds of my whole spring season. But I mean, a win’s a win, I guess.

“I had a lot of fun with Negaunee golf. They do a really good job, putting on tournaments. Overall, I shot pretty well this season, mostly pars and birdies. But today was just a rough day.”

Kingsford had three of the top 10 individual finishers, with Grace Maki (tied for sixth, 102) and Ella Rizzo (tied for 10th, 105) joining Sanders near the top of the leaderboard.

For area golfers, the next finisher from each school was Negaunee’s Josie Smith with 110, Marquette’s Lexi Smith with 111 and Westwood’s Allyana Grochowski and Clara Kruger each with 128.

Jack Hall is based out of the Escanaba area and reports for the Radio Results Network. He wrote this account of the U.P. finals for the Michigan High School Athletic Association’s website at www.mhsaa.com.


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