Freshman Arthur Ylitalo leads Northern Michigan University men’s golf team on 2nd day at GLIAC Championships

Northern Michigan University men’s golf freshman Arthur Ylitalo lines up a putt during the GLIAC Championships held in downstate Augusta this past weekend. (Photo courtesy NMU)

AUGUSTA — The Northern Michigan University men’s golf team couldn’t make up the 10 strokes it needed on the second day to advance to the team semifinals at the GLIAC Championships in men’s golf held at Stoatin Brae Golf Club in downstate Kalamazoo County.

Nevertheless, the nine conference teams got to play at Augusta — in Michigan — while pro male golfers were playing the Masters also over the weekend at Augusta — in Georgia.

The Wildcats remained in eighth place after posting a four-man total of 13-over-par 297 on Saturday, the fifth-best score that day, for a two-day total of 39-over 607. NMU missed the four-team cut to the semifinals by 18 strokes as the last team in was Saginaw Valley State with 21-over 589.

Freshman Arthur Ylitalo had the Wildcats’ best round Saturday with a even-par 71 that included three birdies and a 2-under 34 on the front nine.

“Great finish by Arthur as a freshman in his first GLIAC Championship,” Northern head coach Eric Johnson said. “Obviously we are disappointed in our finish, but we know we have the ability to be right there.

“Definitely a lot of positive things to build on for next year.”

Adding in his Friday round of 79, Ylitalo finished with an 8-over 150 to tie for 23rd, an 11-spot improvement from where he started Saturday.

NMU’s No. 1 overall scorer was senior Russel Sprecher, who tacked on a 4-over 75 Saturday that included one birdie, to go with his 2-over 73 on Friday for a 6-over-par 148 and a tie for 17th. He began the day tied for ninth.

Ylitalo’s brother Walter Ylitalo, a Northern junior, was the second-lowest shooting Wildcat on Saturday with 74 that included two birdies, and gave him a 10-over 152 total to tie for 25th.

Rounding out the Northern golfers were senior Eric Yun and Westwood High School graduate and NMU sophomore Tyler Annala as each shot a 6-over 77 on Saturday, Annala including three birdies in his round.

With his opening 80, Yun finished at 157 for a tie for 38th, exactly where he began the day, while Annala added in his Friday 84 for 161 and 44th place.

Over the two days that NMU participated, Northern played the par-5s at 8-under-par, second best to Grand Valley State, and recorded the fourth-most birdies with 19.

Sprecher, Annala and the Ylitalo brothers each played par-5s at 2-under, the fourth-best par-5 scoring in the field. Sprecher had 27 pars, second in the field, while Arthur Ylitalo had six birdies, only two shy of the field’s best of eight.

NMU finished 30 strokes ahead of ninth-place Lake Superior State, which posted team rounds of 323 and 314 for 637.

The Wildcats were also within five strokes of the two teams immediately ahead of them. Davenport was sixth with 302-300–602, while Purdue Northwest came in seventh with 305-300–605.

The other team just missing match play was fifth-place Wisconsin-Parkside (297-298–595), which was six strokes shy of Saginaw Valley.

Joining SVSU in making match play was No. 1 Grand Valley with each day’s low score of 282 Friday and 275 Saturday for 557 in all, 26 strokes ahead of runner-up Wayne State (300-283–583), and 29 on top of No. 3 Ferris State (290-296–586).

Individually, GVSU swept the top five places — Bryce Wheeler won medalist honors with rounds of 73 and 65 for 138, two strokes ahead of teammates and runners-up Drew Coble and Manuel Cue with 140 apiece. Coble had rounds of 71 and 69 and Cue had a pair of 70s.

First-round leader Nick Krueger finished fourth with 141 (69-72), while the Lakers’ Charlie Cooley was fifth with 143 (72-71).

In Saturday afternoon’s semifinals, which switched to individual matches to decide the team victory, Grand Valley downed Saginaw Valley 3-1-1 with Wheeler, Coble and Krueger prevailing and Cooley tying.

Ferris won the other semi 3-2 over Wayne State.

Then on Sunday, Ferris pulled off the upset by beating GVSU in the championship match, 3-0-2.

Information compiled by Journal Sports Editor Steve Brownlee. His email address is sbrownlee@miningjournal.net.


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