Bulldogs gain WestPAC ground

CALUMET?- Individual medalists Reese Lassila and Megan Kelly were in agreement.

The best path for success at the Calumet Golf Club is to attack the pin on every hole, hopefully giving yourself some breathing room on a set of tricky greens that run fast with some awkward slopes.

Lassila nailed it, scoring a one-under 35 to win the 9-hole Calumet Invitational and Kelly did “just enough” in her words to pull apart from the field with a 45 Thursday afternoon. The Houghton girls easily recorded their second win in two days with a 197 while Hancock paced a competitive boys field with a 164 total.

“I just missed two greens today, so that really was the key for me,” Lassila, who also medaled at Portage Lake Golf Course Thursday, said. “I was just hitting greens. And then the one time I got up and down and the other and the other I didn’t.”

“The greens here are really fast, so if you can, you have to keep it close to the pin,” Kelly added. “So give yourself some short putts because the greens here are big. It wasn’t quite what I did today, but it was improvement.”

With the final WestPAC meet today at Portage Lake – where all teams played Wednesday as well – the plan of attack will remain the same for Lassila and Kelly.

L’Anse’s Tristan Leaf (36) and Hancock’s Kyle Hauswirth (37) were nipping at Lassila’s heels Thursday, while Kelly will be challenged by teammate Kenna Farrey and L’Anse’s Alyssa Norback. So hitting greens at a high rate will be key with everything on the line with the final conference meet of this abbreviated season.

“I need to get even lower (today) with my score,” Kelly said. “(Norback) from L’Anse, she is good. She made me run yesterday and I got her, but it was nerve wracking. So I just need to concentrate on winning that head to head.”

“You have to hit greens. You have to,” Lassila said. “And if you don’t hit greens you have to get up and down. Portage has some tight holes so it can be tricky. If I play the way I have been, that will be great.”

Besides the greens, the unseasonable cold proved to be the biggest obstacle Thursday.

With temperatures in the high-30s and low 40s for most of the afternoon and a biting wind for kicks, Lassila said focusing on the ball and his swing was the best way to block out the conditions.

“You just have to battle through it, because everyone has to play in these conditions,” Lassila said. “And unfortunately we should be used to it by now with the terrible weather we have been having.”

With Houghton enjoying a pair of team victories this season, the Bulldog boys were able to grab their first ‘W’ thanks to some consistent scores across the board. Tanner Kearly shot a solid 40 to support Hauswirth’s 37 and Matt Sanregret and Dylan Paavola backed up the top two with a respectable 43 and 44, respectively.

The Houghton boys, meanwhile, went from first Wednesday to fourth (of four) Thursday with a 177 total, demonstrating just how tightly grouped the WestPAC boys are.

“It is hard to golf when it is this cold, it doesn’t matter who you are, it is just hard,” Houghton girls’ coach Corey Markham remarked after the meet.