There’s nothing like being prepared to build confidence.
“We had a real good mindset coming in,” said De La Salle senior captain Collin Urbas after the Pilots took first place in the Division 1 golf regional Wednesday at Twin Lakes Golf Club.
“We had a lot of confidence that we could come in here and win this thing and make it to states. We’ve had a lot of practice out here. Coach has spent a lot of time getting us out here to give us some confidence to do what we did today.”
Coach Doug McKay’s Pilots posted a team score of 304, edging Catholic League rival U-D Jesuit by two strokes. Grosse Pointe South grabbed the third state qualifying spot with a 310.
Birmingham Seaholm (312) and Fraser (315) just missed qualifying for the state meet June 9 and 10 at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. The top three teams and the top three individuals from non-qualifying teams advance to the state meet.
The three individual qualifiers meet were Trevor Grabowski of Fraser and Nate Bloom of Seaholm with 73s and Seaholm’s Luke Deighan, who shot 77 and earned the final qualifying spot in a playoff with Grant Libstaff of Fraser.
De La Salle was assigned to a different regional than in previous years but that didn’t faze the Pilots.
“Our goal was top three,” McKay said. “I’m proud of my team to get moved to a region that’s foreign to us and come in and win. We knew South, U-D and Seaholm would be good. We just tried to control what we could control.”
Two of De La Salle’s younger players led the way at the regional. Sophomore Max Teschendorf shot a 70 to earn medalist honors and freshman Troy Nguyen, who had the low score at last week’s Macomb County Invitational, tied for second with 73.
“I started on 18 and was one over through two after a three-putt on number one but I pulled through,” said Teschendorf, who had four birdies in his round. “I was one under on the back (nine). My coach helped me through it. He walked with me most of the round. He’s a great coach.”
McKay said he didn’t provide much deep golf strategy while following Teschendorf. It was more a matter of keeping him relaxed.
“It was ‘how was the weekend? Did you have fun at the cabin? How’s school going?’ Everything but golf,” McKay said. “When it was time to hit his shot then we talked yardage, wind and things like that..”
Urbas shot 80 and Colton Fuqua had 81 to round out the De La Salle scoring.
The Pilots will be prepared for the state meet too.
“We had a practice round out there about a week ago,” Urbas said. “I think the toughest part (of the course) is the greens. They’re really sloped and really fast. That’s going to be a tough test.”
Urbas played in last year’s state meet and is thankful for the experience.
“I learned to handle the pressure a little better,” he said. “There’s definitely a lot of nerves being in the state finals but it helped me to handle the nerves of tournament golf. It’s a great experience.”
Qualifying for the state meet was the highlight of a difficult season for U-D Jesuit.
“It’s been a tough year for these guys so they should be really happy to go to the state finals,” said coach Paul Diehl. “We had a disappointing Catholic League championship but they moved on from that.
“Everybody broke 80 today. We’ve struggled all year to come together. Yesterday’s practice round was the first time I’ve said they’re ready to go.”
Michael Shubeck led the Cubs with a 78, but Aidan Treharne (76), Sam Robinson (77) and Brandon Pricer (78) were close behind.
Grosse Pointe South kept its long streak alive of qualifying for the state meet.
“We’re going again,” said Blue Devils coach Rob McIntyre. “We’ve gone every year since 2011. That’s a lot of pressure. There’s high expectation when you have a streak like that and they work really hard to meet that expectation.
“I feel the guys did a great job, because 310 is a good score, especially out here today. We have some leaders on the team — Brennan Sullivan, Evan Brown and Thomas Ciconte — but it’s a team effort. You don’t with win your one and two, you win with three, four and five.”
Sullivan led South with a 74, Brown shot 76 and Ciconte came in with a 77. An 83 by Corbin Ifkovits completed the Blue Devils’ scoring.