Dowagiac wins school’s first regional championship

Published 10:09 pm Wednesday, May 31, 2023

MARSHALL — The Dowagiac golf team has a rich history that includes winning numerous league championships, including the inaugural Lakeland Conference title this year and a Division 3 District championship in 2011.

But until Wednesday afternoon, the Chieftains had never been able to call themselves regional champions.

That all changed at The Medalist Golf Club as Dowagiac rolled to the Division 3 title with a score of 347, which was 13 shots better than runner-up Olivet. Hillsdale finished third with 364.

Led by three players finishing in the top 10, the Chieftains are heading to Forest Akers East Golf Course on the campus of Michigan State University June 9-10.

Olivet’s Dawson Redfield grabbed medalist with a round of 82.

Right behind him were the Dowagiac duo of Dane Spagnoli and Abraham Guernsey, who shot 84 and 85, respective to place third and fifth. Travis Rehborg shot 87 to tie for ninth place.

“We had a blast,” said Dowagiac Coach Bob Turner. “You go into that thing thinking, I hope we qualify because I know we can. Honestly, after we shot what we did at conference, I was like, if the stars align, we could possibly pull this thing off. But really, qualifying was the main thing.”

Turner’s team on the drive to Marshall asked him what he felt it would take to win the regional championship. After about half the trip was completed, Turner finally gave his team an answer.

“I had looked up some of the other schools scores,” he said. “I thought about it for a while. Finally, I said 346 will win it. Now, what will it take to qualify, I am not positive, but I think 346 will win it.”

Turner said everyone played well Wednesday. Before the Lakeland Conference Tournament, Turner told his team that it was about tempo, not temper. It worked at their home course at Hampshire Country Club, and it worked again at The Medalist.

His team also had questions for the trip back to Dowagiac.

“Coach, when did you know we were going to win?” they asked. “Jason [assistant coach Turner] said, ‘the last hole.’ We could track it pretty close on the scoring app on our phones, and I was like, when you are up double digits with single-digit holes remaining, you start feeling better. I try not to look at it the first three or four holes because it varies so much because kids haven’t finished holes yet. So, when I looked at it and we were up, I said ‘this is good.’ Then when we are 12 holes in, and we are still leading, and it is growing a little bit at a time, I thought, alright, we definitely have a really good shot at qualifying, and this might actually happen [win the regional title]. When we get 16 holes in, Jason and I are like nervous wrecks. The kids were holding it today. It was just a really good day.”

Dowagiac will now add a regional championship to its 2011 District title.

The Chieftains shot 311 at Island Hills in Centreville to easily defeat runner-up Watervliet which shot 352.

Chris Craft led Dowagiac with a 73. The Chieftains also got a 78 from Max Howe, a 79 from Jordan Juday, an 81 from Cody Fairleigh and an 84 from Kyle Ward.

Buchanan finished 14th Wednesday with a 421. Aiden Mondschein led the Bucks with an 87.

Brandywine was 15th with a score of 454. Miles LeMere was the top finisher with a 103.