Calumet boys, Houghton girls win Houghton Invite

Daver Karnosky/Daily Mining Gazette Houghton's Ben Strong watches his drive on the 18th tee during the Houghton Invite Tuesday at the Portage Lake Golf Course. Strong earned West-PAC Player of the Year honors.

HOUGHTON — The rain held off, but there was plenty of drama and some unexpected outcomes Tuesday afternoon during the Houghton Invite at the Portage Lake Golf Course.

When the final scores were tallied, the Calumet Copper Kings boys and the Houghton Gremlins girls both won the meet and the West-PAC titles.

The course itself was a challenge as the heavy rains of the past week left standing water throughout. It also meant that players could attack the pins — and several did. Hancock’s Trevor Tchida recorded a hole-in-one on the Par 3 15th hole en route to an 88.

The expectation throughout the day was that the medalist on the boys’ side was going to come down to a matchup between Houghton’s Ben Strong and Calumet’s Wyatt Tuoriniemi. Playing together, Strong out-dueled Tuorinieimi, finishing with a 77, thanks to a 34 on the back nine to open his day.

Strong, who earned West-PAC Player of the Year honors, was preparing for a playoff with Calumet’s Tyler Johnson — who had also posted a 77 — when teammate Jisung Choi, Houghton’s No. 2, came in with a carded 76.

“It feels great,” said Choi. “I was in shock that I came up and beat Ben.”

After playing the front nine twice last week at the Bulldog Invite, Choi was relieved to start on the back nine Tuesday.

“I think it was easier,” said Choi. “I think the back is a lot easier because it is more open and as difficult and tight.”

Houghton’s head coach Corey Markham has been impressed with how hard Choi has worked to bring his game up to the level of the rest of the area’s top performers.

“Jisung just keeps getting better and better as the year has gone on,” said Markham. “He’s out here nonstop and just puts in tons of time.”

With Choi’s 76 and Strong’s 77, Houghton’s top performers appeared poised to earn the victory, especially with George Butvilas’ 82 in the No. 3 spot.

That remained the case until Houghton’s No. 4, Avery Markham carded a 99. The Gremlins finished with a team total of 334.

The Copper Kings used Johnson’s 77 and Tuoriniemi’s 78 to start strong. Trevor Salata posted an 81 as the No. 4 and Andrew Escola came in with an 85 to give Calumet the victory with a score of 321.

Corey Markham was pleased with his top three performers, but feels he will need more from Avery Markham or Andrew Garland, who finished with a 125, if the Gremlins want to compete at the U.P. Finals for their fifth victory in the last six years.

“The bottom of our order has to get a little better, a little stronger,” said Corey. “I feel really confident in our top three, that we will have real consistent scores, but our fourth and fifth golfers have to do their best to break an 80 for us to be in contention.”

On the girls’ side, Kaaren Liston, the West-PAC Player of the Year, led the way for the Gremlins with an 84. She outlasted teammate Ellie Helman, who struggled to a 45 on the back nine, two strokes worse than Liston’s 43, en route to an 86.

Jillian Butvilas finished third with a 92, and Kaitlyn McKay posted a 97, which was the sixth-best score on the day as the Gremlins finished with a team score of 359, 17 strokes better than second-place Jeffers.

The Jets were paced by Julia Nordstrom, who posted a 95, good for fifth.

Hancock’s Payton Dube was the other golfer who broke into the top five with a 93, good for fourth.

The All-Conference teams were named at the conclusion of the tournament. For the boys, the Copper Kings were the top team. Four of Calumet’s five starters were named to the team: Tuoriniemi, Johnson, Salata and Landon Johnson.

Houghton had two on the team in Strong and Choi. They were joined by Trey Bociek from West Iron County, Tchida from Hancock and Mitch Borseth from Ontonagon.

The Houghton girls won the team title. All five starters — Liston, Helman, Butvilas, McKay and Lindsay Sandell — were named to the all-conference team.

The Jets had two girls, Nordstrom and Alexis Bailey, named to the team, along with Hancock’s Dube and Ontonagon’s Belle Lutz.


Teams: 1, Calumet, 321; 2, Houghton, 334; 3, West Iron County, 343; 4, Chassell, 358; 5, Ontonagon, 366; 6, Lake Linden-Hubbell, 405; 7, Jeffers, 409; 8, Dollar Bay, 414

Top 10: 1, Choi, HHS, 76; 2t, Strong, HHS, 77; 2t, Johnson, CHS, 77; 4, Tuoriniemi, CHS, 78; 5, Salata, CHS, 81; 6t, Butvilas, HHS, 82; 6t, Noah Thomson, WIC, 82; 8, Pietila, CTS, 83; 9, Bociek, WIC, 84; 10, Eskola, CHS, 85

CALUMET: Johnson, 77; Tuorinieimi, 78; Salata, 81; Eskola, 85

HOUGHTON: Choi, 76; Strong, 77; Butvilas, 82; Markham, 99

WEST IRON COUNTY: Thomson, 82; Bociek, 84; Berlinski, 88; Nelson, 89

CHASSELL: Pietila, 83; Tervo, 90; Rautiola, 92; Warren, 93

ONTONAGON: Olszewski, 86; Rule, 93; Menigoz, 93; Borseth, 94

LAKE LINDEN: Larson, 92; Sutherland, 96; Butkonen, 105; Solmonson, 112

JEFFERS: Nordstrom, 93; B. Therrian, 104; H. Therrian, 104; Dunstan, 108

DOLLAR BAY: A. Janke, 99; Schmitz, 101; LeClaire, 104; J. Janke, 110

L’ANSE: Koskinen, 87; Mantila, 115; Hebert, 115

HANCOCK: Tchida, 88; Mallow, 116; Lorenzetti, 132


Teams: 1, Houghton, 359; 2, Jeffers, 416; 3, Ontonagon, 435; 4, Calumet, 457; 5, West Iron County, 507

Top 10: 1, Liston, HHS, 84; 2, Helman, HHS, 86; 3, Butvilas, HHS, 92; 4, Dube, HCH, 93; 5, Nordstrom, JHS, 95; 6, McKay, HHS, 97; 7, S. Lutz, 101; 8t, B. Lutz, 104; 8t, Bailey, JHS, 104; 10, Rajala, JHS, 105

HOUGHTON: Liston, 84; Helman, 86; Butvilas, 92; McKay, 97

JEFFERS: Nordstrom, 95; Bailey, 104; Rajala, 105; Asiala, 15

ONTONAGON: S. Lutz, 101; B. Lutz, 104; Picotte, 114; Rule, 116

CALUMET: Langley, 109; Anderson, 113; Erkkila, 115; Gronlund, 120

WEST IRON COUNTY: Wiegard, 109; Malmquist, 119; Kemppainen, 137; Grubbs, 142

DOLLAR BAY: Iacono, 141; Beaudoin, 145; Maxson, 156

HANCOCK: Dube, 93; Lorenzetti, 128

CHASSELL: Hietala, 106

IRONWOOD: Anderson, 147


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