Taking on a bigger role
Houghton’s Liston, Butvilas learning to lead; Calumet boys win at Portage Lake
HOUGHTON — After a strong showing in a win at the Calumet Invite on Monday, the Houghton Gremlins girls were right back at it on Tuesday, earning another victory at the Bulldog Invite at the Portage Lake Golf Course. The Gremlins were paced by medalist Kaaren Liston, who bounced back from a rough outing Monday with an 81, helping the team to a score of 363.
On the boys’ side, the Calumet Copper Kings posted three in the Top 8 to earn the team victory by just edging the Gremlins, 329-332.
The Gremlins girls may not have earned the headlines the boys have the last few seasons, but they have been quietly very strong. That tradition is continuing with Liston and Jillian Butvilas leading the way.
Liston, who shot 46 at Calumet, felt there was one area of her game that she wanted to improve Tuesday, and with a small change, it came together for her.
“I just wasn’t hitting my driver well [Monday],” said Liston. “I wanted to make sure I got to the range and got my driver going well before my round.
“I was making my putts, which was nice, but I got off the tee. Those are two things that you really need [to be successful].”
Liston who, along with the rest of the girls, played the back nine twice due to concerns about the potential for rain, improved her score from the first nine to the second by posting a 43 before following with a 38.
Liston has also taken on an expanded role for head coach Ruth Ryynanen’s team, which has been a change for her, but a challenge she gladly accepts.
“I’ve always been the baby on the team,” said Liston. “So, it has been a transition. All the girls are nice and stepping into that leadership role; it just fits. All the girls blend well together, so it’s been good.”
She was joined in the top five by teammates Ellie Helman (third), Butvilas (fourth), and Kaitlyn McKay (fifth). Butvilas, who lost a playoff for medalist Monday to Hancock’s Payton Dube, carded a pair of 47s to finish with a score of 94.
As a senior, Butvilas has embraced the role of leader alongside Liston, giving Houghton the type of scoring depth it needs to be successful.
“We are a team,” said Ryynanen. “A lot of times, people think that golf is an individual sport. You can see that Houghton, this year, has a really strong team overall and they are really supportive of each other.”
After just making the U.P. Finals last season, Butvilas dedicated her concentration to golf over the summer and into the spring, and her hard work has not gone unnoticed by her coach.
“Jillian, this year, has really stepped up to the plate,” said Ryynanen. “She has really improved her game.
“As soon as she was able, she was out here. She was hitting balls on the driving range. She was chipping, she was putting. She was heading to the other courses in the U.P. that were open… Because of that, she was ready when the actual golf season started. She was ready to play.”
Dube was just one shot back after the first nine with a 44, but struggled to keep pace with Liston on the second nine, shooting 45 to finish with a total of 89, which was good for second.
The Copper Kings boys were paced by Wyatt Turoniemi, who shot 41 on his first nine before improving to 38 on his second for a total of 79, good for third overall.
Two more Copper Kings finished in the top eight. Tyler Johnson shot 80 to place fourth while Trevor Salata posted a 37 and followed that up with a 46 for an 83, good for eighth.
Houghton had the top two finishers in Ben Strong (77), and Jisung Choi (78), but did not have another finisher in the Top 14.
Top 10: 1, Liston, HHS, 81; 2, Dube, HCH, 89; 3, Helman, HHS, 83; 4, Butvilas, HHS; 5, McKay, HHS, 96; 6, Bailey, JHS, 97; 7, B. Lutz, OAHS; 8, C. Rajala, 106; 9t, Sandell, HHS, 108; 9t, Nordstrom, JHS, 108.
HOUGHTON (363): Liston, 81; Helman 92; Butvilas, 94; McKay, 96; Sandell, 109
JEFFERS (425): Bailey, 97; C. Rajala, 106; Nordstrom, 108; Asiala, 114; G. Rajala, 116
ONTONAGON (446): B. Lutz, 99; S. Lutz, 110; Picotte, 116; Rule, 121; Bobula, 131
CALUMET (474): Gronlund, 111; Anderson, 113; Langley, 117; Larson, 133
WEST IRON COUNTY (560): Wiegand, 113; Kemppainen, 132; Grubbs, 151; Stapleton, 164
DOLLAR BAY (568): Lahikainen, 127; Busser, 129; Beaudoin, 155; Maxson, 157; Cavis, 161
WESTWOOD: DeAugustine, 123
HANCOCK: Dube, 89; Lorenzetti, 135
IRONWOOD: Anderson, 122; Bastman, 142; Tiziani, 158
Top 10: 1, Strong, HHS, 77; 2, Choi, 78; 3, Turoniemi, CHS, 79; 4, T. Johnson, CHS, 80; 5t, Tchida, HCH, 81; 5t, Thomson, WIC, 81; 7, Pattison, LHS, 82; 8, Salata, CHS, 83; 9, Pietila, CTS, 84
CALUMET (329): Turoniemi, 79; T. Johnson, 80; Salata, 83; Eskola, 87; L. Johnson, 92
HOUGHTON (332): Strong, 77, Choi, 78; Butvilas, 88; Markham, 89; Garland, 115
WEST IRON COUNTY (352): Thomson, 81; Bociek, 86; Quayle, 90; Berlinski, 95; Williams, 95
ONTONAGON (359): Borseth, 88; Menigoz, 88; Olszewski, 91; Rule, 92; Polakowski, 99
WESTWOOD (367): Mason, 85; Sweeney, 85; Junak, 96; Bjorne, 101; Carr, 102
CHASSELL (379): N. Pietila, 84; Tervo, 90; Warren, 98; Rautiola, 107; D. Pietila, 137
L’ANSE (389): Pattison, 82; Koskinen, 86; Lake, 104, Mantila, 117; Hebert, 129
JEFFERS (396): Nordstrom, 93; Heinonen, 95; Therrian, 103; Turner, 105; Dunstan, 106
LAKE LINDEN (414): Sutherland, 91; Larson, 97; Dudenas, 109; Tuovila, 117; Butkonen, 125
HANCOCK: Tchida, 81; Lorenzetti, 122; Mallow, 125