Houghton boys, Negaunee girls win Hancock Invite

The Houghton High School boys golf team poses after winning at the Hancock Invitational on Thursday, May 12, 2022, at Portage Lake Golf Course in Houghton, Mich. (Eddie O’Neill/The Daily Mining Gazette)

HOUGHTON — Houghton boys won the Hancock Invitational on Thursday at Portage Lake Golf Course.

The Gremlins carded a 167. The Negaunee girls won with a 173.

Westwood boys and girls took second place with a 173 and 216, respectively.

Calumet boys took third with a score of 176.

West Iron Countygirls took third at 235.

Twelve boys teams and seven girls teams competed in the event.

On the boys’ side Tyler Annala, of Westwood, placed first with a score of 38. Chad Nordstrom, of Hancock, finished second with a score of 40. Ryan Vlahos, of Houghton, came in third with a score of 40 as well.

On the girls’ side Negaunee’s Rachel Niskanen shot an impressive 37 for first place. Behind her were Madyson Pantti, of Ontonagon, with a score of 47 and Kina Salmela, of Negaunee, posted a 49.

Niskanen said her off-season workout routine keyed her success Thursday.

“I did a workout routine called Par4Success two or three times a week,” she said. “I know that helped my driving game today, and my putting was right on, and better. I was setting my self up pretty good with some strong chips that led to tap-ins for par. My short game was strong.”

The coaches were glad to finally be outside playing after long hours of driving golf balls into nets indoors.

“We were finally able to get out on our course this week,” said Houghton Gremlins’ girls’ head coach Julie Antilla.

Portage is Houghton’s home course, which opened play on holes on Monday. The Gremlins have eight girls and 12 boys on the team this year.

“We won our first meet in Baraga (L’Anse golf course) on April 28, but it was a bitter cold one,” Antilla said. “This is a welcomed warmer day.”

On the Gremlins’ boys’ side of the tee box , head coach Corey Markham said he is looking to reclaim the MHSSA U.P. golf title. They won the title in 2019 and were runners up a year ago. The finals are set for June 1-4 at Sage Run Golf Course in Bark River. His top three golfers are Vlahos, Marino Pisani and Camden Markham. All three, he said, have good experience.

“We have a decent team we will be in contention this year,” he said.


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