GOWEN — The Greenville Yellow Jackets girls golf team is returning to the Division 2 state finals for the fifth consecutive season.
The Yellow Jackets secured their spot with a third place finish on Thursday at the regional tournament at The Links of Bowen Lake. The host Yellow Jackets fired a 399, which was seven shots better than Forest Hills Northern’s 406 and nine shots better than Lowell’s 408.
“Top three, that’s all you have to do and we are good to go,” Greenville coach Nancy Johnson said. “It’s always nice to win, but getting there is what we are after. I’m so excited for the girls.”
Forest Hills Central earned the regional championship with a solid score of 350. Four-time Division 2 defending state champion Muskegon Mona Shores shot a 395 to finish in second place, just four shots ahead of the Yellow Jackets.
“This gives them the chance to finish really strong for the season,” Johnson said. “It’s been a progression all season long. Did we post the best possible score we could, no. We can do better and they know that, but we made it and that is all that matters today. That’s what we are celebrating.”
It’s been a up-and-down season for the Yellow Jackets. But this team, one without any seniors, is progressing and peaking at the right time.
“We are right in the place that we want to be,” Johnson said. “This is our fifth straight trip to the finals.”
Forest Hills Central’s Maddie Lorenz and Evon Shay tied for the individual regional championship with a round of 84. Mona Shores’ Rylee George was third with an 88 and Greenville’s Karli Didion was fourth with a 90.
“Karli (Didion) took fourth place in the field today,” Johnson said. “I’m super excited for her. That is a great accomplishment.”
Taylor Hansen shot 98 (10th overall) for Greenville. Amanda Kerschen shot 102 (15th), Drew Johnson 109 (38th) and Rylee Zayler 114 (44th) to round out the Greenville scoring.
The Yellow Jackets had the advantage of playing on their home course. Johnson relayed that to them prior to their round on Thursday.
“I told the girls today to be confident. We know this course,” Johnson said. “We know what to do. I told them to stay focused and be confident.”
The Division 2 state finals will take place on Oct. 18-19 at Forest Akers East in East Lansing.
Holland was seventh with 421 and followed by Jension (425), Northview (441) and Muskegon Reeths Puffer (443) to round out the top 10.