LAKEVIEW — Lakeview senior Jon Wandel is a legitimate state championship contender.
Wandel will compete Friday and Saturday in the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) Division 3 state golf finals at The Meadows at Grand Valley State University. Wandel qualified as an individual with rounds of 78 at districts and 77 at regionals.
Wandel’s 77 at regionals tied him with three others for match medalist honors. In fact, of all state final qualifiers, only 10 shot a better regional score than Wandel. Lansing Catholic’s Brent Marshall had the low regional round of 73.
“Jon had a great senior season. He served notice to the league that he was determined this year by opening up the season with a 75 at Tullymore,” Lakeview coach Brian Corwin said. “He continued his strong play with runner up finishes at the Lakeview Invitational and the Greenville Invitational. He also had a top 10 finish at the Cardinal Invitational in Big Rapids.”
It was a different approach to the game that has put Wandel among the best in the state.
“I’ve been going out practicing, playing and taking notes and realizing the spots I could miss a shot or where I could get away with a shot,” Wandel said. “That has helped me out in the long run and to the point I’m at right now.”
The approach definitely helped Wandel out at regionals where he struggled with some clubs. His putter, though, was working just fine.
“I didn’t hit the ball really well. I just stuck to the things I knew and stepped back and said these are the most consistent clubs I have,” Wandel said. “My putter was working and that became clutch. I needed the putter.
“To be honest I should have shot a 73 or 74. There were a lot of shots left out there. I made the putts I should have made. In all, it was a solid round, but one that should have been a few shots better,” he added.
In all, 15 teams (five golfers for each team) and 15 individuals qualified for the state finals.
On Wednesday, Wandel planned to play a practice round at The Meadows.
“I look for Jon to continue his consistent play in the state finals this weekend. He has had some very productive practices this week, working on all aspects of his game,” Corwin said. “The Meadows should suite Jon’s game very well and I look for him to compete with the best in the state in Division 3.”
Scoring the way he has means Wandel can hit pretty much everything in his bag but he says he is best with his irons.
“From 150 yards in, I can pretty much put the ball where I want to,” Wandel said. “My long irons are coming around this year.”
There is a fine line between success and failure in the game of golf. The requires skill with the clubs and confidence in yourself to make the shots needed.
Wandel has the skill and definitely the confidence.
“I’m not trying to get a head of myself. I feel pretty confident going down,” Wandel said. “I don’t see myself being outside of the top 10. I’m very excited and have been looking forward to this since last year.”
Wandel won’t be finished golfing after this weekend as he has signed to play at the next level for Rochester College.
Division 3 State Final Qualifiers
Jackson Lumen Christ 309
Lansing Catholic 309
GR South Christian 317
Flint Powers Catholic 323
Grosse Ile 327
St. Charles 328
GR West Catholic 336
Macomb Lutheran North 340
Individual qualifiers, score
Timmy Janis, 76 Tawas Area
Colin McGinnis, 76 NorthPointe Christian
Nick Ludka, 77 Saginaw Nouvel
Michael Mayberry, 77 Flat Rock
Jon Wandel, 77 Lakeview
Jake Hinkle, 78 Grayling
Kevin Masini, 78 AA Gabriel Richard
Wesley Potts, 78 Lake Fenton
Andrew Skibski, 78 Monroe St. Mary CC
Rhett Schrauben, 79 Portland
Rage Sheldon, 79 Maple Valley
Bryce Vandenbelt, 79 Essexeville Garber
Josh McCurry, 80 Farwell
Daniel Wagner, 80 Frankenmuth
Noah Kosal, 83 Richmond