BATTLE CREEK — Josh Balhorn is just a sophomore.
Regardless of his age, the Montabella golfer has displayed enough skill this year to qualify for the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 4 state golf finals at Bedford Valley Golf Course in Battle Creek today and Saturday.
The sophomore qualified with his best round of the year at regionals last week at Muskegon Country Club. Balhorn’s round of 79 was tied for the 11th best qualifying round among the 90 golfers to reach the state finals. It was the second best round of the regional tournament.
“I expected to be a little better than last year,” Balhorn said. “Last year, my goal was to break 100, which I did. This year, my goal was to break 90 and I did that too.
“At regionals, I played very well and shot under 80 (79),” he added.
Of the 90 golfers (15 teams of five and 15 individual golfers), just 19 are sophomores and nine freshman.
“Joshua was able to bring two excellent 9-hole rounds together,” Montabella coach Nicole Howe said. “His swing was on point and he was dropping putts when he needed to.”
Balhorn played a practice round at Bedford Valley on Thursday.
“My practice round went all right,” Balhorn said. “The back nine is a lot tougher than the front. There are a lot of trees on the back and it’s narrow.”
While excited to be at the state finals, Balhorn doesn’t have any expectations for the two-day tournament.
“I don’t have any expectations because I’m a sophomore,” he said. “My goal is to come back next year, but I don’t really have any expectations for this year. There are a lot of good scorers out there.”
Balhorn credits his coach with his improvement.
“I’ve gotten a lot bigger and my coach has really helped this year,” Balhorn said. “I didn’t listen a lot last year, but this year I’ve actually listened.”
Balhorn also plays football and basketball for Montabella.
Division 4 State Qualifiers
Lincoln Alcona 324
Auburn Hills Oakland Christian 328
Traverse City St. Francis 333
Kalamazoo Hackett 335
North Muskegon 341
White Pigeon 343
Clarkston Everest Collegiate 345
Grosse Pointe Woods Uni. Liggett 350
Mt. Pleasant Sacred Heart 353
New Lothrop 357
Elkton-Pigeon Bay Port Laker 380
Individual qualifiers, score
Joel Sneed, 68 Leland
Devin Capron, 70 Suttons Bay
Zach Rose, 77 St. Joseph Lake Mi. Catholic
Hunter Weeks, 77 Homer
Alex Stanton, 78 Mesick
Logan Heffner, 79 Centreville
Joshua Balhorn, 79 Montabella
Colin Hindle, 80 Ann Arbor Greenhills
Noah Schneider, 80 Jackson Christian
Grant Konkle, 82 Springport
Jacob Voss, 82 Addison
Dan Sauer, 83 Rochester Hills Lutheran NW
Tyler Glaza, 84 Ubly
Tyler Neering, 84 Bay City All Saints
David Ross, 84 Sandusky