Photos by Scott DeCamp | CatchMark
TWIN LAKE – Jeff Lenartowicz was a member of Mona Shores’ back-to-back state championship football teams as a linebacker. Now, he’s hoping to help the Sailors capture a golf state title.
It may seem like a rare combination – grit and physicality of a linebacker, skill and touch of a golfer – but the Mona Shores senior has it all.
He put the latter abilities on display en route to shooting a 2-over 74 and winning medalist honors in the Greater Muskegon Athletic Association golf tournament Wednesday at Stonegate Golf Club. As a team, the deep and talented Sailors ran away with the championship by shooting 302 en route to their third-straight GMAA title.
It’s not often you’ll see an athlete flip the switch from football to golf the way that Lenartowicz pulls it off.
“Never — we never get that combination,” Mona Shores coach Scott Volkmann said with a smile. “We get hockey and golf all the time, but certainly never a linebacker and a city champion (in golf).”
Reeths-Puffer was a distant runner-up at 353, followed by Montague (363), Whitehall (365) and North Muskegon (368) in the top five. Western Michigan Christian (384), Fruitport (386), Muskegon Catholic Central (399), Oakridge (400) and Holton (407) rounded out the team scoring.
Mona Shores dominated the top-10 leaderboard by claiming five of the first six spots. The Sailors’ Nicholas Taylor was second (75), Chase Knowlton fourth (76), Alex Eckerman fifth (77) and Owen DeLong sixth (81).
Reeths-Puffer’s Tyler Tallefson and Chase Baustert finished third (76) and eighth (84), respectively. North Muskegon’s Logan Wolters took seventh (82), Oakridge’s Hunter DeLora ninth (87) and Montague’s Danny Flanagan 10th (87).
“I was very proud of how our team competed today. We did not play our best, but we are getting better and working extremely hard at practice,” said Montague coach Brad Tate, who captured the moment by taking a photo of Flanagan with his medal in front of the leaderboard.
“Playing against very good competition today will pay dividends for us down the road. I think we are going to be a very good team by the end of the season.”
Mona Shores has been dominant locally for quite some time, and the Sailors have been a factor on a statewide level as well.
Not much has changed in that regard. It could be a different Sailor atop the leaderboard on any given day.
On Wednesday, Lenartowicz made a 30-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 17 to close his round and clinch the top spot.
“When I compare to last year and this year, I just do it on number and I shot the same number but it’s just taking a different spot,” said Lenartowicz, who was GMAA runner-up last spring with an identical 74 at Stonegate. “I didn’t plan to win. I just tried to beat 74 (from) last year.
“It definitely feels pretty good, but we’ve still got bigger things to do. As a team, I don’t really care (how he did individually). We still won. If we would have lost, I wouldn’t have cared about (medalist honors).”
Beyond winning the team state title, Lenartowicz’ goal is to keep his 18-hole scores in the 70s.
Volkmann said that he and Lenartowicz have been working together for years on his swing, beginning at Mona Shores Middle School, where Volkmann is a teacher. They used to hit golf balls together before the school day started.
“I love how bunched our scores are, you know, from top to bottom. Really, every event this year it’s been that way. Any given day, somebody can be medalist or be towards the top. It just happened to be Jeff today. He’s been playing great as of late,” said Volkmann, who applauded Lenartowicz for his 72 at Oakland Hills last Monday, going 2-under in a match in brutally cold conditions at Zeeland last Tuesday and a strong showing at American Dunes with 76 last Friday.
“I’m very happy for Jeff. He deserves it. He’s very, very mentally tough. I think playing football and stuff like that does nothing but help, and I’m just proud of him.”
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