DURAND — Zach Limas led Durand to a Mid-Michigan Activities Conference golf championship this spring.
On Wednesday, the senior will lead the way for the Railroaders at the Division 3 team regional at Cascades Golf Course in Jackson. The top three teams and the top three individuals on non-qualifying teams will qualify for the Division 3 state finals at Ferris State University’s Katke Golf Course June 7-8.
Limas, a first-team all-leaguer the past two years, said he is looking forward to the regional challenge but said Durand will have some very stiff competition. Limas is looking for his first berth in the state finals.
“It’s going to be a hard regional and some of the top teams will be there so it will be tough but I feel pretty good going into it,” Limas said. “I’ve been hitting the ball pretty solid lately. Probably my short game has been working best for me right now.”
Limas said that junior teammate Justin Reddy, who like Limas, captured first-team MMAC recognition this season, could also be a contender for a state qualifying berth next week along with possibly Elijah Beland.
“We should be in the mix,” Limas said. “But we’re going to have to play pretty well that day.”
Reddy said he has played at the Cascades before and is hoping the Railroaders can deliver their best rounds.
“I think as a team, anything can happen,” Reddy said. “Because we’re all good golfers and we all know what we’re doing. It’s just not getting angry at a bad hole. It’s hitting bad shots and coming back from them. Individually we definitely (have a shot). We’ve come out here and shot under par for 18 holes. We’ve had bad days and good days.”
Reddy said that Durand has enjoyed a stellar season because all of the golfers push each other.
“I’ll go out and play against Zach and it’s fun competition playing against him,” Reddy said. “He beats me sometimes and I beat him sometimes. You’ve just got to stay focused.”
Durand will be one of six area schools competing in the 17-school Division 3 regional. Byron, Corunna, Laingsburg, Ovid-Elsie and Perry will also compete from the area. Durand won the MMAC Preseason Tournament and also went unbeaten in dual-meet matches this season.
“Our region is very tough,” said Durand coach Dave Inman. “In the latest (coaches’ association) state rankings we’ve got three of the top five at this regional. Jackson Lumen Christi is ranked No. 3 right now. They were ranked No. 1 most of the season. They were state champions last year in Division 3. Hanover Horton they’re ranked No. 4 and they’re there. And No. 5 is Napoleon. They are also there too. Those three Jackson area teams will be tough and the home course is the Cascades.”
Other MMAC first-teamers who will be competing at the Cascades will be Jaden James of Chesaning. Among the MMAC second-teamers set to compete will be Thad Coad and Jacob Davies of Byron and Beland and Jacob Johnson of Durand.
Jon Cornell-Duranleau will lead the way for Corunna.
Inman said his Durand squad could be a sleeper along with Laingsburg, the Central Michigan Athletic Conference champion.
“It’s going to be tough but you never know,” Inman said. “We’ve never seen these teams. We only see them at regionals. We don’t see them throughout the year. Laingsburg is playing well right now and we haven’t faced them this year.”
Laingsburg coach Greg Beavers agreed with Inman that the field is stacked with good teams but Laingsburg along with Durand will be tough as well.
“Jackson Lumen Christi and Hanover Horton lost one or two players from last year,” Beavers said. “So we’re right in the middle of it too.”
Zack Koerner sports the lowest 18-hole average for Laingsburg at 76.1, noted Beavers with Aidan Soultner at 80.2. Konner Wicki and Calvin Collins are also averaging in the 80s.
“If they all shot their average, we could probably get through,” Beavers said. “If they shot their averages, we’d shoot a 332. We shot a 333 last year and missed it by one.”
Boys Regional Golf Preview
Division 2 Regional 10
at Eldorado Golf Course, Mason
Area Teams Competing: Owosso.
Favorite: No. 2-ranked DeWitt, Fenton.
Outlook: Owosso, which finished ninth in the Flint Metro League, will be led by All-FLint Metro League honorable mention player Josiah Balsley. Fenton won the Flint Metro League this season and could also be in the mix as one of the top three team finishers.
Division 3 Regional 16
at Cascades Golf Course, Jackson
Area Teams Competing: Durand, Laingsburg, Corunna, Byron, Ovid-Elsie, Perry.
Favorites: No. 3 Jackson Lumen Christi, No. 4 Napoleon, No. 5 Hanover Horton.
Outlook: MMAC champion Durand and CMAC champion Laingsburg will also have shots at cracking the top three and qualifying for state finals berth as teams. The top three individuals from non-qualifying schools will also be state qualifiers. Some of the area golfers who could be in the mix are Durand’s Zach Limas and Justin Reddy, Laingsburg’s Zack Koerner and Aidan Soultner, Corunna’s Jon Cornell-Duranleau and Byron’s Thad Coad and Jacob Davies.
Division 3 Regional 17
at Red Hawk Golf Club, East Tawas
Area Teams Competing: Chesaning.
Favorites: No. 7 Shepherd, No. 10 Tawas
Outlook: Chesaning recently finished fifth in the final MMAC standings. The Indians were third at the MMAC Postseason Tournament and will be led by MMAC first-teamer Jaden James.
Division 4 Regional 22
at Verona Hills Golf Course, Bad Axe
Area Teams Competing: New Lothrop.
Favorites: Bad Axe, Saginaw Nouvel Catholic Central, New Lothrop.
Outlook: New Lothrop finished first at the MMAC Postseason Tournament and finished second overall in the MMAC to Durand. The Hornets will be led by MMAC first-teamers John Fras, who shot a medalist round of 85 at the Postseason Tournament at Briar Ridge in Montrose. Gabe Salsgiver was also a first-team golfer in the MMAC while Noah Ruddy and Isaac Richardson were both second-teamers. “I think we’ll be right up there and we’re playing really well right now,” said New Lothrop coach Joe Beach. “Bad Axe is the favorite. It’s on their course and they won it last year.”