Mother Nature took just enough pity on Timber Ridge Golf Club in Hazelhurst on Tuesday, May 16.
A rainy morning made way for a humid, partly sunny afternoon for one of the final Great Northern Conference golf meets of the season.
The Rhinelander Hodags finished third, with a total score of 339. The squad came in behind Medford (326) and host school Lakeland (333), echoing the conference standings heading into the final meet of the year on May 19 at Black River Golf Course in Medford.
Rhinelander's low score of the day went to Nick Twite, who came in with an 80 on the par-72 layout. Matching nine hole scores of 40, the day was all about consistency for Twite, who tied for third overall.
Zach Olds came in with 84 (43-41), Will England shot 87 (45-42), Joe Schmitz came in with a 88 (43-45) and Matthew Reinthaler shot 95 (47-48).
Rhinelander head coach Adam Schmidt suggested the relatively open design of Timber Ridge was welcome for many players, particularly after last week's meet at Rhinelander home course Northwood Golf Course, which is known it's heavy tree-lined fairways.
"Some of the kids who really paid attention to the management of the course shot some good scores," he said. Schmidt said that he worked extensively with his players to understand some of the "bail out" areas of Timber Ridge. "Nick (Twite), for instance, came off the course saying 'It was nice to know that on a couple of holes a tree guards the green, so it was best to miss to the left side for a shot at the hole.' It's a great course, and it's always in good shape."
Schmidt also said that the rain earlier in the day contributed to the greens growing at an accelerated rate as the day wore on. As a result, the team struggled a bit with the flatstick.
Olds finished with 32 putts, Schmitz had 34, England also had 34, Twite had 35, Reinthaler finished with 38 putts.
"We didn't putt the greatest," Schmidt said. "We did hit a ton of greens, though. Nick (Twite) hit 16 greens and 11 fairways. Afterwards, he said 'boy, if I could have taken some of those putts back, I could have shot in the mid-70's.'"
"All in all, it was a good day for us," Schmidt said. "We were competitive, and as we head into next year, some of those scores should continue to go down. Right now, though, we're playing some pretty good golf."
The final GNC meet of the year will be hosted by conference-leading Medford at Black River Golf Course on Friday.
"The guys know everything they need to improve on. They're getting specific in knowing what they need to do better in each round," Schmidt said. "That is a big step up from last year. It's been great to see the guys really start to understand their games."
Rhinelander is expected to hold their third place standing in the GNC, as the team will then look ahead toward the regional tournament on May 23 hosted by the Hodags at Northwood Golf Course.
On Saturday, the Hodags placed fourth as a team in the 10-team Bluejay Invite at Merrill Golf Club.
Rhinelander posted a score of 336, six strokes behind first-place Lakeland and had all four of its varsity golfers break 90.
"All and all it was a good day and it was kind of fun," Schmidt said. "They got to play in teams in a best-ball format."
Olds and Reinthaler shot matching 82s to lead the Hodags. Schmitz shot 85 and Twite shot 87. Jacob Mahner tagged along, allowing Rhinelander and Lakeland to form a co-op two-man team for the event. He shot 95.
Merrill's Russell Dettmering shot a 6-under 66 to take medalist honors. Dettmering and Hunter Wallace won the best-ball portion of the event with a 63.
Evan Verploegh may be reached at email@example.com.
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