2018-04-12 / Sports

Annual Lapeer Tune up plans to press on despite rain

“I am so over this”
By Austin VanDaele
810-452-2655 • avandaele@mihomepaper.com

Lapeer’s Dylan Mullaney, overall tournament medalist at last season’s Tune Up, watches his drive approach the fairway. Lapeer will look to repeat as champions after shooting a 308 to win last season. 
Photo by Austin VanDaele Lapeer’s Dylan Mullaney, overall tournament medalist at last season’s Tune Up, watches his drive approach the fairway. Lapeer will look to repeat as champions after shooting a 308 to win last season. Photo by Austin VanDaele METAMORA – The rallying cry for anyone involved in high school spring sports over the past week has been echoed with an “I am so over this”, as snow and temperatures that bottomed out in the mid-teens put everyone in a sour mood.

One person trying to find the silver lining in an otherwise dark cloud is Lapeer High varsity golf coach Steve Stearns. He’s set to roll out the green carpet to host the 27th iteration of the Lapeer Tune up Friday. The weather predicted for Friday? Sixty degrees and rain.

“I don’t know if we know yet because the forecast has changed four times in the last two days. It went from 49 degrees to 68. But 68 we can deal with,” said Stearns. “If it’s 68 and it’s not lightning and it’s not pouring, we’ll be playing.”

Stearns went on to note he remembers his first year of coaching where even snowfall didn’t prevent his girls’ team from competing.

“It’s just mild with a little rain, so we can deal with it. My first year of coaching, it snowed on our regional on May 25 and it was wicked. And I mean wicked. It was coming down sideways and it was awful.”

Though the forecast currently doesn’t call for snowfall, Stearns was confident in thinking the rain should pose no problem to the Tune Up.

“Even if it rains and it looks like it’s going to be intermittent, we’ll stick it out. We probably won’t know until Thursday night, but the plan is to play,” said Stearns. “Depending on how hard it rains and the saturation level and how much the ground thawed, there could be a little water in some of the bunkers. We’re going to play lift, clean and place anyway, so if there’s water in the bunker we would probably just lift, clean and place those bunkers that have water.”

Last season, golfers had to avoid the bunkers due to them being under renovation, but now, with newly-renovated bunkers in place, the golfers will have the entire course to work with. As for course conditions, General Manager and Director of Golf at Metamora Golf and Country Club, Rick Fleming, noted the course is looking good following the winter.

“The course is actually in pretty good shape coming through the winter, so the warm weather is going to be nice,” said Fleming. “[The forecast] is not calling for thunderstorms, just light rain, and the temperature is going to be in the mid-60s, so we’re planning on playing. And, hopefully, the forecast improves between now and then, but we’re going to play through the rain if it rains, is what our plan is.”

For the many teams in the field, this will be their first meet of the season. Unfortunate, yes, but everyone’s in the same boat so there is no advantage. Host Lapeer is ready for whatever weather conditions come its way Friday morning and is looking to repeat a feat that may be out of reach after winning the tournament last year with a school record 308. That turned out to be Lapeer’s best score of the season.

The competition remains as tough as ever for this season’s Tune Up, though. A total of 23 teams will contend for the first-place trophy, including Bay City Central, Bay City Western, Birmingham Seaholm, Brandon, Carman-Ainsworth, Davison, Utica Eisenhower, Fenton, Frankenmuth, Goodrich, Grand Blanc, Holly, Kearsley, Lake Fenton, Lakeland, Midland Dow, North Branch, Oxford, Saginaw Heritage, Utica Ford, Waterford Kettering and Waterford Mott.

Of those teams, Utica Ford has always been a contender, placing second to Lapeer last season with a 324 and first two seasons ago. Goodrich took home third last season with a 337 and second two seasons ago while Grand Blanc, which did not compete in the Tune Up last season, returns to the course after having won at the regional competition, held at Metamora Golf and Country Club, last season with a 324.

Other area teams that also competed in last season’s tournament include Kearsley, which placed 14th with a 380, Carman-Ainsworth, which was 16th with a 395 and North Branch, which took 17th with a 430.

Stearns noted Frankenmuth, Bay City Western, Birmingham Seaholm and Saginaw Heritage are other teams that will be tough to beat and have great potential to pull away from the rest of the field. Seaholm finished sixth in the state during last season’s Div. 1 state tournament at Forest Akers West at Michigan State University while Grand Blanc was seventh and Utica Ford 12th.

“I don’t know if we’ll do as well as we did last year,” said Stearns of his team ahead of the Tune Up. “I’m hoping we don’t peak as early as we did last year. I expect we’ll do well. We will be within the top-five.”

The Tune Up is slated to tee off tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. at Metamora Golf and Country Club. Should a makeup date be needed, Stearns said that will be next Thursday, April 19.

Sports Editor Lisa Paine contributed to this story.

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