By Paul Lecker
MARSHFIELD — A strong first couple of weeks to the 2017 season has the Marshfield boys golf team primed for big things this spring.
The Tigers are coming off a first-place finish at the D.C. Everest Invitational on April 21 at Greenwood Hills Country Club in Wausau, where they fired a season-best score of 323.
Senior Derek Michalski, a WIAA state tournament qualifier last year, is off to a hot start for Marshfield after winning medalist honors at the Wisconsin Rapids Quadrangular at The Ridges Golf Course on April 11 and again at the D.C. Everest meet last week.
At Greenwood Hills, Michalski shot a 1-under-par 71, including an impressive 5-under 31 on the front nine — his second nine of the day. He had an eagle and three birdies on the front nine.
Michalski also led the Tigers in a second-place finish at their home tournament on April 18 at RiverEdge Golf Course. He shot an 81 to tie for fourth place.
“I think Derek matured a lot and has taken on the responsibility of being a leader on this team,” Marshfield coach Paul Foegen said. “He has earned the confidence that he can play with the best players in the state and in our conference. He played with Matt Tuman (from Wausau East), who has been probably the best golfer in our conference the last few years, and beat him (at Everest).”
Foegen said the Tigers have improved on their score at each of their meets this season, compared to when they played in them a year ago.
Zach Hanson, Grant Michaelis, Brendan Schneider, and Joe Kirschnick will join Michalski the majority of the time as Marshfield’s five varsity golfers. Sophomore Nate Boson and Ben Baur have each had a chance to play on the varsity once so far this year and will compete for more time as the season progresses.
“Zach’s probably been the second-most consistent player for us so far,” Foegen said. “He had an 81 and a 78 at Wisconsin Dells and has stepped it up a lot. Brendan has put in a lot of time into his game, and we’re looking for low 80s or even some 70s out of him. Grant and Joe are both returning players and have been playing well.
“The players worked hard over (last) summer, played in a lot of tournaments, and played a lot of rounds to get better. (Six-time defending WVC champ) Stevens Point brings back basically its top four players, and Wausau West is very good. We hope to be in that mix at the top.”
Weather permitting, the Tigers will get in the full swing of the season this week with four meets, including the first of the seven legs of the Wisconsin Valley Conference Tournament on Friday at Pine Valley Golf Course in Marathon — Wausau East is the host — and at the Sparta Invitational on Saturday.
Paul Lecker is publisher of MarshfieldAreaSports.com, a contributor to Hub City Times Sports. You can reach him by email at email@example.com.