Borio and Borowiec Top State Junior Classic
By Dean Holzwarth
Brent Borio picked the perfect time to find his swing.
After struggling with his game for the past month, the former Birmingham Brother Rice standout found what he was looking for prior to one of the biggest tournaments in the state.
Borio carded a 3-over-par 147 to win the Independent Insurance Agent Junior Golf Classic State Finals on July 19 at Katke Golf Course in Big Rapids
"I haven't been playing great and I found my swing a couple days ago," said Borio, who is headed to Miami of Ohio in the fall. "But I really hit the ball good and for the most part I was happy with my play."
The 36-hole event featured 61 of the best boys from around the state with the top six in the field qualifying for the national tournament, which will be held on Aug. 17-20 at Northgate Golf Course in Houston, TX,
Besides Borio, the following golfers qualified to compete in the prestigious national event next month.
A playoff was needed to determine second place and Luke Sadowski from Grand Rapids (Forest Hills Central) won it. He posted a 76-74-150 to place runner-up, while Kalamazoo's Justin Spyker also carded a 79-71-150 to finish in third place.
Brighton's Scott Carelton (76-75-151), Traverse City's Chris Rogers (77-75-152) and Bay City's Justin Holyszko (75-77-152) rounded out the top six.
Borio's round was highlighted by his ability to avoid the dreaded three-putt. He only three-putted twice during the 36 holes.
"I didn't make many putts, but I was happy with my lag putts," Borio said. "It was really important because a lot of times over my career it's been my problem and I've been working on it a lot this year."
His consistency on his approach shots also helped him throughout the round.
"I hit a lot of greens on the front side and had a lot of makeable birdie," Borio said. "I kept the ball in play and played the par 4's really well."
Next month will be Borio's first taste of national competition and he hopes it helps him gain experience for his college career.
"I haven't had a lot of national tournament experience," Borio said. "So it's going to be a big boost just to play with some of those good players I'll be competing against this fall."
On the girls side, South Lyons's Jennifer Borowiec repeated as champion of the 18-hole event. She carded a 35-37-72 to win by three strokes over Cassie Jemison of West Bloomfield, who finished with a 38-37-75.
"I've been playing very well lately and it's feels wonderful to win this tournament again," said Borowiec, who is headed to Ohio State in the fall. "I haven't been concentrating on winning, I've just tried to play consistently and that's what I did today. I only had two bad holes."
While only 22 girls qualified for the state finals, the top two advance to the national tournament, which will also be played in Houston, TX.
Borowiec, who helped her Mercy high school team to a Division 1 state championship, qualified for nationals last year but missed the cut.
She's excited about the opportunity to redeem herself next month.
"I had a wonderful experience last year and I'm looking forward to an even better one this year," Borowiec said. "I want to go there and focus on par and try and make the cut."
Although not qualifying, Jennifer's sister Erin Borowiec (37-39-76) was one shot off from second and placed third. Brooke Hulsbrink from Grand Blanc shot a 79 and Grosse Ile's Sarah Martin carded a 80 to round out the top five.
While in its 26th year in the state of Michigan, the IIAJC has become the biggest draw for young talent from across the state. Michigan is the top third state in the nation as far as number of entrants and the tournament is the largest national junior competition according to participants in the world.
This summer, over 10,000 golfers, state-wide attempted to qualify, while only 83 made it to Big Rapids.
For tournament director Matt Derrenberger, the response to the tournament has been an overwhelming success.
"The play just seems to get better and better every year. These players are just incredible," Derrenberger said. "This is always one of their top stops for tournaments. We had college coaches up here and a lot of these players are going on to play college golf."
The caliber of players in the tournament is a good sign of the development of young golfers in Michigan.
"There's high quality golfers coming out of this state going to good top-notch golf program and we have that year in and year out," Derrenberger said.
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