Mercier wins his second straight UPGA Junior golf championship
Oak Crest and Pine Grove golfers have good showing
For The Daily News
GLADSTONE — Bryson Mercier has had one heck of a summer on the golf course. After winning a couple of big events on the Wisconsin junior golf tour, Mercier completed another big accomplishment by winning the UPGA Junior Championship for the second straight year Monday at Terrace Bluff Golf Club.
The 17-year-old from Powers started Monday’s round a tad bit slow on the first four holes before recovering to shoot 1-over par on the front 9 and 2-under on the back 9 to finish with a 1-under 71.
“It was a definitely a tale of two 9s, I will say that,” said Mercier, whose home course is Wild Pines in Hermansville. “It was partly due to the weather. It’s Aug. 3 and I was wearing three layers of clothing and it was 55 degrees … with the wind chill it was probably around 45, so it was freezing in the morning. It was definitely a different type of golf than I’m used to playing, because the whole summer it’s been nice and warm. To be blasted by this cold weather all of a sudden, it kind of threw me for a loop.
“I got a few quick bogeys to start the round, but I got it back and started to ease into it a little bit and started to get used to it. … I finally got back to playing good golf again.”
In the process of repeating as champion, Mercier joined Hunter Eichhorn and Rudy Peterson as the only golfers to win the event multiple times. Eichhorn, also of Wild Pines, won the event from 2013-16 and currently plays at Marquette University. Peterson, a member at the Bluff, won in 2017 and 2018. He’s currently attending Michigan State University.
“It’s an honor because I know those two really well,” Mercier said. “They’ve been joking with me a little bit because my name hasn’t been on that trophy as many times as theirs yet, but we’re pretty good buddies. It was really nice to get my name on their a second time and get back at them a little bit. I’m a few behind Hunter still, but at least I tied Rudy now and have a chance to beat him (next year).”
Earlier this summer, Mercier won a two-day Players Tour event at Blackwolf Run and another at Whistling Straits as part of the Wis. junior golf tour.
“I played really well at Blackwolf Run and Whistling Straits this year,” Mercier said. “That was definitely a cool thing to experience. To win a two-day event for the first time, it was definitely something different that I’m glad I got to do. Last year, I didn’t play too good on the second day just because I really didn’t know what to expect. Then this year, I did and I was able to accomplish some really, really good things. I was glad to see that I was able to improve on what I did last year.”
Mercier’s excellent play has landed him two college offers from the University of Detroit-Mercy and the University of Wisconsin-Green Bay.
“I still have no idea where I’m going to go,” said Mercier, who will be entering his junior year of high school this fall. “There’s just so much up in the air yet. It’d be unfair to say if I even had a favorite college to go to right now just because I don’t.”
He also knows he still has room for improvement.
“There’s a lot to take away yet and there’s a lot of room for improvement still,” he said. “This summer I did really well at my Wisconsin events, but there’s still something I can take away from them. There’s always improvement. That’s the good thing about golf — you’re never going to be perfect. In golf, you just never know what you’re going to have. One day you can have it, and then the next day you might not be hitting it very well. It’s just one of those things where you have to be very mentally focused for a long period of time.”
At Monday’s event, Oak Crest golfer Drew Anderson of Norway finished in second place with a 75. Matt Anderson and Brady Badker tied for third with 77s, and Joseph Luke placed fifth with a 78.
The top five qualify for the Golf Association of Michigan Junior Invitational to be held at Michigan State on Sept. 12-13.
Carson Chartier of Oak Crest won the boys 14-15 age division with a 79, followed by Cooper Pigeon of Pine Grove with an 83. Grahm Johnson won the 12-13 division with a 40. Gavin Burcar topped the 10-11 group with a 43, and 8-year-old Maverick Moore shot a 50 to lead the 9-and-under age group.
Rachel Niskanen shot a 102 to lead the girls 14-15 age group.
1. Bryson Mercier 71; 2. Drew Anderson 75; T-3. Matt Anderson 77; T-3. Brady Badker 77; 5. Joseph Luke 78; 6. Lincoln Sager 79; 7. Tyler Annala 79; 8. Brady Schmierer 80; 9. Matthew Solda 81; 10. Kelten Hermanson 82; 11. Grant Beumen 82; 12. Keegan Polomis 84; 13. Owen Riipi 85; 14. Andrew MacIntyre 88; 15. Tomas Imminen 89; 16. John Weber 89; 17. Carson Erdman 95; 18. Jackson Gladwell 107; 19. Kyle Maki DNF
1. Carson Chartier 79; 2. Cooper Pigeon 83; 3. Jace Moore 84; 4. Marino Pisani 84; 5. Kaiden Bailey 84; 6. Ryan Schmierer 88; 7. Bryson Lancour 89; 8. Caleb Beerman 90; 9. Adam Heikilla 96; 10. Shane Wallin 100
1. Grahm Johnson 40; 2. Boden Moore 41; 3. Jackson Sintkowski 43; 4. Tanner Annala 44; 5. Pavel McCutcheon 47; 6. Jack Pond 48; 7. Carson Artley 50; 8. Easton Aho 54
1. Gavin Burcar 43; 2. Eli Nutini 46; 3. Jameson Sandstrom 46; 4. Griffin Johnson 50; 5. Severen Swonsen 52; 6. Dylan Pond 52; 7. Christian VanDamme 57; 8. Mason Nygard 57; 9. Lake Skytto 61
1. Maverick Moore 50; 2. Riley Nygard 55; 3. Nolan McCutcheon 56
1. Rachel Niskanen 102