BY DAN STICKRADT
WATERFORD — A year ago James Piot didn’t get the chance to play at Pontiac Country Club.
On a depth-laden team, he was not one of fig e players chosen to represent Novi Detroit Catholic Central at the prestigious Oakland County Division I Tournament.
This season, Piot was given the opportunity to play in the county tournament and he more than made the most of it. The junior carded a two-under round of 70 to earn medalist honors and top the charts in the 124-player field.
A total of 34 players broke 80 and it was the first time he had played the course in a tournament.
Getting off to a fast start and playing consistent all the way through was the key for Piot, who edged Rochester senior and Mr. Golf candidate Michael Busse by a mere stroke to claim the county gold.
“I hit the ball pretty decent, kept it in play, I putted pretty well and that’s what helped me,’’ smiled Piot, who has shot 70 or lower three times this season. “I got off to a pretty good start. I was 2-under through the first eight holes. I was playing pretty well and just kept it going the whole round.’ I was just real consistent.”
With seven high-level junior players on the Shamrocks’ 14-player varsity roster, gaining the opportunity to play at the top tournaments comes within the rotation before the state tournament begins. Playing consistent has helped Piot become a regular in the top five for the Division 1 top-ranked Shamrocks.
“Playing well here helps a lot. It will give me confidence heading into districts, regionals and (state finals),” said Piot, who placed eighth at the D-1 state finals last season with a two-day total of 150.
Piot was also the Michigan Junior Amateur champion last August and is awaiting this year’s state tournament with great anticipation. He is one of five Shamrocks who are averaging in the low-to-mid-70s this season and has already committed to play for Michigan State in the fall of 2017.
“We have so many good players and our goal is to win it all,” said Piot. “Winning the county gets us ready for the (state tournament). We know we can win it again if we all step in and play well.”
BOYS GOLF: Catholic Central has depth, talent to defend state title
BY DAN STICKRADT
NOVI — Mike Anderson has a dilemma that most high school golf coaches could only dream of during their careers.
Amazing depth.How about incredible depth.
Why most coaches hope to have four or five quality golfers, Anderson hs a plethora at his disposal.
Anderson is the head coach at Division 1 top-ranked Novi Detroit Catholic Central, where an amazing 14 players are on the varsity roster. The most difficult task for Anderson and his assistants are getting all of the players action in various tournaments, all while trying to keep this squad atop the charts.
So far, so good.
Catholic Central, which has won three state titles (2003, 2010, 2015) and 12 regional crowns in school history, the expectations are through the roof this season.
Anderson usually has a core of seven players that will play in the biggest tournaments all while spreading the wealth around for dual matches and other tournaments for the remaining players. The Shamrocks have an ‘A’ and a ‘B’ team and players on the varsity ‘B’ would play varsity at a lot of schools across the state this season.
the ‘A’ team is light out the best in Michigan so far this season combining all four of the state;s divisions.
“We are very fortunate to have this many quality golfers,” said Anderson, who returned four of his top five from last season;s state championship squad. “We have several guys that will play in college in the future and 3-4 guys that could be All-State and a couple of players might be up for Mr. Golf or (All-State) Super Team honors. “
Junior James Piot, who has committed to Michigan State and recently won the Oakland County Division I Tournament, joins junior Ben Smith (Georgia Tech), junior Sean Niles, who carries the team’s lowest 18-hole average, senior Max Palmer, junior Sean Soochs, the team’s most improved player, senior Joe Manicinelli and senior Josh Stein (Lawrence Tech) have all played in major tournaments.
Juniors Sam Holland and Dyllan Skinner and sophomores Brandon Britz, Mike Alloe, Tommy Dye, Sam Holland and Ryan Katofiasc have also cracked the lineup on occasion this season.
When playing any configuration of the school’s top seven players, Catholic Central has not lost a tournament this season. In fact, the Shamrocks’ core has routinely shot in the 290s and 280s all season, including 290 at the Oakland County tourney to win by 13 strokes. The Shamrocks posted three of the top five scores and had four in the top 10 of the 124-player field at the county.
They are not eager for the state tournament, which will begin in late May with the district round. The regionals and state finals are in June, with the Lower Peninsula Division 1state finals taking place June 10-11 at Grand Valley State University’s The Meadows Golf Course.
“Our goal is to get back to the state finals and try to win it again,” said Anderson. “But there’s still a lot of good teams in Division 1. Grosse Pointe South, Grand Blanc and a few others can beat you on any given day if we have an off day. We have to be mentally prepared.
“By the scores, we are the favorites going in. But anything can happen,” said Anderson. “We were third at the regional last year and barley qualified. We still came back and won the state title, but one off day almost cost us. Hopefully we learned from the regional last year.”