By Greg Gielczyk

GRAYLING -- With only two players on the roster, the Grayling girl's golf team opened the 2020 fall season on a hot and humid Monday afternoon hosting 13 teams at the Grayling Golf and Country Club without any chance of scoring as a team.

Petoskey won the Green Division championship as the Northmen came into the clubhouse with a 361 for the 18 holes. The White Division title was taken by Cheboygan as it recorded a 378.

Other teams also were a little low in numbers, including East  Jordan and Kalkaska who each brought three competitors. Traverse City Central came with four.

Not only is it a small team for Grayling this year, it's also very young. The Vikings' low score was recorded by sophomore Alyssa Huber, who shot a 139. Meanwhile, freshman Paige Barkay -- who played last year as an eighth grader -- shot her career best with a 158. It was Huber's first 18-hole match ever.

"I was very impressed with their scores, and so were they," coach Nate Maury said. "We hadn't played an 18-hole round in practice just because of being new golfers. The most we played was nine holes.

"The girls put together good scores. You could tell they were tired at the end, so their scores went up. It all comes down to that mental conditioning the girls need to do."

Weather was a factor

"The rain that we got last night made the course a little bit wet, but nothing too bad for the girls," Maury said. "But, it was a warm one. We were pumping fluids into the girls, and putting sunscreen because it was sunny.

"We're happy we can play at this point in the season compared to some of our other sports. The restrictions for girls' golf aren't as strenuous. Once you start golfing, it's golf as usual."

Since there were 65 girls competing, facial coverings were worn at the start of the meet and any time anyone came into the clubhouse they were required to wear a facial covering.

Once they were out on the course to tee off, though, the masks came off and the girls were able to feel like teenage girls for a little while at least and play a sport without too much restriction.

And there were some impressive scores for the first competition, Maury said, including a few 80s and 90s, especially among the teams competing in the Green Division.

Maury's goal, of course, is to recruit at least two more players so the Vikings can compete as a team. He'd certainly like to have more, with a couple girls adding depth.

"We're still looking for girls," Maury said. "The nice thing is we provide equipment if needed ... the bag, the clubs, the gloves and all the golf balls. As a school district, we'll provide those to the (girls).

"No experience is necessary. As an example, my freshman just learned how to play golf six weeks ago. Golf is a sport you can play into your 80s and 90s if you're healthy."

Grayling turns right around and plays another 18-hole match on Thursday at Grandview in its first Lake Michigan Conference match. After that, though, it'll be primarily nine hole matches the rest of the season.

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