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Brighton shoots record score, Hartland golfer wins medalist in KLAA tournament

BRIGHTON — Michael Maurin made the best of a bad situation in 2020 when many young people struggled to cope during the state’s COVID shutdowns.

It’s paying off four years later for Maurin and the Hartland golf team.

Maurin, a sophomore, shot 1-under-par 70 to finish first out of 90 golfers in the Kensington Lakes Activities Association’s preseason tournament Tuesday at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.

His game might not be at this high a level if not for his constructive use of time when there weren’t many athletic options available with group sports forbidden.

Maurin began playing golf as an 8-year-old, but became serious about the game when there wasn’t much else to do.

“I got good when I was 12 over the quarantine,” he said. “I would get all my work done by 10:30 and spend the rest of the day at the golf course.”

His uncle, a former pro golfer also named Michael Maurin, provided guidance and instruction during this time.

“He lives in Florida, but he came into town and taught me everything he knew,” Maurin said.

Hartland sophomore Michael Maurin shot 1-under-par 70 to win the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.
Hartland sophomore Michael Maurin shot 1-under-par 70 to win the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.

By the time he hit high school three years later, Maurin was good enough to make the varsity as the fifth man at Hartland.

He averaged 85.4 in eight 18-hole tournaments with a low round of 83 at Plum Hollow. He shot 85 and 89 in the two KLAA tournaments at Kensington.

“It was a new world for Michael, competitive golf,” Hartland coach Nathan Oake said. “I think his eyes were opened to it last year. As a freshman, we really wanted to get him as many reps as we could last year, regardless of the outcome, because we know he’s going to be a fixture for his remaining years here.”

Maurin has shown remarkable improvement so far during his sophomore season.

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He tied for third out of 129 golfers with a 73 in his first tournament and tied for 13th out of 70 players with an 80 in his second 18-hole event. His 70 Tuesday is his lowest competitive round.

Maurin viewed his freshman season as a learning experience.

“I played here last year and didn’t do as good, but last year wasn’t about posting good scores,” he said. “Obviously, that was the main goal, but it was about learning the course for future years.”

Maurin won by making a birdie on No. 14, his final hole, to edge Novi sophomore Colin Riehl by one shot. Riehl had a one-shot lead with one hole remaining, but bogeyed No. 15 to end his round.

“Going into that last par-5, it was pretty short,” Maurin said. “I just felt like I could definitely go for the green in two, go for a birdie and have a chance for the win.

“Throughout the round, I wasn’t checking the leaderboard at all. I didn’t know where I was. It’s just kind of a strategy of mine so I don’t know where I am and don’t overthink.”

Brighton's Riley Morton shot 72 to tie for third in the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.
Brighton's Riley Morton shot 72 to tie for third in the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.

Livingston County’s three teams dominated the event, taking three of the top four places in the team standings and nine of the top 13 spots individually.

Brighton shot a record-setting 292 to beat Hartland by four shots. Novi was third with a 302 and Howell was fourth with a 304.

The Bulldogs’ score was the lowest ever in a KLAA tournament, eclipsing 293s shot by Hartland in the 2015 final tournament, Northville in the 2021 preseason tournament, Brighton in the 2021 final tournament and Brighton in the 2023 final tournament.

Riley Morton tied for third with a 72, Jacob Daavettila and Mitchell Stoll tied for fifth with 73s, Adam Forcier tied for seventh with a 74, and Levi Pennala tied for 11th with a 75 for Brighton.

“It shows our incredible depth as a team,” Brighton coach James Dewling said. “When you have five scores of 75 or better, it might be one of the first times in Brighton history we can say that. A lot of our players have been overshadowed in the past by really good players. It’s good to see them really shine today.”

Howell's Rory Sturos shot 72 to tie for third in the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.
Howell's Rory Sturos shot 72 to tie for third in the KLAA preseason golf tournament Tuesday, April 23, 2024 at Kensington Metropark Golf Course.

Hartland had five players shoot 77 or lower. Following Maurin in the Eagles’ lineup were freshman Aidan Oake with a 74, Keller King and Brady Betteley with 76s, and Alex Katch with a 77.

Junior Rory Sturos led Howell, tying for third with a 72. Zach Spencer shot 75, Gavin Hill 78 and Derek Kantola 79 for the Highlanders.

Team scoring: Brighton 292, Hartland 296, Novi 302, Howell 304, Northville 310, Livonia Franklin 316, Livonia Stevenson 322, Salem 330, Canton 331, Plymouth 342, Dearborn 343, Livonia Churchill 352, Belleville 376, Westland John Glenn 388, Wayne Memorial 455.

Top individuals: Michael Maurin (Hartland) 70, Colin Riehl (Novi) 71, Riley Morton (Brighton) 72, Rory Sturos (Howell) 72, Jacob Daavettila (Brighton) 73, Mitchell Stoll (Brighton) 73, Aidan Oake (Hartland) 74, Harshan Juttu (Novi) 74, Andrew Caprara (Franklin) 74, Adam Forcier (Brighton) 74, Zach Spencer (Howell) 75, Nolan Kaminski (Salem) 75, Levi Pennala (Brighton) 75.

Contact Bill Khan at wkhan@gannett.com. Follow him on X @BillKhan

This article originally appeared on Livingston Daily: Hartland's Michael Maurin wins KLAA preseason golf tournament