Shane and Andrea Clark give one another a 2020 high-five following their rounds at Cascades Golf Course during the Spring Thaw Tournament. Photo by Jeff Steers, JTV Sports.
By Jeff Steers
Female golfer Andrea Clark said there was a litany of reasons why she signed up to play in the men’s Spring Thaw Tournament at Cascades Golf Course this weekend.
Cabin fever, wanting competition since the women’s tournament was canceled, or recovery from shoulder surgery headed the list.
Clark was one of 74 golfers who braved temperatures in the low 40s, with high winds, and a hard golf course on Saturday in the annual opening golf event of the season.
Three golfers – Riley Hestwood, Tom Butterfield, and David Crandall – are tied for first heading into Sunday’s final round. All three shot 74s on Saturday. Hestwood tied for first a year ago, but lost in a playoff to five-time winner Mike Brockie. Butterfield has won the Spring Thaw twice.
Conner Spencer and Cody Lysher both shot 75s Saturday. Steve Maddalena, Scott Denig, and Brockie all shot 76s to enter the final round two strokes back.
Clark played with her husband, Shane, and Brockie. Shane Clark has won the Spring Thaw six times – the most by any local golfer.
It is the second time Andrea Clark has entered a male tournament. She played in the Jackson County Open in 2006, earning a spot in the championship flight.
She is the nine-time Jackson Golf Committee honor roll winner – earning golfer of the year honors.
“We have been stuck in the house and just needed to get out and see people,” Andrea Clark said. “I hadn’t played much after shoulder surgery last October.
“I went seven months without playing golf.”
Andrea Clark and Brockie are both high school coaches in the Cascades Conference. Clark coaches both the boys’ and girls’ teams for Grass Lake High School and Brockie heads the Hanover-Horton High School boys’ program.
“I am hoping my golfers are getting a chance to get out there to play,” Andrea Clark said. “It is really hard not coaching high school golf this spring.”
Hestwood, Butterfield, and Crandall are scheduled to tee off at 10:36 a.m. on Sunday.
Butterfield is hoping for better conditions after challenging conditions on Saturday.
“The combination of wind and hard ground created tough conditions today,” Butterfield said. “At one point it was snowing on the front nine.”
Butterfield believes it will take a round near par (72) to win the tournament.
Scores and tee times for the 2020 Spring Thaw tournament are available at www.cascadesgolfcourse.com/tournaments.
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