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Brighton looks to win school’s and county’s first state title

By: Tom Markowski, September 23, 2015, 3:00 pm





Brighton – The shift of power in girls golf has moved to Livingston County.

Paul Parsell is in his sixth season as head coach and his team, as young as they are, have as good a chance as any to win the Division 1 title this season.

In the latest Michigan Interscholastic Coaches Association poll the Bulldogs are ranked No. 3 behind Rochester and Lake Orion.

Brighton is undefeated in dual and quad meets. It won its own invitational and those at Grosse Ile and Holt. The Bulldogs placed sixth at the Traverse City tournament and were second at the Ann Arbor Invitational.

Brighton has just one senior in its top five and that’s Allie Erkkila who plays at No. 4.

The player that has put the Bulldogs over the top is junior Julia Dean. Dean did not compete on her high school team her first two years in school, opting to compete on the AGJA circuit.

Dean, Par sell’s No. 1 player, won the second Golf Association of Michigan Junior Invitational as a sophomore in 2014 and she also competed in the U.S. Girls’ Junior in Arizona that same year.

Dean committed to Baylor.

At No. 2 is a familiar name to those in Brighton. Annie Pietila is a freshman and already one of the top players in Division 1. Her sisters, Hannah and Emmie, play for Tennessee. Emmie tied for third at the Michigan Women’s Open held at Crystal Mountain this past June.

Annie Pietila set the school record at the Spruce Run course at the Grand Traverse Resort with a 68. Two weeks later Dean tied that record at Brighton’s home course, Oak Pointe.

Sophomore Heather Fortushniak is the No. 3 player.

“We have a very solid team,” Parsell said. “At the same time, it’s golf. It’s cyclical. You can lose a match at any point. If one or two have a bad day you could lose. In golf, if you are really good, you win 20 percent of the time.

“Our base is good. If we do what we should be able to do we’ll be in the thick of it.”

No Livingston County team has won a state title. Brighton could be the first.

Next for Brighton is the Milford Invitational on Monday at Prestwick Village Golf Club in Highland.

On Oct. 8 the Bulldogs will compete at the Division 1 regionals held at Hartland Glenn Golf Course. The top three teams qualify for the state finals Oct. 16-17 at The Meadows on the campus of Grand Valley State University.