Kate Meier, Middleton rule at Division 1 regional
MIDDLETON — Kate Meier stayed confident in her shot and club selection. She remained committed to the line on her putts.
The Middleton junior wanted no doubts to creep into her thoughts and no regrets to remain after Wednesday’s WIAA Division 1 girls golf regional at Pleasant View Golf Course.
“When I start to doubt myself, that’s where things go a little bit awry,” Meier said.
Meier remained true to her plan, staying positive and believing in herself en route to shooting a 5-over-par 76. That resulted in a seven-shot victory and medalist honors on Middleton’s home course.
“It’s really rewarding that all my hard work is paying off,” said Meier, Middleton’s No. 1 golfer. “Being able to go into sectionals with a good score on my back is nice. Every day is a new day, so I’m not going to take anything for granted. But today was a confidence-booster.”
Led by Meier, Big Eight Conference champion and fourth-ranked Middleton was the regional winner with 351, three shots better than runner-up Stoughton, the Badger South Conference winner.
“She needed that,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said about Meier’s round. “She’s been in the 80s quite a bit lately. She’s just been struggling to really put it all together. Today she was more confident and I could tell she was playing more steady than she has in the past.”
Oregon finished third (358) and Sun Prairie fourth (381), four strokes ahead of fifth-place Verona at the meet, which was played on the Woods (par 36) and Lake (par 35) layouts and included nine schools — eight fielding complete teams (Madison La Follette was incomplete). The top four teams advanced to Monday’s sectional at Reedsburg Country Club.
Stoughton sophomore Caylie Kotlowski and Monona Grove senior Klairissa O’Reilly-Dye were runners-up, each shooting 83. Oregon sophomore Alyssa Schmidt and Madison La Follette freshman Angelina Myhr were next with 84s. Stoughton junior Myranda Kotlowski — Caylie Kotlowski’s cousin — finished sixth with 86.
Caylie Kotlowski and Meier were tied for the lead after nine holes, each shooting 39. Meier then had birdies on the two par-3 holes on the Lake course — sinking a 20-foot birdie on No. 4 (her 13th overall hole) and a 10-foot birdie on No. 7 (her 16th).
“Going to the back (nine), I wanted to play with no regrets,” said Meier, who shot 37 on the final nine holes. “I was glad to make two birdies and really stay with it.”
A year ago, Meier tied with then-teammate Payton Hodson for low round at the regional at Pleasant View, with Hodson earning first after a scorecard playoff.
Stoughton, which had 175 after nine holes on the Woods layout, led Oregon and Middleton by one and two shots, respectively, entering the final nine holes. Stoughton coach Stephen Stokes said his golfers didn’t believe they were doing particularly well on the first nine holes.
“But I said, ‘You guys are doing fine,’ “ Stokes said. “The course was playing tough, the wind was tough. They thought they really weren’t in it at the time, so I had to remind them to keep battling through this and keep working at it. So, I was very happy with how we were doing through the front nine. It shows the importance of every shot this time of year.”
Middleton hadn’t played the Lake course this season, Halverson said. But the Cardinals rallied on that layout.
“It was definitely windy and also for some reason we never play well on our home course,” Halverson said. “I think they start thinking about past times here when they had a bad hole and they let it get to them. We came back on the back nine, for sure. The front nine was definitely a struggle. But they stayed with it and did what they had to do.”
The rest of Middleton’s players were in the 90s, led by junior Makenzie Hodson (90). Sophomore Glenna Sanderson, who won the Big Eight tournament Monday in Evansville, shot 94 and her score wasn’t used in Middleton’s total.
Schmidt and senior Ally Payne (87) led Oregon; those two golfers each shot 42 on their first nine holes. Junior Sydney O’Hearn shot 88 for Sun Prairie, led by first-year coach Shana Tiltrum.
The four golfers not on the top four teams who qualified as individuals for sectional play were O’Reilly-Dye (83), Myhr (84), McFarland senior Nikki Stubbe (91) and Verona senior Nicole Thomas (95). Myhr was the only La Follette golfer who competed.