Sam Soulier, Waunakee win Middleton Cardinal Invitational
MIDDLETON — Coming off her highest nine-hole score of the season earlier in the week, Waunakee senior Sam Soulier was determined to make amends for that 44 total during Saturday’s 18-hole Middleton Cardinal Invitational girls golf tournament.
Solid ball striking and a hot putter sparked Soulier to medalist honors at Pleasant View Golf Course. She shot a 4-over-par 76 – her best score in tournament play and the only round in the 70s in breezy conditions Saturday.
“I wasn’t really feeling like I was anything special (entering the round), but I started out pretty well and I thought if I keep making pars, good things will happen,” Soulier said.
Good things indeed happened as Soulier and sophomore teammate Aly Kinzel led the Warriors to the team title.
“This is a big field and the course, obviously, had windy conditions today,” Waunakee coach Paul Miller said. “I was really happy with how (the team) handled it. Sam was very steady and consistent and so was Aly.”
Kinzel finished second with an 80, her best in a tournament, and Middleton junior Kate Meier was third with an 81. Madison Edgewood’s Grace Welch, Franklin’s Mallory Swartz and Middleton’s Glenna Sanderson each shot 82.
Waunakee’s 338 total was nine strokes better than runner-up Brookfield Central (347), No. 1 in the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin state rankings.
“It’s funny, this is the fourth time we’ve shot this number in a tournament — 338 — and I’m so thrilled with it,” said Miller, whose team also scored rounds of 88 from junior Brooke Ehle and 94 from sophomore Sydney Grimm. “It’s been a team effort. Samantha can shoot low, but you have to have three other players step up and be consistent.”
Host and fifth-ranked Middleton was third (349) in the tournament played on the Woods and Prairie layouts and featuring 20 varsity teams and two JV teams, plus extra individual players.
“It’s still not the scores we should be shooting,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “We struggle with our short game. It will be a big focus going into the second half of the season here. We will dial in our short game. Our scores are higher because of too many chips and too many putts.”
The Warriors also had won the Waunakee and Portage invitationals, Miller said.
“We are hoping to make it to state,” Soulier said. “I think that’s our end goal. I think we have a very good chance of doing it.”
Soulier added another individual honor after firsts at the Portage and Crusade Fore a Cure tournaments this season.
“I think this just gives me momentum going into the rest of the season, with playoffs coming up,” she said. “It’s nice to have some low rounds – to know you can do it.”
Soulier had one birdie – on the Prairie course’s ninth hole, which was the 12th hole she played. Club selection was tricky due to the persistent wind, said Soulier, who shot 39 (Woods) and 37 (Prairie).
“Putts were just falling for me,” Soulier said. “I had seven one-putts, so I just got up and down a lot. I was striking the ball really well. If I missed a green, it was just left or right, but otherwise it was going pretty good.”
Though Brookfield Central was missing a starter from its lineup, Halverson said Waunakee’s performance wasn’t unexpected.
“That’s a good score from Waunakee,” Halverson said. “It doesn’t totally surprise me. I know they have a good team. They have been going back-and-forth with us all season. It’s a good little battle between the two of us.”