Madison Edgewood girls win own Division 2 golf sectional by 38 shots
MIDDLETON — The Madison Edgewood girls golf team decided less stress would mean lower scores at Tuesday’s WIAA Division 2 sectional at Pleasant View Golf Course.
Edgewood posted a comfortable victory at last week’s regional in Prairie du Chien, but its players struggled during their individual rounds.
“I think it was nerves and pressure,” junior Grace Welch said. “Today we just tried to not put pressure on ourselves. We just tried to have fun and do our best, because we know the course.”
Defending Division 2 state runner-up Edgewood, ranked ninth in the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin rankings, shot 337 on the par-71 course and won its own sectional by 38 strokes. Edgewood will make its 21st appearance at the WIAA state girls golf tournament Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge Golf Course.
Arcadia claimed the second state berth with a one-hole playoff victory over Edgerton. Medalist honors went to La Crosse Aquinas senior Annie Balduzzi, who shot a 6-over-par 77 that was three shots better than runner-up Welch. Edgewood sophomore Caitlyn Hegenbarth (82) finished third, Crusaders junior Anaka Leske (84) was fourth and Edgerton senior Makenzie Suhr (86) placed fifth.
“We practiced on things we struggled with the last time and we got better from last week,” said Hegenbarth, a first-team All-Badger South Conference selection this season who finished 10th at state last year. “For me, that was chipping and putting. … Today went really well (for the team).”
The Crusaders won last week’s regional by 50 shots over runner-up Edgerton, with Welch, Hegenbarth, Leske and sophomore Grace Jaeger each shooting 93 and tying for first place.
“Since last week, we really tried to sharpen some of the short-game skills, which have been kind of haunting us this year, especially in pitching and putting,” Crusaders coach Peggy Gierhart said. “We worked on that and we made some progress this week.”
Gierhart said familiarity with the Pleasant View course helped after not getting in a practice round last week in Prairie du Chien. She also said she shared an article, “Inside the Golfer’s Mind,” by Bob Rotella that she believed aided her golfers’ mindsets.
“I’m happy with (my round),” said Welch, a first-team Badger South selection who was fifth at state last year. “I struggled a bit last week. So to shoot 80 is pretty solid for me. I improved my mental state and was a little more positive going into it. If I had a bad hole, I just turned it around.”
While Edgewood’s victory was devoid of drama, the second state berth came down to a playoff after Rock Valley Conference champion Edgerton and Arcadia each shot 375.
All five players from each team played the Woods No. 1 hole, a par 5, with the best four scores counting. Arcadia earned a state trip with four bogeys (24), one shot better than Edgerton.
“We thought we had a shot today,” said Edgerton coach Mary Gallup, who praised assistant Kory Deavers’ coaching efforts during the season. “What was interesting was we thought our nemesis would be Ellsworth. We knew we weren’t going to beat Edgewood, being honest with ourselves. I’m very proud of the girls. They gave it their best effort.”
Arcadia coach Mike Sobotta celebrated his 59th birthday in style.
“I’m happy. What a birthday present,” Sobotta said. “It was very exciting. For people who say golf is not exciting, they should have been here today. I’m happy for the girls. It was something special.”
The top three individuals not on qualifying teams advanced to state, but that wasn’t finalized until the team playoff was completed and an individual playoff was held. In addition to Balduzzi (who was sixth at state last year) and Suhr, Edgerton senior Maddie Perkins (90) moved on to state. Perkins won a one-hole playoff over Osseo-Fairchild’s Keila Kittelson (seven shots to eight).
Wisconsin Dells (389) finished fourth and Ellsworth (393) was fifth.
The Woods (par 36) and Lake (par 35) layouts were used. Rain that fell in the area this week led to the bunkers being out of play and golfers using mark, lift, clean and place.
“It wasn’t too bad,” Welch said. “It was pretty wet, but I didn’t find myself having any casual water trouble, or anything like that. And the lift and place was really helpful. It was a pretty good day out there.”
The sectional originally was scheduled for Yahara Hills Golf Course, but the decision was made last week to shift to Pleasant View due to playing conditions at Yahara because of all the rain.