Milton golfer's wait pays off in state tourney berth
Playing in the first foursome at the WIAA Division 1 sectional at Evergreen Golf Course, the Milton High junior posted an 80 and was the early clubhouse leader.
Two hours later, Fry’s wait turned out to be well worth it.
Fry’s 80 was good enough for third-place overall, including first among individual qualifiers, as he earned a trip to the WIAA state tournament at University Ridge on Monday and Tuesday.
Lake Geneva Badger, behind a pair of 78s from brothers Alex and Austin Gaugert, won the team title with a 334 total. Beloit Memorial was second at 337 and also advanced.
Elkhorn finished a disappointing third (344) on its home course, while Janesville Craig tied Sun Prairie for fourth at 347.
Fry joined Sun Prairie’s Andrew Cobb and Oconomowoc’s Taylor Johnson as an extra qualifier, but not without a few anxious moments.
“It was pretty intense,” Fry said of the two hours he spent pacing back and forth while scores were posted. “I had to wait for almost 2 1/2 hours before I knew I had made it.
“The funny part is that this course doesn’t really set up for my game. I long to bomb it, and that can get you in trouble on this course.”
Fry, who has been working on his game with former University of Wisconsin golfer Kirk Wieland, shot 39 on the front and 41 on the back. He three-putted No. 18 for a 7, but the hiccup did not hurt him in the end.
“My stroke coach (Wieland) came up with a game plan for today, and I stuck with it. It was just a matter of executing each and every shot to the best of my ability.”
Tricky pin placements made life tough for many of the golfers, including Craig’s No. 1 player, Charlie Roherty. The senior, who was medalist at the regional meet and a former sectional champion, said many pin placements bordered on being unfair.
“There were a couple of holes where if you had a downhill putt, you had no chance of stopping it,” Roherty said. “I actually didn’t play that bad (86), but when you can’t get a ball to stop rolling on the green, it makes it tough to putt.”
Craig’s team made the turn in excellent shape, but struggled on the back nine. All five of the Cougars had higher scores on the back than on the front. Senior Mike Tabbert led the Cougars with an 83.
“We were looking good after nine holes,” Craig coach Mike Wesling said of the possibility of qualifying for state. “But things didn’t go our way on the back nine. There were some awfully tough pin placements.
“It was still a good year, and I’m really proud of the contributions the seniors gave to the program,” Wesling said of Roherty, Tabbert and Mike Hainstock.
Elkhorn, the Southern Lakes Conference champion, was led by junior Jordan Lockhart’s 82.
Madison La Follette’s Andrew Steinhofer, the Big Eight Conference tournament medalist, and course record-holder at University Ridge with a 66, shot 84 and failed to qualify for state.
Steinhofer’s teammate and Northern Illinois recruit, Max Hosking, did not play after he was ruled ineligible after attending a December party where alcohol was served.
At Evergreen (Par 72)
(Top two qualify for state)
Lake Geneva Badger 334, Beloit Memorial 337, Elkhorn 344, Janesville Craig and Sun Prairie 347, Monona Grove 357, Oconomowoc 370, Madison La Follette 395.
Austin Gaugert (Badger), 78; Alex Gaugert (Badger), 78; Zach Frey (Milton), 80; Nolan Meier (Beloit), 81; Tyler Cobb (Sun Prairie), 81; Taylor Johnson (Oconomowoc), 81.
Badger (334)—Alex Gaugert, 35-43—78; Austin Gaugert, 41-37—78; Sam Michalove, 45-43—88; Tyler Cuculi, 43-47—90.
Beloit (337)—Eric Lang, 42-42—84; Ethan Dahlberg, 43-45—88; Brody Mauel, 43-41—84; Nolan Meier, 41-40—81.
Elkhorn (344)—Jordan Lockhart, 41-41—82; Luke Poggensee, 45-45—90; Richard Kessler, 42-46—88; Drew Liner, 42-42—84.
Craig (347)—Charlie Roherty, 42-44—86; Greg Ruef, 39-51—90; Mike Tabbert, 39-44—83; Mike Hainstock, 43-45—88.
Sun Prairie (347)—Andrew Cobb, 42-45—87; Tommy Schoewe, 47-42—89; Tyler Cobb, 40-41—81; Mike Munz, 42-48—90.
Monona Grove (357)—Gilles Everson, 43-45—88; Devin Marks, 40-48—88; Nick Douglas, 45-43—88; Ryan Dilley, 47-46—93.
Oconomowoc (370)—Taylor Johnson, 37-44—81; Jackson Milford, 49-52—101; Matt Schram, 49-50—99; Brendan Connelly, 44-45—89.
La Follette (395)—Andrew Steinhofer, 38-46—84; Kevin Douglas, 54-50—104; Jacob Feurstein, 51-50—101; Garrett Heise, 55-51—106.
Unattached—Zach Fry (Milton), 39-41—80; Evan Wartgow (Fort Atkinson), 37-45—82; Ben Brooks (Beaver Dam), 42-42—84; Cody Smith (DeForest), 44-44—88; Brock Fischer (Watertown), 46-46—92; Andrew Tearman (Janesville Parker), 45-48—93.
n Badger, Beloit Memorial, Milton’s Zach Fry, Sun Prairie’s Andrew Cobb and Oconomowoc’s Taylor Johnson qualify for the Division 1 state tournament next Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge.