Golfers compete for state berths
Mason Walters is better known for shooting jumpers than sinking putts.
But the Milton High senior showed his accuracy on the greens Monday afternoon when he shot a career-best 37-37—74 to earn one of three individual state berths at the WIAA Division 1 sectional golf tournament hosted by Janesville Craig at Riverside.
Walters, who averaged 21.6 points per game, is headed for Bemidji State (Minn.) this fall on a basketball scholarship.
But Walters, who has been playing golf since he was 10, will cap his high school career with his first trip to state—in golf.
“It seems kind of mixed up with basketball being my sport, but I’ll take it,” Walters said. “We had a two-hour wait until the last group came in. It was a little nerve-wracking. But I’m pretty excited. This is my best competitive round I’ve ever had.”
However, Walters was disappointed that Milton failed to advance as a team, finishing with fifth with a score of 325.
“It’s bittersweet that I get to go to state but my team doesn’t,” he said. “But I’m happy I played well. I hit a lot of greens, and my putting went well. It was just a solid round for me.”
Medalist Andrew Steinhofer of Madison La Follette shot a 1-under par 71, and Elkhorn’s Brock Pogensee also shot a 74 to secure the remaining two individual state berths.
Ian Larson shot an 80 to pace Janesville Craig, which finished sixth at 326.
Lake Geneva Badger brothers Alex and Austin Gaugert both finished in the top eight overall to help propel the Badgers to the sectional team title.
The Gaugerts led Badger to a seven-stroke victory over Beaver Dam, 308-315, as both teams advanced to next Monday’s state tournament at University Ridge in Madison.
“The young guys were kind of nervous. But my brother and I have played in a lot of tournaments before,” said Alex Gaugert, a junior who shot a 73. “I started at four-over through five holes and then made a couple of eagles and a birdie which helped a lot.”
Senior Austin Gaugert struggled to a 43 on the front nine before bouncing back to shoot a 34 over the back nine and finish with a 77. Junior Tyler Cuculi (78) and sophomore Ryan Garske (80) rounded out the scoring for the Badgers. Sophomore Chad Henry shot an 84.
“We’re going to state, which is as far as you can go. I’m stoked to go and see what we can do,” said Austin Gaugert, who along with his brother, Alex, and Cuculi, competed at state for Badger last year when it finished 11th out of 16 teams.
“The experience we gained will help. But I think we’re a better team than last year. We’re shooting the same scores but I think we’re a lot better.”
Elkhorn finished third with a 316 total, just one stoke behind Beaver Dam. Monona Grove was fourth at 321.
Elkhorn’s Jordan Lockhart, who shot par 72 to win the regional title, had a 78 in the sectional and missed an individual state berth by four strokes.
Steinhofer was the only golfer to break par on a course that Lake Geneva Badger coach David DeShambo said was tough but fair.
“We could have had four kids in the 70s today if Garske doesn’t double at the end. We didn’t have that last year,” DeShambo said. “We can definitely be better than last year. We’re taking three of the four guys back from that team.
“If we can get either our four or five guy to come in at 80 or under, we’ll be good.”
DeShambo said he thought his team could shoot a 315 or better entering the day.
“But on this golf course with the pressure,” he said, “I’ll take a 308.”
At Riverside (Par 72)
Lake Geneva Badger 308, Beaver Dam 315, Elkhorn 316, Monona Grove 321, Milton 325, Janesville Craig 326, Sun Prairie 333, Madison La Follette 340.
Andrew Steinhofer (La Follette), 71; Alex Gaugert (Badger), 73; Mason Walters (Milton), 74; Brock Poggensee (Elkhorn), 74; Ben Brooks (Beaver Dam), 75;
Badger (308)—Alex Gaugert, 38-35—73; Austin Gaugert, 43-34—77; Ryan Garske, 40-40—80; Tyler Cuculi. 38-40—78.
Beaver Dam (315)—Ben Brooks, 40-35—75; Jon Wise, 42-38—80; Tanner Brandsma, 41-42—83; Aaron Ehenfeldt, 36-41—77.
Elkhorn (316)—Jordan Lockhart, 39-39—78; Brock Poggensee, 38-36—74; Drew Liner, 39-41—80; Nick Jablonski, 45-39—84.
Monona Grove (321)—Colin Winistorfer, 37-39—76; Gilles Everson, 39-43—82; Zach Schaefer, 39-43—82; Kirby Halverson, 44-37—81.
Milton (325)—Zach Fry, 41-42—83; Justin Ferguson, 43-40—83; Mason Walters, 37-37—74; Jordan Brovick, 42-43—85.
Craig (326)—Greg Ruef, 39-42—81; Ross Peterson, 44-40—84; Ian Larson, 40-40—80; Ryan McCrory, 40-41—81.
Sun Prairie (333)—Tyler Cobb, 41-38—79; Colin Lane, 43-41—84; Travis Kroll, 41-45—86; Ian Keats, 43-41—84.
La Follette (340)—Andrew Steinhofer, 38-33—71; Jake Feuerstein, 39-44—83; Alex Marks, 47-46—93; Matt Polcyn, 46-47—93.
Unattached—Brody Manuel (Beloit Memorial), 40-30—79; Nolan Meier (Beloit Memorial), 39-43—82; Mitch Seubert (Portage), 40-43—83; Andy Johnson (Madison East), 45-40—85; Lee Swan (Portage), 48-38—86; Cody McCulloch (Fort Atkinson), 48-40—88.
-- Lake Geneva Badger, Beaver Dam, Madison La Follette’s Andrew Steinhofer, Milton’s Mason Walters and Elkhorn’s Brock Poggensee advance to the Division 1 state tournament on Monday and Tuesday, June 8-9, at University Ridge in Madison.