Local golfers shine at state
Gaugert had just carded a 1-under-par 71 in the WIAA Division 1 boys state golf meet held at University Ridge. That left him in a three-way tie for first individually with Hartland Arrowhead’s Steve Sorenson and Wausau East senior Anthony Aicher.
Perhaps even more exciting, though, was the fact the Badgers sat in a tie for second place as a team. Badger High shot a 303, which left it seven shots behind two-time defending champion Arrowhead.
Those two teams will be joined by Kettle Moraine (304) and Milwaukee Marquette (305) in the last group for today’s final 18 holes.
“I’m ecstatic,” Gaugert said. “I’m OK with my round. I could always play better, but I’m happy where I’m at. But I’m really happy for the team. We’ll take that every time.”
Gaugert wasn’t the only area golfer on cloud nine.
In Division 2, Edgerton junior Dan Ozga held a two-shot lead after firing a 1-under-par, 71. Ozga hit 14 greens in regulation and putted extremely well.
“My putting was really good,” said Ozga, who tied for 19th here last year. “I didn’t have any three-putts.”
Ozga started on the back nine, where he shot a 1-over-par, 37. Then he really got moving on the front
Ozga made a two-foot birdie putt at No. 2, a 15-footer for birdie at No. 7 and seven pars. But the highlight came at No. 9, where Ozga rolled in a 50-footer to save par rolled in a 50-footer to save par and remain in the red.
“At about 15 feet, I thought it had a chance,” Ozga said of his thrilling putt at No. 9. “I was pretty shocked.”
While much of the state was shocked to see Badger near the leaderboard, the Badgers weren’t. And the story of Gaugert—and Badger—has become one of the more compelling ones at this state tournament for one simple reason.
“Nobody knows about us,” said senior Austin Gaugert, a Valparaiso University recruit. “We’re kind of down there all by ourselves, and we kind of always get overlooked or forgotten about. But we knew we had a chance here.”
Indeed they do, thanks in large part to the Gaugert brothers.
Alex Gaugert was 1 over par through 12 holes when he got red-hot. He drilled a 15-foot putt for birdie at No. 13, and after two straight pars, he made a 10-foot birdie putt on the par-5, 16th.
Gaugert bogeyed No. 17 and slipped back to par. But on the 18th, Gaugert knocked his 98-yard approach to 15 feet, then drained the birdie putt in front of several spectators.
“I can’t complain,” Alex Gaugert said. “You can’t win the tournament on the first day, but you can lose it. And I certainly didn’t lose it.”
Austin Gaugert also had a solid day and finished with a 1-over-par 73. Gaugert made the turn at 1-under-par 35, then shot 4 over on the next three holes. But he closed extremely strong with a 6-foot birdie putt at No. 13 and a 12-footer for birdie on the 18th.
“I’ll take it,” said Austin Gaugert, who’s 13 months older than his brother. “After the front, I thought my score was going to be really nice. But I’m still in position to do some good things.”
So are the Badgers, thanks to big days by the rest of their team.
Sophomore Ryan Garske, who plays No. 3, shot a 79. Garske had a roller-coaster day that featured four birdies between holes 7-12, but six straight bogeys to finish.
And No. 5 Chad Henry carded an 80, in which he shot 1-over par, 37 on the back nine.
“Our whole team came up really big,” Alex Gaugert said.
In other Division 1 action, Elkhorn’s Brock Poggensee shot an 81 that included three birdies on the back nine, but also a pair of triple bogeys. Mason Walters of Milton carded an 89 after having the best round of his career, a 2-over-par 74, in the Janesville Sectional.