30-foot putt puts Parker in big event
For well-tenured Katie Brossard, the biggest, most heart-stopping birdie putt of her life kept her high school career going Wednesday afternoon.
Janesville Parker’s No. 1 golfer willed her Vikings to next week’s WIAA state meet at University Ridge in Madison with a 30-foot, uphill dagger on the 18th green during a Division 1 sectional at Rainbow Springs.
Parker’s 364 total strokes edged Milton by a single shot and earned the Vikings their first trip to state in the program’s 16-year history.
“It’s a very gratifying moment for our program, and it was gratifying to see Katie make such a big-time putt,” Parker coach John Zimmerman said. “Now, and through next week, shot by shot, we’re going to soak in the moment.”
By making par on the final hole, Milton’s Ashton Stair carded a second-place finish with an 83 and earned a second straight individual state berth.
Kettle Moraine won the sectional and a state berth with 353 strokes. Waukesha freshman Emily Jors took medalist honors and the top individual qualifying spot with a 78, and Isabella Lambert of Waukesha Memorial punched her ticket to state with an 84.
Brossard, who finished with an 85, and Stair were essentially face-up on the final hole, unbeknownst to them as the unofficial scenario only found its way to several of the parents, coaches, friends and teammates who had surrounded the final green.
Stair crushed her drive on the 299-yard par 4, but it found the rough left of the fairway, about 75 yards from the pin. Brossard’s drive left her some 110 yards as it found the first cut along the left side of the fairway.
Stair’s approach barely reached the far-left portion of the green, while Brossard’s attempt crawled onto the dance floor, but left her with a lot of work.
Stair’s 30-foot, left-to-right-breaking putt, like so many of her shots, had perfect pace, but nestled about 20 inches to the left of the cup. Then, with Stair lifting the pin for her, Brossard drilled her putt dead center.
Stair knew it was good before it dropped.
“From the moment it left her putter, it looked really good,” Stair said. “She deserved it. Overall, she played a great round.”
“It’s probably highest on the list of things I’ve done,” Brossard said. “I just couldn’t believe it went in.”
And was Brossard ever grateful. She knew there could be a two-stroke swing had the well-struck ball gone past the hole, where a downhill slope awaited it.
“I was so relieved, because it would’ve rolled right off the back of the green,” Brossard said.
Molly Rozeboom matched Brossard’s 85 for the Vikings, while Amanda Becker shot a 95, and Parker’s No. 5 golfer, Jennifer Polglaze, shot a 99. Karlee McCue shot an 89 in the No. 2 group for Milton, while twin sisters Stephanie (93) and Laura (100) Stair and Val Arnold (100) rounded out the Red Hawks’ scorecard.
Janesville Craig, led by Lindsey Beals’ 90, placed fifth with 397 shots. Lake Geneva Badger had no sub-100 golfer and took seventh with 434 strokes.
The event, postponed Tuesday by showers, opened to more overcast skies and gusting winds, but no rainfall. By noon, the sky was cloudless, and the wind had calmed, although the course remained quite soggy throughout the nearly eight hours of golf that took place.
“You had to stay focused on what you had to do, because at one point we played two holes in an hour,” Brossard said.
Brossard’s clutch putt was an exhibition in perseverance. She shanked several of her early drives to the left, but scrambled well. She’d found the hazard three times, and intermittent three-putts had her slapping her hip in frustration and taking frenzied practice strokes after a few of her attempts.
“It’s just years and years of experience,” Brossard said. “You learn you have to keep moving, no matter what.”
It’s a good thing Zimmerman urges his players to focus on every shot throughout every match, as the Vikings came through with myriad great plays like Becker’s slick up and down on No. 14. Credit the even-keel Rozeboom, who bounced back from a penalty stroke and a double bogey on the par-5 No. 15 by sticking the tee shot within 12 feet on the following par 3.
Stair reflected on her first season golfing with her twin siblings and plans to bring the whole family to Madison next season.
“Next year, we’ll be able to pull it off,” Stair said. “We don’t want to be in this situation again.”
Brossard, who has golfed a quite a bit with Stair, can empathize with her friendly competitor after three straight near-misses.
“I’m so excited there aren’t even words for it, because we’ve been so close every single year; it’s always been a matter of a couple shots,” Brossard said.
WIAA girls golf
At Rainbow Springs (Par 72)
Kettle Moraine 353, Janesville Parker 364, Milton 365, Waukesha co-op 389, Janesville Craig 397, Mukwonago 408, Lake Geneva Badger 434, Waukesha Memorial 454.
Emily Joers (Waukesha co-op), 78; Ashton Stair (Milton), 83; April Ohlendorf (Kettle Moraine), 83; Isabella Lambert (Waukesha Memorial), 84.
Kettle Moraine (353)—April Ohlendorf, 45-38—83; Anna Vollbrecht, 45-49—94; Leighann Cabush, 41-48—99; Katie McCann, 48-39—87.
Parker (364)—Katie Brossard, 43-42—85; Molly Rozeboom, 43-42—85; Amanda Becker, 48-47—95; Jennifer Polglaze, 50-49—99.
Milton (365)—Ashton Stair, 44-39—83; Karlee McCue, 45-44—89; Stephanie Stair, 47-46—93; Laura Stair, 51-49—100.
Waukesha co-op (389)—Emily Joers, 39-39—78; Brandi Rajala, 44-52—96; Hannah Ockelmann, 52-52—104; Morgan Abraham, 54-57—111.
Craig (397)—Lindsey Beals, 45-45—90; Kyleigh Fenton, 49-47—96; Sarah Sheldon, 50-54—104; Lizzy Conley, 55-52—107.
Mukwonago (408)—Sam Lyons, 52-50—102; Katie Christiansen, 52-50—102; Kelsey Fritts, 50-52—102; Lauren Kolb, 51-51—102.
Badger (434)—Annie Gaugert, 57-54—111; Kathleen Schneider, 58-50—108; Claire Schneider, 54-55—109; Bergen Quaerna, 52-54—106.
Waukesha Memorial (454)—Isabella Lambert, 40-44—84; Lauren Seubert, 46-54—100; Brittany Weber, 59-59—118; Sam Staskiewicz, 78-74—152.
Michelle Jacobson (Fort Atkinson), 45-45—90; Kailee Wahler (Wilmot), 48-51—99; Casie Hewitt (Burlington), 50-49—99; Rebecca Russell (Elkhorn), 51-55—106; Samantha Biel (Waterford), 57-52—109; Maggie Luchsinger (Elkhorn), 61-55—116; Sammi Rogers (Elkhorn), 59-61—120; Brianna Sewell (Burlington), 62-60—122.
-- Kettle Moraine, Janesville Parker, Waukesha co-op’s Emily Joers, Milton’s Ashton Stair and Waukesha Memorial’s Isabella Lambert qualify for the WIAA state meet at University Ridge in Madison on Monday and Tuesday, Oct. 12-13.