Two holes hurt title hopes
When Dan Ozga reflects on his first round at the WIAA Division 2 boys state golf tournament, the Edgerton High senior will be haunted by No. 1 and 2 at University Ridge.
Widely considered two of the easiest holes on the course, Ozga struggled mightily and played them at a combined 5 over par Monday. That’s the major reason Ozga shot a
6-over-par 78 and likely saw his dreams of winning a state title slip away.
“It’s really, really frustrating,” said Ozga, who is playing at state for the third time. “You take out those two holes, and I’m right in it.
“And if I was going to blow up, it shouldn’t have been those two holes. Those are two of the easiest holes out here.”
Osceola’s Charlie Danielson and Platteville’s Josh Udelhofen each carded a 3-under 69 and share the first-round lead. Ozga, meanwhile, is stuck in a tie for 11th place and would need the round of his life to get back into contention.
“I’d have to pull like a 67, maybe a 65,” said Ozga, who did shoot a 67 at The Oaks in Cottage Grove this season. “You never know.”
All Ozga knows today is that he’d love to play No. 1 and 2 again.
Ozga started on the back nine and played that side in a respectable 38. He drained 20-foot birdies at both No. 13 and 14 to get to 1 under par, before bogeying three straight holes.
Still, Ozga felt good making the turn. That quickly changed at the 376-yard, par-4 first hole.
Ozga flew the green with his approach shot and had to take a drop. He then pitched back and two-putted for a double bogey.
Ozga encountered even more trouble at the 515-yard, par-5 second hole when he lost his tee shot, later flew the green and took a triple bogey.
“I’d love to play those two holes over,” he said.
Ozga’s score climbed as high as 8 over before he made a late move. He chipped in from just off the green for birdie at No. 7. Then, on the ninth hole, he stuck a wedge tight and made his birdie putt.
Ozga had shot higher than 74 just twice this year, and the 78 tied his season high. But Ozga—who finished second here last year and 19th in 2008—vowed to end on a high today.
“(Monday’s) round just happened at the wrong time,” he said. “But there’s still one more day, and I can make that a good one.”
In Division 1, Lake Geneva Badger’s Alex Gaugert had an equally frustrating day.
Twelve months ago, Gaugert shared the first-round lead with a 1-under-par 71. This year, though, Gaugert shot a 9-over-par 81 in what he called “my most frustrating round of the year.”
Gaugert, a University of Minnesota recruit, lost three balls and three-putted three holes. Gaugert had a triple bogey on the par-5, 11th hole and played the final three holes at 4-over par.
“This is well below the expectations I had,” Gaugert said. “This was really disappointing.”
Despite Gaugert’s struggles, Badger still battled into a three-way tie for sixth place. Middleton leads the 16-team field with a 304, followed Marquette (305), Arrowhead (306), Kettle Moraine (316) and Green Bay Preble (324). Badger, Green Bay Southwest and Wilmot (327) were all sixth.
Junior Chad Henry, the Badgers’ No. 4 golfer, matched Gaugert with an 81. Junior Ryan Garske shot an 82, and junior Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz shot an 83.
“I thought the team never quit or stopped trying,” Gaugert said. “I thought we fought really hard.”
Elkhorn’s Drew Liner is tied for 44th in Division 1 after shooting an 82. Brodhead’s Jake Cole is tied for 30th in Division 2 after shooting an 83.