On Tuesday, Tess Hackworthy’s ball striking took her to the top of the leaderboard at the Wisconsin State Women’s Open.
On Wednesday, her short game kept her there.
Hackworthy used her chipping game to mostly stay out of trouble at the Janesville Country Club on her way to firing a three-over 76 in the second round. That was good enough for a two-day total of 1-over 147, and she captured her third straight State Women’s Open title by four strokes over Cottage Grove’s Mikayla Hauck.
“Yesterday I felt a little bit more comfortable over the ball ... but today my short game was definitely there to save me and keep me going,” said Hackworthy, a 21-year-old who just wrapped up her junior year at University of Wisconsin. “It feels great to win again. It’s a great field out here, like it is every year.
“I’m very honored.”
Hackworthy joined Carolyn Barnett-Howe (2005-07) and Malinda Johnson (08-10) as the only players to win the tournament three years in a row. The event has been played since 1997.
“Coming into a tournament knowing you’ve won the previous year puts a little bit of extra pressure on you,” Hackworthy said. “I think it’s good that my mental game is there, that I can handle some of that extra pressure.”
For much of the second round, it was Hackworthy battling her UW women’s golf teammate Becky Klongland.
Hackworthy was up two strokes on Klongland as they made the turn for the final nine holes, but her lead ballooned to six strokes by the time she teed off No. 13.
There, however, and at No. 14, Hackworthy carded back-to-back bogeys. And when Klongland birdied 14, she was quickly back within three shots.
Hackworthy got back to her up-and-down ways at Nos. 15 and 16 however. She chipped close and made par putts at both, shaking off the bogeys.
Those pars kept Klongland at bay.
“The greens are really small, so miss it at all and you have to try and get up and down, which was kind of me out there all day today,” Hackworthy said. “”There were a lot of up-and-downs going on, including a couple more I wish I would have had. But 15 and 16 were good momentum to bring me to the last stretch of holes.”
Klongland’s tee shot on the par-four 17th landed slope-side on the 18th tee box, an unlucky break that wound up leaving her with a triple bogey and tie for third place.
Hauck, meanwhile, hit her approach on the tough 17th (the hole played more than a stroke above par and produced just two birdies) to tap-in range for a birdie and a second-place finish.
“The front nine I just had a couple putting mishaps, and it got in my head. At the turn, I was like, all right, let’s just calm down ... and it ended up better,” said Hauck, who played the back nine in even par. “Lots of slope (on the greens), and you’ve really got to pay attention. They’re really hard to read, too.
“I’ve never finished second in the Wisconsin Women’s Open before, or even close to that. It means a lot to play well this week, especially with our wedding coming up soon (June 30).
“I’m really happy about everything.”
Kohler’s Jenna Peters joined Klongland in third place at 152, and another UW golfer, Aya Johnson (153), shot a second day-best 75 to round out the top five.
Mia Seeman, who recently celebrated her graduation from Milton High School, followed her first-round 77 with a 78 and was sixth.
“Up-and-downs were really important, because the greens are really small,” said Seeman, who will play collegiately at South Dakota State after a few more tournaments this summer. “I like this course, though. Some of the holes really suit my eye. I feel like my driver is pretty good, but my short game and putting could use a little work.”
But the day, and the tournament, belonged to Hackworthy and her short game.
Though she had a three-putt bogey on the 17th, she closed out her round with a downhill tester of a par putt on 18, and it fell right in the heart of the hole.
It marked not only a three-peat but a strong start to the summer for Hackworthy, who redshirted this past season at UW and is getting back into competition mode.
“I think my next event is the Women’s Western,” Hackworthy said, referencing a tournament in Romeoville, Illinois, the last week of June. “It’s another very competitive field. I have some more things to work on, obviously, but I’m pleased with the way I left my game today.”
Wisconsin State Women’s Open
At Janesville Country Club (73)
Tess Hackworthy 71-76—147
Mikayla Hauck 73-78—151
Jenna Peters 76-76—152
Becky Klongland 75-77—152
Aya Johnson 78-75—153
Mia Seeman 77-78—155
Taylor McCorkle 79-78—157
Carly Werwie 79-79—158
Emily Lauterbach 76-82—158
Jo Baranczyk 79-80—159
Julie Pyne Van Hoosen 79-80—159
Grace Dunn 77-82—159
Allison Schultz 82-78—160
Ashley Kulka 81-79—160
Alexis Thomas 83-79—162
OTHER AREA FINISHERS
T17. CheyAnn Knudsen 82-83—165; Kate Engler 87-79—166; Taylor Hakala 84-92—176; Holly Murphy 90-88—177; Ellyn Subak 92-88—180; Sophia Dooman 93-91—184