CheyAnn Knudsen was coming off a tough second round, and University of Wisconsin-Whitewater head coach Andrea Wieland knew she needed her senior to bounce back on the final day if the Warhawks were going to earn their thir straight conference championship.
“She’s (Knudsen) a player I know if I say, ‘I need you right now,’ she’s like, ‘I got it,’” said Wieland, who has coached Knudsen for years since they were both part of the Milton High School program.
Knudsen carded a score in the third round that was 10 strokes better than her score in the second round, helping the Warhawks capture their third straight WIAC golf title Sunday at Reedsburg Country Club.
The Warhawks’ three-day score of 933 (314-314-305) set a conference and program record.
“This was pretty amazing,” Wieland said. “I think they (conference championships) only get sweeter.”
The score was eight strokes better than runner-up UW-Stout.
After an 83 in round two, Knudsen tied a career best with a 73 in her final round on her way to finishing with a 232 (76-83-73).
“I started off really well with my irons,” Knudsen said of her final round. “Usually I’m a little bit shaky with my irons. I can usually hit every fairway and my putting and short game is usually super good, but sometimes my irons can get me in trouble. Today, my irons were spot on.”
“I knew she was going to pull through for us,” Wieland said.
The score was good for third overall in the 64-player field. UW-Stout’s Trystin Kluess won with a tournament-record 226.
The Warhawks had four other players in the top 10, with three earning medals with top-eight finishes.
Senior Ashley Hofmeister tied for fourth overall with a 233. Hofmeister shot a 77 on the first day, a 79 in the second round and a 77 again in her final round.
Senior Kristin Bowe placed sixth overall with a score of 236. Bowe started off the tournament with an 81, carded a 78 in the second round and tied a career best with a 77 in her third round.
Bowe posted a personal best and her score was counted for the Warhawks in all three rounds out of the No. 5 spot in the lineup.
Finishing eighth overall in the field was senior Kelly Storti, who fired a 238 (84-76-78). Sophomore Ashton Sinak tied for 10th with a 240 (80-81-79).
Play was suspended Saturday, and the second round was finished Sunday morning. The break in play in round two was much needed for the Warhawks, who were struggling to perform given the rainy conditions.
“We just said we were blessed by the golf gods that we got that delay with the rain,” Knudsen said. “It was like a halftime; we needed that.”
Added Wieland, “It was just horrible conditions and when things started to go bad, it just kept raining and it can be hard to get out of that funk. We definitely needed a timeout.”
They got it, they reset and they wrapped up their third consecutive title.
“It’s just so exciting to be a part of,” Wieland said. “I had goosebumps today from some of the shots they hit.”
With the conference championship, the Warhawks earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Division III Championship.
“I’m very grateful for the opportunity I’ve been able to have,” Knudsen said. “My team is amazing. We have such a great chemistry with each other and we’ve worked really hard for the past three consecutive championships.”