The friendly competition between Janesville Parker’s boys golfers began during the offseason.
It has continued through the first few rounds this spring and seems to be at least part of the reason the Vikings are off to a torrid start.
They followed up Friday’s program-record round of 294 with a 303 at Glen Erin Golf Club on Saturday, breaking the 600 mark and cruising to the Tri-City Championship with a 597 two-day total. Janesville Craig was second at 657.
“We’ve been practicing all winter, all five of us, trying to get up at least once a week to Vitense (Golfland in Madison),” said Parker senior Spencer Orley, who shot a career-best 1-over 72 on Saturday. “It’s kind of feeling like we can make a big impact this year, that we can play good and compete against good teams.
“I expected this of us a little bit later. I hope we can keep it up.”
Parker has played four rounds this season. In the three where its current top five golfers were available to be in the lineup, the Vikings shot 302, 294 and 303.
The 303 Saturday came on a day where senior Matt Zimmerman, who was 10 under through his first three rounds of the year, said he didn’t have his best game and shot 77. Sophomore Kadin Kleman fired his a second consecutive 74.
Orley said the golfers get together after every round and compare scores hole-by-hole, giving each other a little friendly grief when necessary.
Parker coach Sam Van Galder also shook up the lineup Saturday, putting his five players out in order of their best scores from Friday. That meant Orley, typically playing in the No. 2 slot, went to the No. 4 spot. He responded by needing eight fewer putts and improving his score by seven shots.
“I’m just super impressed. Nobody is getting down on themselves, and they’re all buying in to the team aspect of it,” Van Galder said. “It’s fun and makes my job easier.”
Craig coach Joe Kapugia said he couldn’t help but be impressed by Parker’s hot start.
He was also pleased to see his Cougars team take 25 shots off its Friday performance, turning in a 316 on Saturday behind a 74 from Connor Kelly.
“That’s building some confidence and showing them they can do it,” Kapugia said. “Some mental errors hurt us yesterday, and we came out with a little different perspective today.
“Connor has put in the time and effort in the offseason, and he comes out and shoots a personal best. Next time it might be Skylar (Mashak). Those two, one of them needs to step up every time. It’s the fourth guy. Our top three are pretty solid.”
Craig and Parker will see each other, both home and away, again to open this week. They’re playing Monday in Edgewood’s invite at Blackhawk Country Club in Madison and then play, along with Middleton, in Big Eight Conference play back at Glen Erin on Tuesday.
Van Galder knows his red-hot team will likely hit a lull at some point this spring but is doing his best to help keep his team stay focused on the present.
“Monday we’re at Blackhawk (Country Club in Madison), which is always a little tough for kids, but we’re excited to see some other teams and see where we stack up,” Van Galder said.
“We’ve just got to let the results speak for themselves, and right now they’re pretty good. We’re definitely riding a high. It’s a long—but quick—season. We might slip back a little bit, but the potential is there.”
At Glen Erin GC (71)
Janesville Parker 294-303—597, Janesville Craig 341-316—657, Fort Atkinson 346-329—675, Beloit 376-371—747
Parker (303)—Matt Zimmerman 36-41—77, Kadin Klemen 38-36—74, Nik Sitter 37-43—80, Spencer Orley 33-39—72
Craig (316)—Kade Salemi 37-42—79, Dan Thomsen 38-42—80, Anthony Schrader 37-46—83, Connor Kelly 37-37—74
Fort (329)—Derek Vaillancourt 38-41—79, Tyler Vaillancourt 38-35—73, Nathan Schultz 43-43—86, Caleb Larsen 44-47—91
Beloit (371)—Jim Santas 46-54—100, Will Klobucar 44-45—89, Kris Johnson 46-45—91, Devin Wolf 43-48—91