JANESVILLE

Janesville Parker’s boys golf team had a chance to finish in the top half of one of the state’s top conferences this spring.

Led by seniors Zack Milner and Ryan Zimmerman, the Vikings would have likely held their own in the Big Eight.

Thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, we will never know, but Parker coach Sam Van Galder said he was expecting big things from his team, led by the dynamic duo.

“You really feel bad for those two, because I think they were both going to have really good years,” Van Galder said. “Zack was looking a little stronger and driving the ball a little longer than in the past. And Ryan really worked hard on his game over the winter and had taken some lessons.

“I think they both had a chance to average somewhere in the 70s this season, and that’s not easy to do.”

Milner was one shot away from qualifying for the WIAA state meet last season. He shot a 75 at the Division 1 Mukwonago Sectional but lost in a playoff for the final individual state berth.

“I know that really pushed him in the offseason,” Van Galder said of the playoff loss. “He would’ve been our No. 1 golfer again this season.

“The biggest thing with Zack is his consistency. He was good enough to shoot in the low 70s one round, but then might struggle his next round. I think he had worked really hard on not letting one bad hole or one bad shot affect him as much. I think you would’ve seen his stroke average really come down this year.”

Van Galder said Milner is set to attend Keiser University, an NAIA school in Florida, where he’ll be part of the golf academy curriculum.

Zimmerman was the team’s most improved player last season. He did not go out for golf his freshman year before joining the team as a sophomore.

He took 10 shots off his stroke average as a junior, and thanks to individual lessons had elevated his game. A more consistent driver and a much-improved short game were the biggest improvements.

“I had really worked hard on my game, and felt like my best golf was ahead of me,” Zimmerman said. “And along with Zack, I was really looking forward to being a leader on the team and working with the younger guys coming up.

“But like someone said, you can only control the controllables. Hopefully I’ll still be able to play in some summer tournaments.”

Zimmerman plans to attend UW-La Crosse in the fall and major in accounting.

Milner and Zimmerman will not get a chance to show off their new and improved games this spring. That might be a break for the rest of the Big Eight Conference.

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