The leader of the Wisconsin State Women’s Open on Tuesday at the Janesville Country Club has been there before.
Not at the Country Club, but in first place in the tournament.
The second-place golfer after the first of two rounds might be excused if there’s any mental lapses in her game.
She’s getting married in two weeks.
There was a 15-year-old who missed out on playing in this year’s WIAA State Girls Tournament, but who shot a 79.
And then there was at least one golfer who played hooky to tee it up.
There are many stories at the Wisconsin State Women’s Open.
Tess Hackworthy of Madison leads the list. Hackworthy just finished her third year at the University of Wisconsin.
She has won this tournament the past two years. Hackworthy set herself up for a possible three-peat by shooting a 2-under 71, playing in the third of 22 groups.
That turned out to be the only sub-par round among the 65 golfers.
“I’m really pleased,” Hackworthy said of the round, which put her two shots up on Mikayla Hauck of Cottage Grove. “It was not a breeze, but definitely a lot of patience. Especially with the greens so speedy, being below the hole is very important.”
Hackworthy, despite winning two straight State Women’s Opens, decided to redshirt this past season on the Badgers’ golf team.
“We had five seniors on our team this year, and they were all good, talented players,” Hackworthy said. “Redshirting gave me a chance to maximize my time at the University. The way my credits work, I was going to be there longer than four years, anyway.
“The NCAA gives you this opportunity to take a year and practice and get better,” Hackworthy said. “It was tough not to compete, but I found a new role on the team in terms of leadership. I got to welcome the new players onto the team, so I really enjoyed it.”
Another golfer who enjoyed her Tuesday first round was Hauck, who shot an even-par 73.
Hauck said managing her way around the course—especially the treacherous back nine that gave others fits—was the key.
“I was just like, ‘All right, don’t do something stupid here,’” she said of her round. “It worked out well.”
Hauck has played two seasons on the Eastern Kentucky women’s team. Her sophomore season was better than her first year.
“Maturing in my game was a big difference,” she said. “My freshman year, I was like all in my head.”
Hauck’s head likely is spinning right now. She is set to be married June 30.
“It’s crazy,” she said. “Last night, I went to bed late doing wedding stuff. This morning, I got up early to do wedding stuff.”
She pushed the “wedding stuff” out of her head for a few hours in the humid conditions Tuesday.
That won’t be as easy in today’s final round. Hauck’s fiancée is scheduled to caddie for her today.
Stoughton’s Rebecca Klongland is in third place at 2-over, five shots behind Hackworthy. Klongland birdied two of the first three holes, but was “up and down” after that.
Klongland, one of the five seniors on the UW team that convinced Hackworthy to redshirt, played just one practice round at the Country Club to prepare for the tournament.
“The course is kind of short compared to the ones I’m used to in college,” Klongland said. “This is definitely a course where you have to hit your spots. There are little corners out there.”
Emily Lauterbach of Hartland and Jenna Peters of Kohler are tied for fourth at 3-over.
Seeman drives well
Mia Seeman, a recent graduate of Milton High, is in a two-way tie for sixth at 4-over, six shots behind Hackworthy.
“I played pretty well,” Seeman said. “I hit almost all the fairways. I hit my driver well.
“It was just a few irons that left out to the right. Got to swing through.”
And then there was 15-year-old Rachel Kauflin, who just completed her sophomore year at Waukesha West High.
Kauflin lost in a playoff in the sectional last fall and did not qualify for the WIAA state girls tournament, but she did earn Conference Player of the Year honors.
She delivered a six-over 79 Tuesday and is tied for ninth place.
With her father caddying, she was truly in awe afterward.
“This is the most amazing round I ever shot,” Kauflin said. “I really don’t think it sunk in yet.”
Milton’s CheyAnn Knudsen, a UW-Whitewater golfer, shot a 9-over 82 in the first group of the day.
Taylor Hakala, who will begin her senior season at Milton High in the fall, shot an 84 and is tied for 22nd.
Ellyn Subak, of Janesville, shot a 92, and Janesville Parker sophomore Sophia Dooman came in with a 93.
Golf instead of movies
Dooman had never played the Country Club, and she was unlike the vast majority of the players who were bit by the back nine.
“It was definitely the front nine,” she said.
She entered to prepare for her future in the sport.
“It’s a longer distance, and I want to play college golf,” she said. “Play it and get a feel for it.”
Dooman still was technically a sophomore at Parker when she teed off just past 2 p.m. When she got done, she was a junior-to-be.
She skipped school?
“Yes, today was the last day,” Dooman said. “We were just watching movies anyway.”
Hackworthy hopes she has a movie-type performance today to cap a third-straight title.
She sounded confident after her 2-under 71.
“It might be a little different tomorrow if we continue to have dry weather and a little sun,” Hackworthy said. “But I like them at this speed. These speeds really fit my stroke.”