Piercen Hunt’s exceptional showing at the WIAA Division 1 state boys golf tournament in June cemented what had long been speculated when he showed up at Hartland Arrowhead the previous September for his freshman year: He would be a difference-maker in boys golf.
All Hunt did to start his summer was shoot 72-69 at University Ridge GC in Madison and become the first freshman since River Falls’ Tyler Obermueller in 2002 to win the Division 1 state title as a freshman (doing so by five strokes over Bay Port’s Jed Baranczyk). Hunt also became the first Division 1 golfer to sweep individual and team championships since Mequon Homestead’s Andy Hansen in 2006, helping the Warhawks hold off Milwaukee Marquette by six shots to prevail.
By the end of the summer, Hunt finished second to one -- none other than Marquette University- bound Hunter Eichhorn -- in the Wisconsin PGA Junior player-of-the-year points standings.
The only golfer from the Class of 2020 to finish inside the top 30, Hunt is the obvious choice to be the No. 1-ranked golfer among this year’s sophomore class in the inaugural Wisconsin.Golf ranking of that group. In fact, only five golfers in the top 10 made it to state as freshmen and only Hunt and Division 3 runner-up Drake Wilcox of Sheboygan Lutheran (No. 2) medaled.
At least five golfers in the top 25 were unable to crack the top five for their schools as many of the golfers in this class forged their identity over the summer months in WPGA Junior events.
Milwaukee Marquette’s Jack Lutze, an alternate on the Hilltoppers’ state runner-up team, was one of them. Ranked third in this class, he came on late in the summer with two top-five finishes at WPGA Players Tour events and a sixth at a Fall Junior Tour event at Brown Deer Park GC in Milwaukee, breaking 80 in each of the last five competitive rounds he played in 2017.
Kenosha Tremper’s Cameron Huss, who lost in a playoff at the Franklin sectional for the final state berth, and Westosha Central’s Paul Lynch, who qualified in Division 1 with the Falcons and tied for 77th, rounded out the top five. Lynch lost 11-and-10 to Hunt in the 36-hole championship match of the 15-and-under age group at the Wisconsin Junior Masters in Racine this past July.
Menomonee Falls’ Marty Swab, honored this week for his fundraising work on behalf of the Wisconsin PGA Junior Foundation scholarships, led the second five. He was the WSGA State 14-and-under Championship.
Rounding out the top 10 were: West De Pere’s Jamozzy Skenadore, a dominant force since 2014 on the WPGA Futures Tour; Merrill’s Russell Dettmering, who many believe has the skill set to challenge Hunt but doesn’t have as many competitive rounds under his belt; Bay Port’s Preston Cedergren and Rice Lake’s Simon Cuskey, the other state qualifiers among those in the top 10.