MADISON -- Her encore performance to last year's WIAA state girls golf championship sweep began Monday at University Ridge GC with the kind of start that made Emily Lauterbach admittedly a bit greedy.
The Hartland Arrowhead junior opened defense of her WIAA Division 1 individual title with a birdie-birdie start at Nos. 10 and 11 before she "got ahead of herself." How many birdies could she make? Where would the next one come? How low could she go?
The humbling answer came in the form of back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 13 and 14. Call it a reality check that reminded Lauterbach even-par isn't such a bad score.
On this drop-dead gorgeous October day, it was second to one (Milton's Mia Seeman) and Lauterbach's even-par 72 put the defending state champion Warhawks atop the leaderboard with a 312 total and a 13-shot lead on Milton. Brookfield Central (326) was the only other team within 25 shots of the lead.
"I did get too far ahead of myself," said Lauterbach, who bogeyed Nos. 13 and 14 after her quick start to drop back to even-par. "My teammates had to calm me down. I got way too ahead of myself. ... I was like 'I gotta birdie. I gotta do this.' And then I'd hit a bad tee shot. ... I was trying to go too far."
Seeman, who tied for fourth a year ago, let the round come to her.
The South Dakota State recruit started on No. 10 and made six straight pars before making an eagle at the par-5 16th hole. She gave one shot back with a bogey at No. 18 making the turn and stayed at 1-under after seven pars, a birdie (at the par-5 second) and a bogey (at the par-4 fourth).
"I feel pretty good," Seeman said. "I mean I left a few shots out there with my chipping. Other than that, everything was going well."
In fact, Seeman said she felt at ease from the very start playing in the same group as Lauterbach, Onalaska's Erin Ericson and Middleton's Payton Hodson.
Credit for that goes to Lauterbach, according to Seeman. She kept everyone in the group loose, especially during long waits on a couple of par-5 holes.
"Emily really settled me down," Seeman said. "She really broke the ice on the first hole. She made everyone laugh and stuff. It was pretty cool."
Lauterbach, meanwhile, was laughing at and not with her 38 putts on the green. Still, her round was good enough to boost her team into the lead.
Fox Valley Lutheran's Erika Priebe parred her final four holes and was the first of four golfers to reach the clubhouse with an 8-over-par 80. She would be joined by Sydney Brandt of Waukesha Catholic Memorial, Grace Welch of Madison Edgewood and Kate Munro of Racine Prairie School atop the crowded leaderboard.
"I'm sure there were some nerves," said Arrowhead coach Mike Breaker, whose team also counted a 78 from Sarah Ernst, an 80 from Gianna Gastrow and an 82 from Skyler Phillips in taking a double-digit lead on Milton. "And then she got off to a great start and sometimes you put the pedal to the metal too much and really start pushing instead of just letting it come."
Milton (325) had four golfers break 90 -- Seeman (71), Taylor Hakala (81), Claudia Seeman (84) and Holly Gunnick (89) -- to keep the Red Hawks ahead of Brookfield Central by one. The Lancers got a 75 from No. 1 golfer Emily Balding, an 81 from No. 4 golfer Sophia Sun and a pair of 85s from Lexi Romero and Emma Whitfield.
But Lauterbach knows better than to worry about the teams chasing her Warhawks or the fact that she's one behind Seeman and tied with Classic 8 rival Abby Cavaiani of Kettle Moraine.
"I need to hit every shot one at a time and not think ahead," Lauterbach said.