Sebastian Kasun | 2022 Wisconsin State Amateur Championship | Day 4

Sebastian Kasun | 2022 Wisconsin State Amateur Championship | Day 4

Of all the memorable moments that made Sebastian Kasun stand out among his peers during 2022, the former Marquette High School golfer from Elm Grove found himself revisiting the four days he spent at Sand Valley Golf Resort in July for the 121st Wisconsin State Amateur Championship.

"My performance at the State Am gave me the confidence that I can compete with anyone at the collegiate level and beyond," Kasun wrote via text message to Wisconsin.Golf of his T-6 finish in the state's top amateur event and its impact on the first months of his college career at Loyola (Ill.) University in Chicago. "Big events, such as the State Am, often are hosted at courses that are challenging not only from a golf perspective, but mentally as well. That is why the State Am is such a good event to prepare you for higher levels of golf.

"I found myself, during my first season at Loyola, thinking back to moments at the State Am to help me tough out a round during college (golf tournaments)."

That might explain why Kasun's resume was tough to beat among those who played their final season of high school boys golf in the spring and then turned their attention to making an immediate impact at the college level in the fall. It is also why Kasun topped Minocqua's Kaeden Nomm for the No. 1 spot in the final Wisconsin.Golf boys Class of 2022 state rankings, an exercise that judges not only each golfer's work in his final season of high school golf, but his showing in the summer and impact starting out in college in the fall.

Kasun not only excelled at the State Am for the second year in a row — he finished 25th in 2021 on his home course at Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield to earn an exemption for the 2022 State Am — but he also authored perhaps the most dramatic finish of any tournament at any level in Wisconsin at the WPGA Junior Championship. He eagled the final hole of regulation at Brown Deer Park GC in Milwaukee to force a playoff with Appleton's Aiden Cudney, the No. 1-ranked golfer in the boys Class of 2024, and then beat him with another eagle on the same hole during the playoff.

"The highlight of my summer was definitely my finish at the State Am," Kasun wrote. "But the most memorable moment of the summer was my playoff win at the WPGA Junior. That will be a memory that will stick with me for the rest of my life."

Indeed, it certainly carried over into the fall at Loyola.

Kasun cracked the Ramblers' lineup in four of their five events and his 75.1 average in 12 rounds was second on the team to senior Timmy Crawford (72.6). Only No. 3 Michael Addie of Sussex, who averaged 75.0 in 11 rounds at National Junior College Athletic Association Division II power Parkland College in Champaign, Ill., had a lower stroke average this fall among Wisconsin golfers hitting the college ranks for the first time and only No. 6 Max Reis of West De Pere, who logged 15 rounds this fall at UW-Green Bay, played more rounds than Kasun.

Looking back, Kasun pointed to the WIAA Division 1 state tournament as his chief source of motivation for coming into the fall ready to make an impact at Loyola.

"During the high school season, I felt like I under-performed, especially in the state tournament," wrote Kasun, who shot 78-74 and finished T-14 as Marquette (Milwaukee) finished third as a team — 10 strokes behind champion Eau Claire Memorial and seven strokes back of runner-up Kettle Moraine (Wales). "Not performing my best in the state tournament gave me some extra motivation to not only play well in the summer, but clean up the parts of my game that prevented it from clicking."

It certainly clicked at a high level from mid-June until the end of the season, allowing him to trade places with Nomm, who averaged 75.7 in three rounds at NCAA Division II South Carolina-Aiken. After Addie, Will Hemauer of Wauwatosa — who earned a late scholarship offer from Marquette University — and UW-Green Bay golfer Trent Meyer of Lake Nebagamon rounded out the top five.

Unlike their female counterparts in the girls Class of 2022, who only had 11 college golfers among those ranked in the top 20, the boys Class of 2022 sent 16 of the top 20 onto college golf, including the entire top 12. Five golfers played double-digit rounds of competitive golf during their first semester on campus and 31 golfers among those in the top 50 played college golf at the NCAA, NAIA or NJCAA level as true freshmen.

"My advice to high schoolers is to be patient and work hard," wrote Kasun, when asked what allowed him to break into the Loyola lineup and stay there for the final two events of the fall schedule. "If you are preparing to make the jump to the collegiate level, it is important that you practice with a purpose every time. I wish I knew that earlier in my high school career.

"Assessing what you are doing (poorly) with your golf game at the moment and practicing that part of your game definitely goes a long way and will help you make that jump to the next level. The hardest part about playing at the college level is making sure your game is the best it can be at all times. You never know if you will be in the lineup or not so keeping your game in shape at all times is key."

Kasun, who has worked with veteran teaching professional David Rasmussen for about five years, has no plans to take the foot off the gas now that he has reached the head of his class. 

There is much to accomplish yet in the spring when Loyola debuts at the Atlantic 10 Conference Championship, to be played April 28-30 at Reunion GC in Orlando. The Ramblers finished seventh out of nine teams this past spring in their final appearance at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship.

"I have goals rooted in both my collegiate season and my summer season," Kasun wrote. "A team goal for me is to win the A10 Championship. I feel like we have the talent and experience on our team to win the A10 Championship and then see what happens in the NCAA regionals. 

"An individual goal for my collegiate season is to improve my scoring average from the fall and win a tournament in the spring, as well as improving my percentage of fairways hit and decreasing my putts per round."

And then there is his 2023 summer schedule, which he looks forward to with great anticipation. He has already circled on it the Wisconsin State Amateur at Erin Hills, where Kasun won the MACC Fund Invitational in 2021.

"I am really comfortable at Erin Hills, having shot really good scores there in the past, so I think I can do some real damage in that tournament," Kasun wrote. "The main goal for 2023 is to be better mentally and at golf than I was last year."

Boys Class of 2022 (final)

No. First name Last name School College Nov.
1, Sebastian Kasun Milwaukee Marquette Loyola (Ill.) 2 4 10 NR NR
2, Kaeden Nomm Lakeland (Minocqua) South Carolina-Aiken 1 1 6 4 4
3, Michael Addie Hamilton (Sussex) Parkland College (Ill.) 4 11 NR NR NR
4, Will Hemauer Milwaukee Marquette Marquette 13 3 2 NR NR
5, Trent Meyer Maple Northwestern UW-Green Bay 3 9 NR NR NR
6, Max Reis West De Pere UW-Green Bay 5 2 4 2 1
7, Noah Kirsch Lancaster IUPUI 8 10 7 7 3
8, Griffin Oberneder Beloit Memorial UW-Eau Claire 5 12 22 NR NR
9, Max Brud Waunakee Minnesota State-Mankato 15 NR NR NR NR
tie, Ryan Darling Green Bay Notre Dame Minnesota State-Mankato 11 6 3 3 9
11, Caden Jacobson Lake Delton (IMG Academy) UW-Green Bay 10 20 5 5 11
12, Trey Oswald Orfordville Parkview Eastern Illinois 14 17 8 15 NR
13, Jakson Jazgar Ashwaubenon Alabama (academics) 17 15 NR NR NR
14, Alec Sosnowski Middleton UW-Eau Claire 7 18 NR NR NR
15, Camden Schmidt Germantown Wisconsin (academics) NR NR NR NR NR
16, Luke Ladd Mequon Homestead Kennesaw State, Ga. (academics) 12 14 NR NR NR
17, Trey Timm River Falls Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) NR NR NR NR NR
18, Tyler Johnson Berlin Winona (Minn.) State 18 34 NR NR NR
19, Ben Soboleski Wauwatosa East/West UW-La Crosse (academics) 16 16 16 11 5
20, Jack Glaspy Pewaukee Purdue Northwest (Ind.) 27 NR NR NR NR
21, Cole Fisher Eau Claire Memorial Concordia-St. Paul (Minn.) 24 HM NR NR NR
22, Peter Haideman Arrowhead (Hartland) Edgewood College 34 NR NR NR NR
23, Jacob Frederickson Monona Grove Edgewood College 25 13 14 8 15
24, Will Summers Slinger Wisconsin (academics) 9 19 9 6 6
25, Sam Sonsalla Brookfield Central Wisconsin (club golf) 20 37 NR NR NR
26, Joe Fricker Mequon Homestead Texas Christian University (academics) 22 7 24 NR NR
27, Hayden LeMonds Milwaukee Marquette Indiana University (academics) 21 5 1 1 2
28, Joey Volpentesta Antigo Ottawa University (Ariz.) NR NR NR NR NR
29, Mason Frohna Kettle Moraine Iowa (academics) NR NR NR NR NR
30, Luke Lafond Bay Port IMG Academy 23 24 13 13 NR
31, Owen Gardner University School (Milwaukee) Mississippi (academics) 19 38 NR NR NR
32, Grant Wieczorek Hartland Arrowhead Purdue Northwest (Ind.) 29 30 NR NR NR
33, Ben Hilbelink Menomonee Falls Notre Dame (academics) 35 22 11 NR NR
34, Joshua Draheim Xavier (Appleton) Wofford (academics) 30 NR NR NR NR
35, Matthew Draheim Xavier (Appleton) Furman (academics) 30 NR NR NR NR
tie, Ryan Draheim Xavier (Appleton) Southern Methodist (academics) 30 NR NR NR NR
37, Noah Gage Marathon Marquette (academics) 38 NR NR NR NR
38, Brady Callmer Edgerton Madison College 42 NR NR NR NR
39, Connor Schaefer Hortonville UW-Stevens Point HM NR NR NR NR
40, TJ Walton Badger (Lake Geneva) Carroll University HM 31 15 14 10
41, Cole Noreen Columbus (Marshfield) UW-Stout NR NR NR NR NR
42, Garret Sigl Seymour UW-Stout 49 33 NR NR NR
43, Ethan Thomas Stevens Point Madison College HM 25 19 NR NR
44, Noah Ehlenbach Verona Augustana (Ill.) NR NR NR NR NR
45, Sam Dobbins La Crosse Aquinas Viterbo University 47 NR NR NR NR
46, John Callahan Neenah UW-Eau Claire (academics) 46 NR NR NR NR
47, Matt Sitte Wausau East Madison College HM NR NR NR NR
48, Brent Schmiesing Madison Abundant Life co-op Madison College HM NR NR NR NR
49, Luke Capstran Oak Creek Wisconsin Lutheran College 48 48 NR NR NR
50, Mike Antonelli Black River Falls Wisconsin (academics) 39 NR NR NR NR
tie, Sam Mehlberg De Pere Alabama (academics) 40 NR NR NR NR

Rob started covering the state's golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison. He joined Killarney Golf Media in 2015 and helped develop Wisconsin.Golf's extensive coverage of junior, high school, college, amateur and pro golf.

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