WATERTOWN — Jacob Beckman and Ty Kretz couldn't have packed much more into their June schedule than they have over the last four weeks, so how did the two Wisconsin golfers spend the final day of the month? By adding another tournament to their July schedule.
Beckman, a University of Wisconsin-bound golfer from Middleton, and Kretz, a Marinette golfer headed to South Dakota State, shot matching 69s during Wednesday's U.S. Junior Amateur qualifying at Watertown Country Club to earn the two available berths. The U.S. Junior Amateur will be played July 19-24 at the Country Club of North Carolina at Pinehurst, N.C.
Both had to rally to do so. Beckman, who shot 36 on the front nine, shot 33 on the back to catch Kretz, his only playing partner in the third-to-last group, at 1-under. Kretz, who had bogeyed Nos. 16 and 17, needed a birdie on the final hole to avoid what would have been a 6-for-1 playoff for the final spot.
"I was getting frustrated with those two bogeys and hit a great drive on (No.) 18 to 75 yards out," Kretz, who finished third at the WIAA Division 2 state tournament and second at the WPGA Junior Championship, wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.Golf. "(I) hit a perfect wedge to about a foot for birdie and tapped it in. ... It means a lot to be able to qualify for such a competitive tournament. It takes a lot grinding and effort to be able to edge out all these great players for those two spots."
Indeed, 12 golfers finished within five shots of the leaders in all, a who's-who headlined by WIAA Division 3 state champion Noah Kirsch of Lancaster, current University of Wisconsin golfer Cameron Huss of Kenosha and future Badger Graham Moody of Vancouver, Wash. They were among five golfers to shoot 70, one stroke off the pace, while three golfers finished T-8 at 72, including Minnesota recruit Bennett Swavely of Hudson and Spencer Stuke of WIAA Division 1 state champion Kettle Moraine (Wales).
"It has been a long few weeks of golf," Beckman wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.Golf, referring to a stretch in which he won the WIAA Division 1 state tournament, finished T-33 at the Ray Fischer State Amateur Championship and T-12 at Monday's 36-hole Balance & Believe Invitational. "It is super rewarding to get through this into the U.S. Junior because it shows my work is starting to pay off."
Like Kretz, Beckman had to work to avoid a playoff for a trip to North Carolina.
After opening with a birdie at No. 1, he bogeyed Nos. 2, 5 and 9 to make the turn at 2-over 36. Beckman played bogey-free golf from there, making birdies at Nos. 13 (with a 20-foot putt), 14 (two-putt) and 17 (with a 7-foot putt).
"On 18, I knew where I stood and tried to play it just like (No.) 18 at state," wrote Beckman, who two-putted for par to edge Swavely by one shot for the title. "(I) ended up pulling a drive way left into (No.) 17 and had a good angle at the pin up over the trees. (I) hit a pitching wedge to the back of the green and two-putted for par."
And now, coming off one busy month, Beckman and Kretz are looking forward to another.
"It means a lot to get through this event," Beckman wrote. "I’m excited to represent Wisconsin at the U.S. Junior. My game is in a really good spot right now and I look forward to the busy schedule I have in the month of July."
|T1||Ty Kretz Marinette, WI||F||-1||69|
|T1||Jacob Beckman Middleton, Wisconsin||F||-1||69|
|ALTERNATES - IN ORDER (2)|
|T3||William Harned Nashotah, Wisconsin||F||E||70|
|T3||Pierce Grieve Lake Forest, Illinois||F||E||70|
|DID NOT QUALIFY|
|T3||Graham Moody Vancouver, Washington||F||E||70|
|T3||Noah Kirsch Lancaster, WI||F||E||70|
|T3||Cameron Huss Kenosha, WI||F||E||70|
|T8||Spencer Stuke Delafield, Wisconsin||F||+2||72|
|T8||William Hemauer Wauwatosa, WI||F||+2||72|
|T8||Bennett Swavely Hudson, WI||F||+2||72|
|T11||Mason Haupt De Pere, WI||F||+3||73|
|T11||Sebastian Kasun Elm Grove, Wisconsin||F||+3||73|
|T13||Mccord Grice Atlanta, Georgia||F||+4||74|
|T13||Alex Koenig Wales, WI||F||+4||74|
|T15||Hayden LeMonds Wauwatosa, Wisconsin||F||+5||75|
|T15||James Baker Middleton, Wisconsin||F||+5||75|
|T15||Ryan Kai Nam Leung Hong Kong China||F||+5||75|
|T15||Alec Sosnowski Middleton, Wisconsin||F||+5||75|
|T15||Jamozzy Skenandore De Pere, WI||F||+5||75|
|T15||Maxamillian Xiong River Falls, WI||F||+5||75|
|T21||Parker Etzel Eau Claire, Wisconsin||F||+6||76|
|T21||Jack Glaspy Pewaukee, WI||F||+6||76|
|T21||Alex Weiss Middleton, Wisconsin||F||+6||76|
|T21||Braeden Resnick Rice Lake, WI||F||+6||76|
|T25||Alwang Deang Madison, Wisconsin||F||+7||77|
|T25||Jacob Frederickson Cottage Grove, Wisconsin||F||+7||77|
|27||Cole Ross Waunakee, WI||F||+8||78|
|28||Aiden Cudney Appleton, WI||F||+9||79|
|29||Andrew Aune Madison, Wisconsin||F||+10||80|
|30||Emery Endres Cedarburg, Wisconsin||F||+14||84|