Piercen Hunt

Piercen Hunt of Hartland has been named a second-team Rolex All-American by the AJGA.

Among the many things I admired most about Dennis Tiziani during his tenure as University of Wisconsin golf coach, his ability to identify, develop and — most importantly — win with local talent set him apart from most coaches.

I was in Ann Arbor, Mich., in 1994 when "Tiz" won the Big Ten Conference with Ben Walter of Menomonie, Jim Pejka of Stone Lake, Kirk Wieland of Lodi, Jason Fitchett of Green Bay and Mark Scheibach of Fond du Lac. In 1993, his Badgers had won it with Joe Ring of Madison competing in place of Wieland.

They were all home-grown golfers who enjoyed modest high school success and entrusted their college years to Tiziani. He turned them into champions.

As I evaluated Wisconsin's boys Class of 2020, I couldn't help but feel Tiziani would have loved this group. As he did with son-in-law Steve Stricker once upon a time, Tiziani would have wished Hartland Arrowhead's Piercen Hunt nothing but the best as he departed for the University of Illinois, built a wall around the remaining talent in the state and then done great things with it.

AA SO Cameron Huss.jpg

Cameron Huss | 2019 Wisconsin State Open

That's to take nothing away from Hunt, whose passion for the game and ability to play it at the very highest level rivals any golfer his age that I have covered over the last 30 years following the junior golf scene in Wisconsin. Suffice it to say, he remains No. 1 in Wisconsin.golf's Class of 2020 rankings.

His presence will be sorely missed in the spring when Hunt will forego his senior season of competition due to a schedule conflict between the WIAA state championship and his Western Junior Championship title defense. But the story of how that happened will go down as one of the all-time dandies.

In fact, it's almost eerie how the dominoes fell this year after Hunt failed to win the WIAA Division 1 state championship for the first time in his three seasons at Arrowhead.

On June 19 (a Thursday), Hunt showed he had fully rebounded from that setback by winning the Western Junior on the same day Wisconsin.golf learned PGA Tour Champions was imposing a date change on the American Family Insurance Championship for 2020 that would force the senior event to move earlier in June and force the WIAA state tournament to move two weeks later, opposite the first two days of the Western Junior.

4 state am Drake Wilcox

Drake Wilcox of Sheboygan does a fist pump after sinking a birdie putt on the 18th hole on Thursday during the final round of the Wisconsin State Amateur Championship on the Links Course at the GCs of Lawsonia.

Meanwhile, only one of the golfers behind Hunt in the class of 2020 will play his golf for the Badgers. But I believe time will show others could have joined Kenosha Tremper's Cameron Huss to form a Tiz-like Big Ten contender.

For his part, Huss has shown what current UW coach Michael Burcin saw in him last spring when he offered Huss a chance to be a Badger, the first in-state golfer to earn such an opportunity since Stoughton's Sam Anderson and Mequon's Robbie Morway in 2017 despite Huss' modest junior resume and never having qualified for the WIAA state tournament. (Burcin subsequently offered Milwaukee Marquette's Jack Blair late in the 2019 recruiting process.)

After a fifth-place finish in his WIAA Division 1 state tournament debut, Huss rode the ups and downs of his summer junior schedule and finished on a high note, placing second at the WSGA Junior Boys Championship in New Glarus. In between, Huss matched Hunt as the only golfers in his class to make the cut at both the Wisconsin State Amateur (tied for 10th) and the Wisconsin State Open (tied for 63rd). Huss capped his competitive year last month by winning an event on the Mid-American Junior Golf Tour near Chicago.

The rest of our top 10 is full of golfers whose best golf lies ahead, the kind of late-bloomers who — in a different era — would've been "classic Tiz recruits."

Jamozzy Skenandore

Jamozzy Skenandore watches his putt during the 2019 Wisconsin State Amateur played at Lawsonia.

Russell Dettmering walking to tee box

Russell Dettmering of Merrill has a confident look as he walks to a tee box at University Ridge.

No. 3 Drake Wilcox of Sheboygan Lutheran is a throwback to Walter, the 1994 Big Ten champion and recent Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame inductee. Seen as undersized much of his junior career, Wilcox's resume has grown as he has with his WIAA Division 3 state championship in June, his runner-up finish at the Morgan Stanley WPGA Junior Tour Championship in July and his third-place showing at the WSGA Junior Boys Championship in August as evidence.

For the second year in a row, Queens University of Charotte (N.C.) will be the recipient of a Wisconsin late-bloomer falling into its lap. Wilcox has reportedly given an oral commitment to the Royals after they reeled in Brock Hlinak of Kaukauna, who responded by playing in all 12 matches this fall for Queens with an 74.17 average for the nation's 30th-ranked NCAA Division II team.

It will be interesting to see where the No. 4 Jamozzy Skenandore and No. 5 Russell Dettmering land. Skenandore and his father told me in September that college golf might not be in his future. Dettmering, perhaps the latest of Wisconsin's late-bloomers, looked good winning the WIAA Division 1 state title with a closing 66 at University Ridge and tying for 26th at the Wisconsin State Amateur, but the rest of his work this summer did not stand out among others in his class, leaving us to wonder if he did enough to make up for lost time.

Either way, they aren't the only ones who figure to have bright futures no matter where they land.

UW-Green Bay signed a rising star in No. 6 Kyle Bengston of Minocqua Lakeland, who shined at the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin College Showcase in July, shooting 74-72 on the Irish Course at Whistling Straits to win the boys competition by two shots. Of the remainder of the top 10, only No. 8 Sam Nielsen (St. Cloud State) and No. 9 Austin Erickson (Iowa Central Community College) have announced college intentions, leaving No. 7 Jack Lutze of Milwaukee Marquette, No. 10 Karl Gilmore of Madison Edgewood and others in our top 25 among those who can still make college coaches somewhere very, very happy before this recruiting cycle ends.

If only Dennis Tiziani was still out there on the recruiting trail. 

Boys Class of 2020

No. First name Last name High school College July
2019
Nov.
2018
Nov.
2017
1, Piercen Hunt Hartland Arrowhead Illinois 1 1 1
2, Cameron Huss Kenosha Tremper Wisconsin 4 4 4
3, Drake Wilcox Sheboygan Lutheran Queens (N.C.) University 5 3 2
4, Jamozzy Skenadore West De Pere 6 13 7
5, Russell Dettmering Merrill 2 5 8
6, Kyle Bengtson Lakeland (Minocqua) UW-Green Bay 7 10 12
7, Jack Lutze Milwaukee Marquette 3 2 3
8, Sam Nielsen Fond du Lac St. Cloud (Minn.) State 19 14 15
9, Austin Erickson Sparta Iowa Central CC 8 27 NR
10, Karl Gilmore Madison Edgewood 14 16 17
11, Josh Teplin Mequon Homestead 9 17 13
12, Simon Cuskey Rice Lake Minnesota State-Mankato 16 8 10
13, Marty Swab Menomonee Falls 10 9 6
14, Brice Klabunde Cameron 26 30 NR
15, Tommy Kriewaldt Middleton 11 9 24
16, Ansen Nomm Lakeland (Minocqua) 15 24 18
17, Carson Brock Holmen UW-Eau Claire 23 31 NR
18, Logan Lillehaug Luck/Frederic 13 6 11
19, Preston Cedergren Bay Port Nebraska-Omaha 20 7 9
20, Charlie Somers Wauwatosa East/West 18 NR NR
21, Kip Sullivan Middleton 17 15 NR
22, Mickey Keating Sun Prairie 31 28 NR
23, Ben Monty Wauwatosa East/West 21 21 NR
24, Paul Lynch Westosha Central 12 12 5
25, Liam More O'Ferrall Milwaukee Marquette 22 NR NR
26, Nolan Wagner Hudson NR NR NR
27, Jack Summers Slinger 29 20 NR
28, Aiden Duchelle Slinger 30 NR NR
29, Jacob Decker Appleton East 28 NR NR
30, Simon Mitchell Mineral Point 35 32 NR
31, Travis Bentley Pewaukee
32, Stanford Swid Mosinee Winona (Minn.) State 32 NR NR
33, Carson Frisch Middleton 24 18 25
34, Josh Koszarek Waterford 27 29 NR
35, Mark Schaefer Wauwatosa East/West 25 NR NR
36, Jonah Duwell Fond du Lac NR NR NR
37, Spencer Tank Mequon Homestead 36 26 NR
38, Carter Parent Lake Geneva Badger 37 23 16
39, Dan Soboleski Wauwatosa East/West 39 NR NR
40, Ben Gilkay Appleton East 40 NR NR
41, Jake Collins Minocqua Lakeland NR NR NR
42, Bryce Pautz Roncalli (Manitowoc) NR NR NR
43, Joel Meglic Green Bay Notre Dame NR NR NR
44, Alex Borgen Neenah 33 39 NR
45, Austin Lietha Columbus 34 NR
46, Ryan Batterman Sun Prairie NR NR NR
47, Dane Hinz Baraboo NR NR NR
48, Kadin Kleman Janesville Parker NR NR NR
49, Drew Jeffery Cambridge NR NR NR
50, Cale Rufenacht Verona NR NR NR

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