There is nothing quite as daunting as writing a column based on the gaze into a crystal ball filled with fog.
The boys Class of 2022 won’t burst onto the Wisconsin high school golf scene until this spring. Therefore, the body of work that went into the first of 10 Wisconsin.Golf junior golf rankings updates over the next two-plus weeks reflects the many different paths available to families looking to get their children “high school golf-ready” ahead of their freshman year. And none reflect an exact science when it comes to projecting where they will lead.
De Pere’s Maxwell Reis gets the nod as our No. 1-ranked golfer in the Class of 2022 largely for his work on the Wisconsin PGA Futures Tour over the last three years. But, of course, that is subject to change as early as next summer when Wisconsin.Golf will begin to update these rankings throughout the golf season as other golfers begin to emerge.
For now, Reis — a freshman at West De Pere — stands out among his freshman peers after earning back-to-back player-of-the-year honors on the Futures Tour. He was runner-up for the award in 2016 on the developmental junior golf circuit that features nine-hole events on par 3 and executive courses and other shorter layouts.
However, Reis showed this summer he is fully capable of handling longer courses, too. At the Wisconsin PGA Junior Championship, he bounced from an opening 96 at Brown Deer Park Golf Course in Milwaukee with a 1-over-par 71 at Dretzka Park and, just over a month later, strung together rounds of 82-82-76 and tied for 69th at the WSGA Junior Boys Championship in Fond du Lac.
Reis edged out Wauwatwosa’s Hayden LeMonds, a freshman at defending WIAA Division 1 state champion Milwaukee Marquette, for the top spot in the inaugural rankings of this year’s freshman class. LeMonds shot 86-75 at the WPGA Junior and his 84th-place showing at Wisconsin’s largest junior golf tournament was tops among golfers in his class; he shot 73-83-87 at Rolling Meadows Golf Course at the WSGA Junior Boys and finished 72nd.
LeMonds figures to be in the mix of golfers at Marquette this spring looking to fill graduation voids left by LeMonds' brother, Brady, and No. 5 golfer Ethan Graham. The Hilltoppers return their top two golfers Brown University-bound Jack Blair and Dominican University-bound Andrew Sagrillo as well as No. 4 golfer Jack Lutze, one of the state’s top juniors.
Lancaster’s Noah Kirsch, Minocqua’s Kaeden Nomm and Wauwatosa’s Benjamin Soboleski round out the top five in the Wisconsin.Golf’s boys Class of 2020 rankings.
Kirsch has played extensively on the Hurricane Junior Golf Tour, an Orlando-based junior golf organization that administers tournaments across the country. He showed significant improvement this fall — including a closing 68 at the HJGT event at Callaway Gardens in Georgia in October — and is another golfer likely to make a run at the No. 1 ranking with a strong showing in his first season of WIAA golf in the spring.
Nomm made a name for himself in 2016 when won his age group at the Drive, Putt & Chip Regional Finals at Hazeltine National Golf Club in Minnesota to qualify for the 2017 National Finals at Augusta National (Georgia) Golf Club the week before The Masters. He missed the cut at the WSGA Junior Boys Championship after rounds of 86 and 81, and averaged 83 in four starts on the WPGA Junior Tour with three top-10 finishes in those events.
To say it’s early in the development of this class would be an understatement.
Each of the golfers in the top 11 have shown an ability to break 80. Those who are able to do it consistently will be the ones who show the greatest upward mobility in these rankings.
When will that happen? Sorry, the crystal ball is a little fuzzy when it comes to timing.