D3 Breitenbach off porch

With teammates looking on, Kohler’s Reece Breitenbach punches the ball out of the tall grass after his shot on the 18th fairway landed high up on the hill by the Blackwolf Run clubhouse.

KOHLER — On his way to a place that he had been before, Reece Breitenbach made a stop Tuesday to a patch of the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run that the Kohler junior — and, quite frankly, just about anyone who has teed it up there — never knew existed.

It was, to say the least, a patch of bother.

Trying to put the finishing touches on what had become a successful defense of his team's WIAA Division 3 state championship, Breitenbach's approach shot to the 18th green sailed over the Sheboygan River, kept flying past the putting surface, chipped a tree behind the green and came to rest near the top of a hill beneath the distinguished clubhouse patio. 

"I must have had a flier lie from (where I was) in the rough and I just pounded it into the trees, up by the patio," Breitenbach said. "I've never been up there before. A new first."

The scrambling double-bogey 6 that came from the eventful detour ultimately kept the Blue Bombers' No. 1 golfer from forcing a playoff for medalist honors, but it didn't keep Kohler from becoming only the third Division 3 school to successfully repeat as state champion since the division was added in 1989. Osseo-Fairchild has done it three times, including its run of three consecutive championships starting in 1994, and St. Mary's Springs (Fond du Lac) was the other, winning a division-record four in a row from 2015 through 2018.

As they have most of the season, Breitenbach (76) and No. 2 golfer Everett Schroeder (75) led the way for the Blue Bombers, who also counted an 83 from No. 3 golfer Lucas Albrecht and an 88 from No. 5 golfer Cohen Otte, who bounced back from a 49 playing the back nine on his outward nine with a 39 on the front to end the season. With a 322, Kohler finished with a 36-hole total of 643, five strokes better than first-round leader Cambridge (331).

"I don't know if that's what won it for us or not," Kohler coach David Albrecht said, when asked if his team's experience with the course and the pressure of closing out a victory on Day 2 of a state championship proved to be the difference. "Those boys from Cambridge are great sports and very talented. I think us knowing the course certainly didn't hurt us, for sure, because we knew we were going to make mistakes. Everyone who plays the Meadow Valleys knows you're going to make mistakes.

"It's the attitude that we had — and not that they didn't — that when we made those mistakes, how are they going to persevere?"

The Blue Bombers didn't waste any time seizing control of the proceedings.

Four strokes behind to start the day, they played the tight 330-yard, par-4 10th hole in 1-under and picked up seven strokes on Cambridge by the time the No. 1 golfers reached the 11th tee. The Blue Jays eventually settled down and played solid golf the rest of the way, but that slow start proved fatal to their title chances in the end.

"They were in it last year and we haven't been here before," said Cambridge coach Travis Galston, whose school was making its first appearance as a team since 2009. "We felt things on the first tee that we've never felt before. ... We're not very good long-iron players off the tee. Our advantage is when we can take a driver out because we have three guys that can hit it over 300 (yards). This year, whenever we had to hit an iron off a tee to start a match, we always struggled. That's what we had to start with off 10 and that's how it goes."

Consistency proved to be the key in deciding Division 3 medalist honors.

Parkview (Orfordville) senior Trey Oswald shot his second consecutive 75 and, at 6-over-par 150, held off Breitenbach (76-76) and defending champion Noah Kirsch (80-72), who said he drove the ball beautifully but struggled to convert an abundance of birdie opportunities he had over two days. Oswald, dressed in a colorful flamingo-themed Bad Birdie polo that matched with assistant coach Jeff Vine, made seven straight pars between an opening double-bogey on No. 10 and a par on No. 18 and made birdies on Nos. 3 and 7 in between bogeys at Nos. 2 and 9.

"We just wanted to play aggressive, play like we were two shots behind on every hole," said Oswald, who held the first-round lead with a 74 a year ago at Trappers Turn GC in Wisconsin Dells only to close with an 80 and finish T-2 behind Kirsch. "Last year, we didn't do that. We did it this year. Getting off the tee was really good. I was always playing from the fairway so that helps. And then my wedges were really good."


Team/Player Leaderboards
Blackwolf Run - Original Championship Course - Meadow Valley Course Par: 72 Yardage: 6482
Kohler, WI US
Jun 6-7, 2022
Pos. Team/Player (seed) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 Kohler 321 322 643
T2 Reece Breitenbach (1) 76 76 152
7 Everett Schroeder (2) 83 75 158
15 Lucas Albrecht (3) 84 83 167
17 Donny Sobecki (4) 78 91 169
26 Cohen Otte (5) 91 88 179
2 Cambridge 317 331 648
4 Nick Buckman (1) 77 77 154
T10 Cade Nottestad (3) 80 84 164
T10 Matt Buckman (5) 80 84 164
T13 Kian Bystol-Flores (2) 80 86 166
30 Max Heth (4) 95 89 184
3 Mineral Point 339 345 684
9 Carson Kroll (1) 80 81 161
18 Eli Lindsey (4) 84 89 173
19 Ollie Mitchell (2) 86 88 174
21 Alex Ross (3) 89 87 176
T34 Reid Acherman (5) 96 95 191
4 Marathon 347 362 709
8 Noah Gage (1) 78 81 159
T22 Ben Robbins (2) 87 90 177
T24 John Stoffel (3) 91 87 178
T38 Alex Pawlowicz (4) 91 104 195
T48 Dylan Dodson (5) 101 114 215
5 Lancaster 380 367 747
T2 Noah Kirsch (1) 80 72 152
37 Dan Kelley (3) 100 94 194
41 Isaac Dhyanchand (4) 96 104 200
42 Ian Klaas (2) 104 97 201
50 Skyler Burkholder (5) 110 118 228
6 Ladysmith 377 377 754
T27 Jack West (2) 85 95 180
T27 Dane Prohaska (3) 89 91 180
36 Coltin Fenstermacher (5) 99 93 192
43 Keegan Steckel (1) 104 98 202
T48 Zach Kostka (4) 112 103 215
7 Wabeno/Laona 407 378 785
29 Ryan Simonis (2) 89 92 181
T34 Gage Liptack (3) 101 90 191
45 Owen Seeber (4) 112 94 206
46 Reed Christianson (1) 105 102 207
51 Carter Champine (5) 127 108 235
8 Glenwood City 395 391 786
T31 Owen Swenby (1) 98 92 190
T38 Esdyn Swenby (4) 98 97 195
40 Ian Radintz (2) 96 102 198
44 Charlie Lamb (5) 103 100 203
47 Gabe Knops (3) 103 110 213
 
Individuals
Pos. Player (Team) Rd 1 Rd 2 Total
1 Trey Oswald (Parkview) 75 75 150
T5 Conner Krach (Newman Catholic) 78 77 155
T5 Spencer Lynch (Saint Mary Catholic) 77 78 155
T10 Kaden Bailey (Saint Thomas Aquinas) 82 82 164
T13 Jacob Ganga (Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah) 86 80 166
16 Dominic Croci (Hurley) 87 81 168
20 Joe Hueckman (Prentice) 94 81 175
T22 Cooper McLaughlin (Lourdes Academy/Valley Christian) 93 84 177
T24 Nolan John (Neillsville) 83 95 178
T31 Peyton Krause (Crandon) 98 92 190
T31 Bryce Killoren (Chetek-Weyerhaeuser) 92 98 190
52 Jonah Curtis (Princeton/Green Lake) 83 0 83

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

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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