MADISON – Joe Forsting has been happy with the way he’s hit the ball this spring but when it came time to tee it up in a tournament, one part of his game seemed to hold him back.
He finally put it all together Monday, and it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Forsting, a senior at Edgerton High School, made two eagles and five birdies and shot a sizzling 5-under 67 in the first round of the WIAA Division 2 state tournament at University Ridge Golf Course.
He takes a four-shot lead over Marinette sophomore Ty Kretz and Minocqua Lakeland junior Kyle Bengtson into the final round Tuesday. Forsting’s score was the best by three shots across all three divisions; no one else broke 70.
“I’ve been striking it pretty well, but it’s always been, in the tournaments, one part of my game holds me back whether it’s the driver or the irons,” he said. “It was kind of cool to get it all together today.”
Forsting got off to a blazing start with an eagle on the par-5 11th hole, his second, and birdies on Nos. 12, 15 and 17. After a bogey on the par-4 18th, he made the turn and went bogey-birdie-bogey-eagle on Nos. 3 through 6.
“I wasn’t even planning to go for the green on the sixth hole,” he said. “I hit my drive pretty good and had about 270 (yards) into the wind. I hit my 3-wood to about 15 feet and made it.”
Forsting bogeyed the eighth hole – giving him bogeys on all three par-3s on the front nine – but finished with a birdie on the par-5 ninth.
“It was not the most fun thing making bogeys on every par-3 on the front nine,” he said, “but I was able to make up for it on some of the other holes.”
There were four eagles made Tuesday, all by Division 2 golfers, and three came from the same group. Besides Forsting’s two, Rice Lake junior Simon Cuskey eagled the ninth hole.
“Three eagles in one group doesn’t happen often,” Forsting said.
Cuskey birdied the other four par-5s to play those holes in 6-under. He shot a 72.
Two-time defending Division 2 champion Madison Edgewood, trying to win its fifth state title since 2009, takes a slim one-stroke lead over Lakeland into the final round.
Edgewood, led by 73s by brothers James and Karl Gilmore, shot 305 and Lakeland was at 306, with Edgerton third at 314.
Bengtson finished off his 1-under 71 with a spectacular birdie on the ninth hole, holing a 30-yard chip from a difficult lie behind the green.
Kretz made a pair of double-bogeys in his 71 but offset them with six birdies, including three consecutively on Nos. 15, 16 and 17. He made a lone bogey on the ninth.
“One of the doubles, on 14, I just lost focus and had a four-putt,” he said.
Even with the four-putt, Kretz needed just 28 putts.
“He played really well,” said Pete Kretz, Ty’s father and Marinette’s head coach and also the head pro at Little River Country Club. “He let a lot of opportunities slide. He can go low tomorrow. We’re excited.”
Marinette’s No. 1 player, senior Matt Wagner, was 5-over after just four holes but settled down and shot an 81.
“These guys come to this course and it’s a little overwhelming for them,” Pete Kretz said. “They’re not used to tight lies on bent grass. The fairways at Little River are bluegrass. Our No. 1 had a hard time chipping off the fairways. After that he settled down did alright.”