2019 WIAA Division 1 state championship: Team qualifiers

School State
berth
Last
berth
Best
finish
Sectional
score
Bay Port 7th 2017 (5th) 3rd-2015 319
Eau Claire Memorial 31st 2018 (3rd) 1st-1974, 1977 320
Fond du Lac 39th 2018 (4th) 1st-1971, 1975 312
Franklin 5th 2018 (13th) 12th-1989 307
Hartland Arrowhead 30th 2018 (2nd) 1st-2001, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2012, 2015, 2017 308
Holmen 6th 2014 (10th) 2nd-1988, 2012 311
Hudson 3rd 2011 (4th) 4th-2011 316
Kaukauna 8th 2018 (5th) 3rd-2016, 2017 302
Kettle Moraine 8th 2018 (8th) 2nd-2009 330
Lake Geneva Badger 32nd 2018 (12th) 1st-1994 301
Menomonee Falls 10th 2012 (16th) 3rd-1963 308
Mequon Homestead 31st 2015 (9th) 1st-1996, 2006, 2014 322
Middleton 21st 2018 (6th) 1st-1993, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2011 306
Milwaukee Marquette 11th 2018 (1st) 1st-2016, 2018 290
Mukwonago 8th 2017 (9th) 3rd-1996 303
Wauwatosa East/West 37th
(combined)
2004 (12th) 1st-1937, 1946, 1954 305

2019 WIAA Division 1 state championship: Individual qualifiers

School Name State
berth
Best finish Sectional
Score
Appleton East Ben Gilkay, jr. 1st (2x sectional qualifier) 74
Beaver Dam Zak Kulka, sr. 2nd T41-2018 72
Brookfield Central Jack Anderson, sr. 4th T17-2017 75
Brookfield Central Dean Yun, sr. 3rd T70-2018 76
De Pere Cole Griffin, sr. 1st (3x sectional qualifier) 76
Green Bay Preble Cole Hanke, sr. 1st (3x sectional qualifier) 75
Green Bay Southwest Trent Thomas, sr. 1st (3x sectional qualifier) 75
Greenfield Sam Mendoza, sr. 2nd T41-2018 79
Janesville Parker Kadin Kleman, jr. 2nd T76-2018 73
Kenosha Tremper Cameron Huss, jr. 1st (2x sectional qualifier) 76
Merrill Russell Dettmering, jr. 2nd 5th-2018 72
Milton AJ Gray, sr. 1st (4x sectional qualifier) 75
Mount Horeb Kasen Fager, sr. 1st (2x Div. 2 sectional qualifier) 72
New Richmond Owen Covey, so. 1st (1x sectional qualifier) 71
Plymouth Charlie Aschenbach, sr. 1st (2x sectional qualifier) 74
Saint Francis/Cudahy Peter Iwanowski, so. 1st (1x sectional qualifier) 78
Sheboygan North Austin Thyes, sr. 3rd T25-2018 73
Sheboygan North Max Schmidtke, sr. 3rd T28-2018 76
Sparta Austin Erickson, jr. 1st (3x sectional qualifier) 76
Stevens Point Evan Thomas, sr. 3rd T25-2018 75
Sun Prairie Mickey Keating, jr. 1st (2x sectional qualifier) 73
Union Grove Connor Brown, sr. 3rd T11-2018 72
Verona Austin Gaby, sr. 2nd T45-2018 74
Waterford Josh Koszarek, jr. 1st (3x sectional qualifier) 75

When

Monday: 7 a.m. (off Nos. 1 & 10). Tuesday: Noon (off Nos. 1 & 10).

2018 Story

Games of 7-Up with rival coach, player help Jack Lutze help Milwaukee Marquette take title over defending champion Hartland Arrowhead

On the eve of what was suppose to have been the bloodiest of baths with the fiercest of its boys golf rivals, Milwaukee Marquette sophomore Jack Lutze was working out lag-putting issues on the practice green at University Ridge GC in a game of 7-Up with the coach and the star player of the other team.

"Jack Lutze beats me on the first one, but I beat him on the next two," said Hartland Arrowhead coach Greg Budzien. "I want that to go on record."

That's just how they roll at Marquette and Hartland Arrowhead.

If the two programs have conspired to do one thing over the last three years, it's to make each other better. One need look no further than what happened here Tuesday, when Milwaukee Marquette took back from the Warhawks what Arrowhead took from the Hilltoppers a year ago: the championship trophy at the WIAA Division 1 state boys golf tournament.

Lutze, using the confidence gained from his putting game with Budzien and eventual repeat state champion Piercen Hunt, shot 1-under-par 71 out of the No. 4 position and junior Jack Blair matched him as the Hilltoppers shot a second straight 299 to beat Arrowhead (300) by eight shots with a 598 total — the identical 36-hole score that won them their first state title two years ago.

The defending champion Warhawks had closed to within two shots after Hunt eagled the par-5 11th hole, his third of the week. That's when Marquette took matters in its own hands as its top three golfers combined to play Nos. 12 through 16 in a mind-boggling 6-under to put team matters out of reach.

"I figured (Arrowhead) was going to come out strong," Marquette coach Brad Niswonger said. "I watched (Arrowhead senior) Alex Yost put it to a foot on the first hole and I thought 'OK, here we go.' I figured they were going to catch up.

"But I told the kids (Tuesday) morning if we can get through the first six holes and have a lead, we should be in good shape. And, lo and behold, (Arrowhead) got within two strokes and it kind of hung between two and five the next four or five holes and then something broke. My guys kept playing more and more solid."

It started with Lutze, who had struggled with long putts and counted 37 putts in his first-round 77 but parlayed the work he did with teammates and rivals alike on the practice green Monday evening into a renewed confidence on University Ridge's fast greens. He only had 33 putts in the final round and didn't have a three-putt until the very last hole.

"I was blowing putts four feet by (on Monday) and (Tuesday) my lag-putting was absolutely phenomenal," said Lutze, who bogeyed No. 4 and birdied Nos. 10, 12 and 13 before the three-putt bogey on No. 18. ""As I started rolling a couple birdies, the hole got bigger, I thought, just because I was more confident in the whole putting stroke."

7-Up, the putting game that helped him conquer his woes with long putts on fast greens, pits one golfer vs. another on the practice green from various distances. In the version of the game Lutze played with Budzien and Hunt, the golfer who is closest to one hole gets to pick the next hole and points are accumulated until one golfer gets to to seven.

"The way we play it, closest to the hole gets a point; if you make it, you get two points; if you hit somebody else, you lose a point or if you three- or four-putt, you lose points," Lutze explained, saying that Arrowhead's version is focused on the first putt, but Marquette's version requires all putts to be holed, creating the potential for the latter two point deductions. "I did both (versions). I did my version with my team and Piercen Hunt and the assistant coach for Arrowhead. I did Bud's version with him.

"We like to battle each other, just because we know we're close in competition. Being able to help each other will help everybody. It will actually strengthen our will to be better each time. (Niswonger) tells us 'Don't focus on the other team, focus on your team and try to beat everybody on your team.' If you can do that, you're probably going to beating the kids on the other teams."

Indeed, that's the way it went this week. One day after No. 5 golfer Ethan Graham led the way with a 70, Lutze, Blair and Andrew Sagrillo, who shot 76 despite a bogey/double-bogey finish, did the honors to help the Hilltoppers finish their march to victory.

"These last two days, we realized how deep our team was," Blair said. "We knew coming in here, we had five solid guys. But on my back nine (Monday), I thought we were down, because I didn't know the scores and I was plus-6. I talked to (Niswonger) and said, 'How far are we down?' And he said (Graham) was 2-under, I was like 'Oh my gosh, that's unbelievable.'

"Compared to last year's team (that finished second to Arrowhead), where we thought we were super deep, but it ended up we weren't. This was really nice. As the year evolved, we realized how deep we were and how many guys could shoot some consistent scores."

As for Arrowhead, it got a pair of 73s from Hunt and No. 4 golfer Matthew Raab and a 74 from Yost at the No. 1 spot. But it had to count a score of 80 or higher for the second day in a row and its 300 wasn't enough to put a dent into Marquette's lead.

"They put the pedal to the metal and never let up," Budzien said of Marquette. "We got within two. I was proud and I thought maybe we were coming (back). We just kind of got on a plateau and (Marquette) they were ascendent and we weren't. They deserved it. They were better than we were."

Individually, Hunt became the first golfer in WIAA history to win state titles in both his freshman and sophomore years when his 73 left him in a playoff with Adam Garski of Wauwatosa East/West.

They matched pars on No. 1 before Hunt won with a par on No. 9. He blistered a 5-iron from right of the right-hand cart path on the hole they had just played, stinging a low-runner that covered some 250 yards up the hill to just off the fringe on No. 9, leading to a par to beat Garski, whose drive came to rest beneath the deep lip of a fairway bunker, leading to a bogey.


2019 Skinny

Deeper pool of quality teams from southeast Wisconsin could turn this state tournament into one for the record books

Over the last decade, southeast Wisconsin's dominance of the WIAA Division 1 state boys golf tournament has been well-chronicled.

After all, to the winners go the spoils ... and the headlines.

The greater Milwaukee area has swept the gold and silver trophies five times since 2009. In fact, the last time that area of the state has been denied either trophy was 2003 when Madison La Follette took home the gold trophy and River Falls the silver.

This year promises to deliver a similar storyline. Milwaukee Marquette and Hartland Arrowhead, who have traded places among the top two spots on the leaderboard the last two years at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, could very well wind up there again.

Marquette, the reigning Division 1 state champion, was the only school among the 16 state qualifiers to break 300 during sectional action. And the Hilltoppers did it with authority, shooting 290 at Brown Deer Park GC with all five of their golfers shooting 78 or better, led by medalist Jack Lutze's 70.

Arrowhead, meanwhile, doesn't have the depth it's brought to state the last few years. But the Warhawks do have the state's best golfer in junior Piercen Hunt, who this year will attempt to become only the third three-time state champion, joining Green Bay Preble's Bill Heim (1986 through '88) and Glenwood City's Jeremy Lyons (1997 through '99), and the first to accomplish the feat before his senior year.

However, there is a significant storyline that might not get as much attention once play begins Monday at 7 a.m.

Thanks to the cause initiated by the Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin and the effect of having WIAA assistant director Tom Shafranski, who oversees golf for the association, assigning teams to regional groupings for postseason play, the 2019 Division 1 field might be the strongest ever.

As much as southeast Wisconsin has done to raising the bar, not to mention the trophies, during the last 10 years, many of its state qualifiers have kept the state championship being as good as it could be.

While that region of the state has strengthened its grip on the top of the leaderboard over the last five years, it has dominated the back end of it, too. In that span, southeast Wisconsin has accounted for at least three of the bottom five teams in the final standings four of those years. 

As coaches in that area have argued almost the entire time, that was not a reflection on those teams that made it as much as it as it was a poor reflection on the process that allowed them to get there. One of the foundations of WIAA state tournaments in all sports since its inception more than 100 years ago has been geographic representation, but — more often than not — the guest list of schools from southeast Wisconsin at the Division 1 state golf tournaments was not representative of the balance of power in that area.

Changes to the WIAA executive staff put those assignments into the hands of the directors for each sport and, by all accounts, Shafranski aced his first attempt to balance teams from southeast Wisconsin his regional assignments for the 2019 tournament series.

Teams from that area accounted for the top five sectional scores last week and eight of the top nine. For the record, two teams from southeast Wisconsin — Mequon Homestead (322) and Kettle Moraine (330) — shot the two highest scores among the 16 teams that qualified for the state tournament, but they did it on what quite possibly was the most demanding sectional course in any division: The Irish Course at Whistling Straits in Haven.

So what does that mean this week at University Ridge?

First, all four quadrants of the state will be strongly represented at the state tournament. Northeast Wisconsin (Kaukauna), northwest Wisconsin (Hudson and Eau Claire Memorial) and southwest Wisconsin (Middleton) each have teams as capable of giving Milwaukee Marquette a run for the state title as do the ones in the Hilltoppers' proverbial backyard.

Second, the quality of play, from top-to-bottom, could be unprecedented. With 320 having long been the standard for team strength in boys golf — that's four scores of 80 in the play-five, count-four format — that was a mark 16 of the 18 state qualifiers met at last week's sectional (Mequon Homestead and Kettle Moraine were the outliers, again, on a tough course) vs. a year ago when only 13 did so amid scoring conditions considered slightly more conducive to low scores than what Mother Nature threw at golfers this year.

Only once in the last 10 years have more than 10 teams shot 640 or lower for 36 holes in a single state tournament and that was 2016 when 11 teams veraged 320 or better each day. The average is six and that number figures to be easily eclipsed with this field.

Records could fall. Milwaukee Marquette won its two state titles in the last three years with identical 598 scores, three shots shy of Madison La Follette's 2003 scoring record for 36 holes (595) both times. Individually, only five golfers have broken 140 in a state tournament and many believe Hunt's quest for a third state title could lead to a run on the Division 1 state record (136, set by Homestead's Andy Hansen in 2006 and matched by Homestead's Jordan Niebrugge in 2012) — if not by him, by the deep pool of golfers chasing him.

And wouldn't it be something if either the 2019 team championship or medalist honor was decided Tuesday on the par-5 ninth hole by someone who didn't play quite well enough to draw a Day 2 tee time off No. 1 among the top teams and individuals but didn't play poorly enough to be counted out entirely? If it was ever going to happen, this could be the year.

Projected top three teams

1) Milwaukee Marquette; 2) Kaukauna; 3) Hartland Arrowhead.

Projected top three individuals

1) Piercen Hunt, Hartland Arrowhead; 2) Brock Hlinak, Kaukauna; 3) Russell Dettmering, Merrill.

rob@killarneygolfmedia.com

Rob started covering the Wisconsin golf scene in 1987 at the Wisconsin State Journal in Madison & has been the only reporter covering all levels of state golf. He joined Killarney Golf Media in Sept. 2015 & helped launch Wisconsin.Golf in Jan. 2016.