D1 Piercen Hunt

Heartland Arrowhead's Piercen Hunt

Canadian-born Piercen Hunt chose Wisconsin to establish his golfing roots for many reasons, but having bits and pieces of a winter to recharge his competitive battery has to be toward the top of the list.

It was an emotional 2018 for the Hartland Arrowhead golfer and, by the end of it, he was spent.

Hunt makes Wisconsin.Golf's staff-generated list of the top 18 stories of 2018 at the No. 10 position for becoming the first golfer to win WIAA state boys golf championships as a freshman and sophomore. But, like several milestones Hunt checked off his bucket list this year, this one had its downside, too.

While Hunt put himself in position to become the WIAA's first four-time state champion in boys golf, winning in a one-hole playoff over Adam Garski of Wauwatosa East/West, he was reduced to tears after earning another gold medal by the fact he wasn't able to deliver another one for his team, too. Despite his 69-73 card, his Warhawks shot 306-300 and their 606 total fell eight shots shy of Milwaukee Marquette, which shot a pair of 299s to switch spots with Arrowhead after the Hilltoppers finished as runners-up in 2017.

The Warhawks counted seven double-bogeys, three triple-bogeys and one quadruple-bogey over 36 holes. Two of the doubles belonged to Hunt, who offset some of the damage with four birdies and three eagles in his 142 total.

Hunt qualified for the National PGA Junior Championship based on his top-15 finish at the 2017 event. But he shot 76-73-76-72 and finished tied for 53rd at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville.

At least Hunt got the chance. He shot 71 at Watertown Country Club during the 18-hole qualifier for the U.S. Junior Boys Championship and missed qualifying by two shots.

At the Ray Fischer State Amateur Tournament, Hunt led after an opening 65 and was still in the hunt after a second-round 68. But he shot 70-74 in Sunday's 36-hole finale and finished tied for seventh, 15 shots behind winner Jack Schultz.

Hunt was exceptional in two Wisconsin State Golf Association majors, finishing fourth at the Wisconsin State Amateur and winning the WSGA Junior Boys. He opened with a pair of 72s at the Wisconsin State Open and was one of just two high school golfers to make the cut, but shot 77-72 in the 36-hole finale and finished in a tie for 56th. 

However, the year ended on a high note for Hunt. In October, he won one event and finished second in another on the Future Collegians World Tour. In November, he announced his oral commitment to the University of Illinois as part of coach Mike Small's recruiting Class of 2020. 

What awaits in 2019? A rested Hunt without the weight of a college decision on his shoulders could make it fun to watch.