2022 WIAA Girls Golf Championships | Day 1, Division 1 | Kylie Walker, Westosha Central

2022 WIAA Girls Golf Championships | Day 1, Division 1 | Kylie Walker, Westosha Central

MADISON — Two visits to the WIAA state girls golf tournament have taught Kylie Walker that if you can't keep the experience fun, you might as well take up cribbage or euchre because you're more apt to find victory in those cards.

That was also the message the Westosha Central junior gave her teammates Monday when they arrived at University Ridge Golf Course set to defend their Division 1 state championship knowing there would be no shortage of teams motivated to deny them. The Falcons, meanwhile, kept their motivation in house and focused on sending lone senior Elle O'Reilly out with a bang.

After 18 holes? So far, so good.

"We kind of just showed up this morning (and said) like, 'Just play golf and have fun,'" Walker said after finishing birdie-birdie to shoot 3-under-par 69, take a share of the lead individually with Brookfield East freshman Payton Haugen and help position Westosha Central (307) comfortably ahead of Middleton (315) with 18 holes left in their time together this season.

"Our (No.) 3, this is her last time playing with us. I just let her know 'Let's just have fun today. What happens happens. Just play your game. Don't put so much pressure on yourself; kind of our 'been there, done that' mentality."

This time, they got there with a score significantly better than either round (319-318) a year ago, when they shot 637 over 36 holes to beat Hamilton (Sussex) by seven shots for their first state title. After going out in 157 on the back nine, Westosha Central fired a 150 finishing on the front behind Walker (33), twin sister Katelyn (37), O'Reilly (39) and No. 4 Chloe Brown (41).

The four counters in the team score combined to play the final four holes of the day in 2-under to pick up five strokes on Middleton, which played that same stretch 3-over. Westosha Central counted a 69 from Kylie Walker, a 73 from Katelyn Walker, an 81 from O'Reilly and an 84 from Chloe Brown in its 307; Middleton — third a year ago — counted a 73 from Vivian Cressman, a 79 from Ellen Close, an 80 from Amanda Beckman and an 82 from No. 5 golfer Maddy Wilcox to keep the Falcons within reach.

Brookfield East (320) and Union Grove (325) are the only other teams within 20 strokes of the lead entering the final round.

"We were really happy with how we played in the practice round (Sunday)," Falcons coach Ryan Dahl said. "They came out and stuck to the plan, which was about patience. Get ourselves to (Tuesday) and be in the last group. We had a goal of about 310 (or) 315 and that's right about where we are."

Much of Westosha Central's gain over a year ago could be linked to its play on the five par-5s. A year ago, the Falcons were 6-over on those holes on Day 1 and 18-over on Day 2; Monday, the four counters played them in 1-over.

"We hit some great shots into par-5s (Monday)," Dahl said. "They gave themselves some really easy birdies, which ... any kick-in is nice."

Birdies were abundant Monday on the front nine, which is where golfers competing for teams will begin their rounds. The top five golfers on the leaderboard made 15 birdies over the first nine holes with Kylie Walker and Payton Haugen accounting for nine of them while defending champion Riley Pechinski of Stevens Point added four of her own to bounce back from a 43 on the back with a 33 on the front.

"I was kind of mad after the first nine; I wasn't doing my best," Haugen said. "On the back nine, I managed to hit my irons closer to the hole. Putting overall today was not great as it probably should be, but I managed to still make birdies with my wedges and irons. To recover from 1-over with 4-under on the back, that just shows how motivated I was because I really want to win this tournament."


Team/Player Leaderboards
University Ridge Golf Course - WIAA Girl's Championship D1 Par: 72 Yardage: 5216
Verona, WI US
Oct 10-11, 2022
Pos. Team/Player (seed) Rd 1 Total
1 Westosha Central 307 307
T1 Kylie Walker (1) 69 69
T3 Katelyn Walker (2) 73 73
T25 Elle O'Reilly (3) 81 81
T34 Chloe Brown (4) 84 84
T65 Emily Mallace (5) 97 97
2 Middleton 315 315
6 Vivian Cressman (1) 74 74
T15 Ellen Close (2) 79 79
T20 Amanda Beckman (3) 80 80
T27 Maddy Wilcox (5) 82 82
46 Abby Schroeder (4) 88 88
3 Brookfield East 320 320
T1 Payton Haugen (2) 69 69
T7 Madison Haugen (1) 75 75
T41 Macy Clegg (4) 86 86
T49 Josie Clegg (3) 90 90
T58 Schick/Holzmacher (5) 94 94
4 Union Grove 325 325
T3 Norah Roberts (1) 73 73
T20 Lexi Manteufel (3) 80 80
T37 Larah Hood-Brennan (4) 85 85
T44 Allie McBryde (2) 87 87
76 Ashley Weber (5) 110 110
5 Waunakee 334 334
T3 Izzi Stricker (1) 73 73
T27 Jordan Shipshock (2) 82 82
T41 Emma Gilding (5) 86 86
T53 Gabby Ziegler (4) 93 93
T65 Georgia Volley (3) 97 97
6 Oconomowoc 342 342
T20 Lauren Lupinck (1) 80 80
T20 Katie Westbrook (2) 80 80
T44 Aubrey Westerman (4) 87 87
T60 Alex Kubly (3) 95 95
64 Paige Westerman (5) 96 96
7 Arrowhead 343 343
T10 Julia Larson (1) 77 77
T10 Kaitlyn Amtmann (2) 77 77
T58 Alexa Reed (4) 94 94
T60 Audrey Kaiser (3) 95 95
T65 Lia Maxwell (5) 97 97
8 Tomah 347 347
T10 Amelia Zingler (2) 77 77
14 Brin Neumann (1) 78 78
T60 Madeline Ewers (3) 95 95
T65 Peyton Foster (4) 97 97
72 Karma Hasselberger (5) 101 101
9 Kaukauna 353 353
T37 Charlie Clinefelter (4) 85 85
T41 McKenna Lowe (2) 86 86
T47 Norah Berken (3) 89 89
T53 Ava Bloch (1) 93 93
T70 Schomin/Isselmann (5) 100 100
10 Divine Savior Holy Angels 360 360
T27 Ava Roesch (2) 82 82
T37 Kate Krueger (1) 85 85
T49 Hannah Strachota (3) 90 90
73 Maddie Olson (4) 103 103
75 Organ/Bruckman (5) 107 107
11 Bay Port 364 364
T20 Adalyn Johnston (1) 80 80
52 Ava Beranek (2) 92 92
T60 Chloe Strunk (3) 95 95
T65 Payton Dudra (5) 97 97
T70 Kristina Kruse (4) 100 100
12 Stevens Point 390 390
9 Riley Pechinski (1) 76 76
T37 Ava Frederiksen (2) 85 85
74 Clare Viau (3) 106 106
77 Crystal Wisinski (5) 123 123
78 Skylar Millan (4) 127 127
 
Individuals
Pos. Player (Team) Rd 1 Total
T7 Mya Nicholson (Janesville Craig) 75 75
T10 Hannah Dunk (Milton) 77 77
T15 A.J. Powell (Appleton North) 79 79
T15 Kate Bogenschutz (Cedarburg) 79 79
T15 Grace Durkin (Notre Dame) 79 79
T15 Nora Cerroni (Waukesha South Co-op) 79 79
T25 Daniella Honkamp (Whitefish Bay) 81 81
T30 Ashleigh Johnson (Reedsburg) 83 83
T30 Bethany Vidruk (Milton) 83 83
T30 Olivia Grothaus (Hudson) 83 83
T30 Abbie Ritzer (New Richmond) 83 83
T34 Emma Raimer (Slinger) 84 84
T34 Kayla Johnson (Hamilton) 84 84
T47 Addison Sabel (Oregon) 89 89
51 Mahlia McCane (River Falls) 91 91
T53 Anna Gosenheimer (Brookfield Central) 93 93
T53 Sophia Baek (Notre Dame) 93 93
T53 Drew Hoffer (Oregon) 93 93

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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