Player of the week
Rachel Kauflin, Wauwatosa East/West. The Central Michigan recruit was the only golfer of any regional in the state to break par during WIAA regional competition, firing a 2-under-par 70 at Oakwood Park Golf Course in Franklin to win the Division 1 Franklin regional by five shots. Kauflin shot 73-77 for a 150 total at the 2018 Division 1 state tournament where she finished third behind Bay Port sophomore Jo Baranczyk (142) and Emil Lauterback of Hartland Arrowhead (143), now a freshman at the University of Wisconsin.
Most improved player?
Meredith Boos, Waukesha Catholic Memorial. WIAA girls golf regionals are more than a start to the 2019 postseason. They are a chance to measure progress. One year after shooting a 92 in a Division 1 regional at Muskego Lakes Country Club at the 2018 Franklin regional, Boos shot even-par 72 at Broadlands Golf Course in North Prairie — the lowest score of any regional across the state — and led Catholic Memorial to the title at the Waukesha co-op regional. The senior, whose round included an eagle 2 on No. 17 and a 2-under 34 on the back nine, topped Oconomowoc senior Grace Suter by five shots for medalist honors and helped the Crusaders roll to the team title with a 334 total, 18 strokes ahead of runner-up Hartland Arrowhead.
Team of the week
Brookfield Central. A change in regional venues didn't stop the Lancers from firing the first salvo in what promises to be an entertaining battle among as many as five teams for the WIAA Division 1 state championship in just more than a week at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison . All five Brookfield Central golfers shot 83 or better at the Franklin regional as the Lancers won with a 318 total — 12 shots lower than any other winning total in the state — and served notice that they have the talent to not only earn its 10th straight state tournament berth (and 27th overall), but also contend for its first state title since 2003. Central was ranked second in the most recent Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin Division 1 poll behind Middleton, which won the Baraboo regional with a 340 total. But the Lancers could be tough to beat if they continue to get the kind of balance they saw at the regional, where sophomore Sarah Balding shot 75, senior Sami Krutz a 78, junior Kyley Wipper an 82 and juniors C.J. Romero and Erin Rosenkrantz a pair of 83s.
Duo of the week
Jessica Hagman & Lanie Veenendall, New Richmond. If these names look familiar, they are. Sort of. Hagman earned this nod a year ago when then-Tigers senior Maggie Veenendall (73) and Hagman (83) helped New Richmond (340) win the Division 1 Superior regional. This time, Hagman took the lead role with a 2-over-par 73 at Nemadji GC in Superior and sophomore Lanie Veenendall, whose older sister is now at the University of Sioux Falls (S.D.), chipped in with a 77 as the Tigers matched their winning score of a year ago (340) on the same regional course and edged River Falls (345) to collect the team title in the first step of what they hope is a return trip to the state tournament. New Richmond finished fifth at University Ridge in 2018.
Conference of the week
Badger South Conference & Fox River Classic Conference. Both leagues qualified five of their seven schools for WIAA sectional play. Defending Division 2 state champion Madison Edgewood was the only Badger South team to advance as a regional champion, winning its own regional at Pleasant View Golf Course in Middleton with a 333. Three of the five FRCC sectional qualifiers — Bay Port, De Pere and Sheboygan North/South — got there by winning regional titles. In all, there will be 21 conferences represented with teams at the sectional level this week. There are also three golf independents still alive..
Debut of the week
Ava Salay, Prescott. The Cardinals freshman shot 80 Bristol Ridge GC in Somerset to win the WIAA Division 2 regional by eight shots over teammate Alexis Fredericks. and lead Prescott to the team title with a 379 total, 26 strokes ahead of runner-up St. Croix Central. Salay was one of just two freshmen to win regional titles (Union Grove's Norah Roberts won the Division 1 Kenosha Tremper regional with an 81) and showed she could be a bonafide contender for medalist honors at the Division 2 state tournament, where the top two finishers from 2018 (Clair Phakamad of Appleton Xavier and Annie Balduzzi of La Crosse Aquinas) have graduated, leaving Madison Edgewood's Grace Welch (a regional champion last week at the Edgewood regional) and Grace Jaeger as the top returning finishers from the 2018 state tournament.
Comeback of the week
Oconomowoc. Senior Madison LaPaz inspired a comeback for the ages as the Racoons bounced back from a 197 on the front nine at Hartford GC with a 171 on the back nine — a 26-stroke swing — to jump from sixth place into third and qualify for sectionals with ease. LaPaz went 50-40 to salvage a 90 behind junior teammate Grace Suter (42-37) while seniors Grace Westerman (50-42) and Lauren Drews (55-52) also contributed to the turnaround. Even junior Macie Borgman (58-53), whose 111 was thrown out, got into the act.
Pursuit of perfection continues. Let's focus on the impressive numbers. I perfectly forecast the four sectional team qualifiers from six Division 1 regionals and two Division 2 regionals. Unfortunately, there are 12 regionals in Division 1 and six in Division 2 so the pursuit of perfection continues. I may never get there with my individual projections, but I'll pat myself on the back for correctly identifying the equivalent of 31 of 48 individual qualifiers in Division 1 and 16 of 24 in Division 2.
Crossing the tees
Oregon junior Alyssa Schmidt was forced to withdraw after seven holes of the WIAA Division 1 Madison Memorial regional at Blackhawk CC. The Badger South Conference champion had been cleared to play after accidentally being struck in the head by a teammate's golf club earlier in the week, but symptoms returned during the round, according to her father Rob, and caused her to stop playing late in the front nine. ... Last week's wet wether caused 11 of the 18 regionals to be moved later in the week, sometimes causing conflicts with homecoming festivities for golfers at several schools. Thus far, the only sectional change to the schedule is with Tuesday's DeForest regional, which has been moved from Lake Windsor Golf Club in Windsor to The Oaks GC in Cottage Grove. ... Madison Edgewood's regional championship at Pleasant View GC in Middleton was the powerhouse program's 22nd consecutive regional title dating to 1997, when the Crusaders (390) finished second to Middleton (382) in the single-division format that lasted until 2003. ... Edgewood and reigning Division 1 state champion Kettle Moraine both advanced to the sectional level as regional champions. So did 2018 Division 1 state champion Jo Baranczyk of Bay Port, who shared medalist honors at the Bay Port regional with Sadie Kelley of Pulaski.