Player of the week
Holly Murphy, Lake Geneva Badger/Williams Bay. The North Dakota State recruit made five birdies (four in her first five holes) and two bogeys at The Legend at Bristlecone Golf Club in Hartland en route to a 3-under-par 69 and an 11-stroke victory over Kettle Moraine's Julia Schilling at the WIAA Division 1 Kettle Moraine girls golf sectional. The score was the lowest by three shots at any of the nine sectionals around the state in Division 1 or 2 and qualified Murphy for the state tournament for the third year in a row. She placed eighth as a sophomore and 10th as a junior.
Team of the week
Brookfield Central. The Lancers and coach Brian Scrobel will probably never tire of earning this distinction until they win their second WIAA Division 1 state title (and first since 2003). At their own sectional at Wanaki Golf Course in Menomonee Falls, they had both the lowest counting score from a No. 1 golfer (a 72 from Sami Krutz) and a No. 4 golfer (an 83 from junior Kyley Wipper) of any of the nine sectional champions in the state this week. That bodes well for the Lancers' chances next week at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison, where the Division 1 champion has only counted one score north of 85 over the last three years. It marks the 27th WIAA state tournament appearance for Brookfield Central, matching Mequon Homestead's state record.
Duo of the week
Sami Krutz & Sarah Balding, Brookfield Central. Krutz (72) and Balding (76) finished first and third, respectively, at the Lancers' own Division 1 sectional at Wanaki GC in Menomonee Falls to lead Brookfield Central to the team title with a 313 total and a WIAA record-tying 27th state tournament appearance. Their aggregate score of 148 edged by one shot that of individual state qualifiers Caylie (74) and Myranda (75) Kotlowski of Stoughton, who finished 1-2 at the Division 1 DeForest sectional at The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove.
Conference of the week
Fox River Classic Conference. Three teams and two individuals from the FRCC are headed to University Ridge next week, led by sectional champions Bay Port and Sheboygan North/South — the Pirates for the third year in a row and Sheboygan for the first time since 2011. Green Bay Preble co-op, a runner-up to Bay Port at the Green Bay Notre Dame sectional, is headed back to state for the 11th time and the third time in five years, continuing a trend that saw the Hornets qualify in 2015 and 2017. Seniors Sadie Kelley of Pulaski and Rylie Severson of Ashwaubenon, a Winona (Minn.) State recruit, have also punched their tickets to the state tournament individually.
Rookie of the week
Brin Neumann, Tomah. The freshman served as the catalyst for the Timberwolves' sectional championship performance at the Division 1 Stevens Point sectional at Stevens Point Country Club. Neumann fired an 82 to earn medalist honors by two shots as Tomah shot 360 — three shots better than runner-up Stevens Point — and won just its second sectional championship (and first since 2014). Honorable mention in this category goes to Prescott freshman Ava Salay and Union Grove freshman Norah Roberts. Salay, who earned the nod at the regional level, followed up that performance with an 84 at Pheasant Hills Golf Course in Hammond to earn medalist honors by two shots at the Division 2 Baldwin-Woodville sectional and lead the Cardinals to both the team title and its first state tournament berth. Roberts shot 81 at the Legend of Bristlecone in Hartland and helped Union Grove qualify for the state tournament for the first time since 2016.
Comeback of the week
Green Bay Preble co-op. A week ago, the Hornets shot 360 at Brown County Golf Course near Green Bay and finished third at the WIAA Division 1 Bay Port regional. Tuesday, they shot 348 at Thornberry Creek at Oneida and became the only state qualifier of the 18 between Divisions 1 and 2 to reach the state tournament without finishing first or second at a regional.
Playoff of the week
Flip a coin. After 11 tournament postponements during the week of WIAA regionals, there was very little drama at the sectional level. In fact, there were only two playoffs of note between the nine sectionals (six in Division 1 and three in Division 2), both for the last of the three individual berths. At Lake Breeze Golf Club in Winneconne, Alyssa Dreher of Kewaskum/Campbellsport outlasted Madeline Kiley of Kimberly on the second extra hole Monday for the final berth at the Division 1 Oshkosh North sectional after both golfers shot 86. The next day, Big Rivers Conference champion Paige Hillman of Hudson also won a two-hole playoff over River Falls senior Hannah Harper at the Division 1 Stevens Point sectional after both golfers shot 87.
Stat of the week
Participation. There were 526 recorded scores in Division 1 and 254 in Division 2 during last week's WIAA regional, which means there were 780 golfers in this year's postseason (27 more than a year ago). If you are among the 78 golfers to qualify for state in Division 1 and 39 to advance in Division 2, you are among the top 15 percent of the field in this year's tournament series.
More like rejection machine. Girls golf is becoming a lot more unpredictable. That's my story and I'm sticking to it. My work in projecting state qualifying teams dropped for the third year in a row as I connected on just 13 of 18 (after correctly forecasting 16 in 2017 and 14 a year ago). Individually, I accurately told you before it happened 18 of the 27 state qualifiers, which was three fewer than 2018, but seven more than 2017.
Crossing the tees
WIAA Division 2 Appleton Xavier sectional runner-up Wrightstown joined Prescott in qualifying for the state tournament for the first time. ... Division 2 Baldwin-Woodville sectional runner-up St. Croix Central ended the longest state tournament drought, qualifying for the second time and first since 2003. ... It will be a milestone state tournament for Middleton and Hartland Arrowhead, who both earned their 20th state tournament appearances. ... Defending Division 2 state champion Madison Edgewood is making its 22nd state appearance looking for its 15th state championship, which would move the Crusaders into a share of ninth place on the National Federation of State High Schools Associations girls golf record book.