Avery Dudra and Silas Pickhardt were on the verge of something big heading into the final round of the Morgan Stanley WPGA Junior Tour Championship.
Both crossed that unforgettable line Monday at Washington County Golf Course in Hartford.
Dudra, a rising junior at Bay Port High School who lives in Suamico near Green Bay, and Pickhardt, who will be a senior at Madison Memorial, shot matching 68s and emerged as girls and boys champions, respectively, from the invitation-only gathering for winners of 2020 WPGA Junior Tour events. Dudra's round was her lowest in WPGA Junior competition by seven shots; Pickhardt beat by one shot his career-best, which had been 69 a year ago when he won a WPGA Junior Tour event at Cherokee Country Club in Madison.
Dudra, who birdied No. 17 in Sunday's opening round before bad weather forced a suspension in play, parred No. 18 to finish off a 4-over 76. Little did she know that her first sub-70 round was waiting as she overtook runner-up Ava Salay of Prescott (75-73) to win by four shots at even-par 144 with North Dakota State commit Elise Hoven of Grafton (81-73) a distant third, 10 shots off the pace at 154.
"I definitely wasn’t expecting to shoot a 68 (Monday), but the key to that number was my putting," Dudra wrote in a text to Wisconsin.Golf after making six birdies — including three of her last five holes and most on putts between 10 and 15 feet, she said, save a chip-in at No. 16 — to more than offset the two bogeys in her breakthrough round. "From 14 and on, I approached every shot feeling very confident, which was really beneficial to that last stretch."
Pickhardt, meanwhile, bounced back from his lone bogey on No. 2 with birdies at Nos. 4, 8, 12, 13 and 18 to rally from three shots behind first-round leader Bryson Mercier (70-73) and win by two shots with a 3-under 141 total. Fond du Lac's Sam Nielsen (73-75), who signed a National Letter of Intent recently to attend Dominican University (Calif.), finished a distant third at 4-over 148.
"The key to (Monday's) round was my mindset I set for myself," Pickhardt wrote in a text to Wisconsin.Golf after winning for the third time this summer and moving to No. 2 in the WPGA Junior boys player of the year standings.
"When I was standing over the ball, the two things that existed in my head were: the ball and myself. In between shots, I made sure to be myself and continue to have fun, the guys I played with helped me stay grounded, too. They continued to crack jokes throughout the round. The 68 caught me off guard, however. I didn’t wake up thinking I was going to fire my best round of my life (Monday)."
But then he started seeing signs all over the place.
Pickhardt said he one-putted every hole on the front nine to shoot 1-under 35. He added that he "could feel something click" when he nearly drove the green on No. 10, a 362-yard par-4 that he double-bogeyed during his opening 73.
"It meant a lot to win this event," Pickhardt wrote. "I had been playing really well at the beginning of summer and hit a little bit of a slump the past two weeks so coming out and winning felt event better. I had some family waiting at the 18th green, too, watching me, which is a rare occurrence for people to watch me play, so it made it all the more special to win."
Dudra, who slipped past Bay Port teammate Jo Baranczyk, another North Dakota State commit, and moved into seventh in the WPGA Junior girls player of the year standings, felt her victory validated the work she has put into her game away from competition.
"This win is important to me, because it was the product of hours of work I’ve recently put into my short game," Dudra wrote. "Seeing that hard work come into fruition was very rewarding."
|1||Silas Pickhardt 2021, Madison, WI||-3||F||-4||73||68||141||350|
|2||Bryson Mercier 2022, Powers, MI||-1||F||+1||70||73||143||300|
|3||Samuel Nielsen 2020, Fond Du Lac, WI||+4||F||+3||73||75||148||250|
|T4||Jiseung Choi 2020, Houghton, MI||+5||F||+3||74||75||149||187.50|
|T4||Logan Pechinski 2021, Plover, WI||+5||F||+4||73||76||149||187.50|
|T6||Luke Abram 2021, Williams Bay, WI||+6||F||-1||79||71||150||140|
|T6||William Schlitz 2024, Eau Claire, WI||+6||F||+1||77||73||150||140|
|T6||Aiden Cudney 2024, Appleton, WI||+6||F||+5||73||77||150||140|
|T9||Nathan Theama 2021, Cedarburg, WI||+7||F||+4||75||76||151||115|
|T9||Quinn Berglin 2020, Pewaukee, WI||+7||F||+6||73||78||151||115|
|11||Spencer Lynch 2023, Neenah, WI||+8||F||E||80||72||152||100|
|T12||Ryan Darling 2022, Green Bay, WI||+9||F||+1||80||73||153||76.40|
|T12||Alwang Deang 2023, Madison, WI||+9||F||+2||79||74||153||76.40|
|T12||Connor Nelson 2021, Waukesha, WI||+9||F||+3||78||75||153||76.40|
|T12||Charlie Erlandson 2023, Verona, WI||+9||F||+6||75||78||153||76.40|
|T12||Nick Mueller 2023, Baldwin, WI||+9||F||+7||74||79||153||76.40|
|T17||Aidan Duchelle 2020, West bend, WI||+10||F||+2||80||74||154||50|
|T17||Kaeden Nomm 2022, Minocqua, WI||+10||F||+3||79||75||154||50|
|T17||Jakson Jazgar 2022, Green Bay, WI||+10||F||+4||78||76||154||50|
|T17||Alex Koenig 2023, Wales, WI||+10||F||+3||79||75||154||50|
|T17||Alex Weiss 2023, Middleton, WI||+10||F||+5||77||77||154||50|
|22||Brice Klabunde 2020, Cameron, WI||+11||F||-1||84||71||155||35|
|T23||Jacob Frederickson 2022, Cottage Grove, WI||+12||F||+2||82||74||156||25|
|T23||Tyson Sparks 2024, Muskego, WI||+12||F||+7||77||79||156||25|
|T23||Thomas Kriewaldt 2020, Madison, WI||+12||F||+8||76||80||156||25|
|26||Samuel Evenson 2021, Holmen, WI||+13||F||+10||75||82||157||15|
|T27||William Harned 2024, Nashotah, WI||+17||F||+7||82||79||161||6.67|
|T27||Maxwell Reis 2022, De Pere, WI||+17||F||+9||80||81||161||6.67|
|T27||Alec Sosnowski 2022, Verona, WI||+17||F||+10||79||82||161||6.67|
|30||Max Breiling 2022, Onalaska, WI||+18||F||+10||80||82||162||5|
|T31||Trey Oswald 2022, Beloit, WI||+19||F||+6||85||78||163||3.33|
|T31||Matthew Paulson 2021, North Prairie, WI||+19||F||+6||85||78||163||3.33|
|T31||Grant Wieczorek 2022, Pewaukee, WI||+19||F||+13||78||85||163||3.33|
|T34||Sam Godager 2023, Madison, WI||+23||F||+11||84||83||167|
|T34||Christian Sobczak 2021, Thiensville, WI||+23||F||+13||82||85||167|
|36||Parker Etzel 2023, Eau Claire||+27||F||+9||90||81||171|
|T37||Ben Hilbelink 2022, Menomonee Falls, WI||+28||F||+11||89||83||172|
|T37||Matthew Mueller 2021, Baldwin, WI||+28||F||+12||88||84||172|
|39||Kaleb Lycke 2021, La Crosse, WI||+29||F||+14||87||86||173|
|1||Avery Dudra 2022, Suamico, WI||E||F||-4||76||68||144||350|
|2||Ava Salay 2023, Prescott, WI||+4||F||+1||75||73||148||300|
|3||Elise Hoven 2021, Grafton, WI||+10||F||+1||81||73||154||250|
|4||Jessica Guiser 2024, Hartland, WI||+11||F||-1||84||71||155||200|
|5||Norah Roberts 2023, Racine, WI||+12||F||+6||78||78||156||175|
|6||Jenna Anderson 2022, Dousman, WI||+13||F||+5||80||77||157||150|
|7||Skye Two Hawks Skenandore 2024, De Pere, WI||+14||F||+5||81||77||158||140|
|8||Sarah Balding 2022, Brookfield, WI||+15||F||+10||77||82||159||130|
|9||Brighton Young 2021, Loves Park, IL||+16||F||+6||82||78||160||120|
|T10||Kallie Lux 2021, Janesville, WI||+17||F||+7||82||79||161||91|
|T10||Cassandra Psuik 2023, Greenfield, WI||+17||F||+9||80||81||161||91|
|T10||Jolie Guyette 2021, De Pere, WI||+17||F||+3||86||75||161||91|
|T10||Treva Dodd 2024, Brookfield, WI||+17||F||+6||83||78||161||91|
|T10||Glenna Sanderson 2021, Middleton, WI||+17||F||+8||81||80||161||91|
|T15||Madison Haugen 2024, Brookfield, WI||+19||F||+8||83||80||163||67.50|
|T15||Hannah Dunk 2023, Janesville, WI||+19||F||+9||82||81||163||67.50|
|17||Lauren Peterson 2022, Hartland, WI||+21||F||+12||81||84||165||60|
|T18||Amanda Karvala 2021, New Berlin, WI||+23||F||+10||85||82||167||52.50|
|T18||Madeline Fiebig 2022, Waukesha, WI||+23||F||+14||81||86||167||52.50|
|20||Ashleyjen Powell 2023, Appleton, WI||+24||F||+10||86||82||168||45|
|T21||Adalyn Johnston 2024, Green Bay, WI||+31||F||+14||89||86||175||37.50|
|T21||McKenna Nelson 2027, Beaver Dam, WI||+31||F||+19||84||91||175||37.50|
|23||Belle Kongshaug 2026, Elk Mound, WI||+35||F||+12||95||84||179||30|
|24||Nora Purtell 2022, Brookfield, WI||+40||F||+22||90||94||184||25|