TOWN OF ROME — There are a lot of tomorrows in Piercen Hunt's life, not to mention his golf schedule, but the Hartland golfer insists the one that went so well Tuesday wasn't motivated by the one that did not seven days earlier.
Rather, Hunt was triggered by a desire to get even with a pair of golf courses at Lake Arrowhead Golf Club that have had his number the last two years. He was also driven by a goal to qualify for the National PGA Junior Championship later this summer on his own merit, a rare gap on his decorated golf resume.
Hunt checked both boxes during Tuesday's final round of the Lake Arrowhead Invitational, the first major event on the summer junior golf calendar, but he logged overtime to do it. One week after falling short in his bid to become the first to win three WIAA state boys golf championships by the end of his junior year, Hunt outlasted fellow high school seniors-to-be Josh Teplin of Mequon and Cameron Huss of Kenosha and recent Milwaukee Marquette grad Drew Sagrillo of Pewaukee with a birdie 3 on the first playoff hole (No. 10 on the Lakes Course) as thunder could be heard rumbling in the distance.
Hunt had his chances to put away his first Lake Arrowhead victory during regulation, playing his first 12 holes in 1-under only to bogey three of the next four holes en route to an even-par 72. His 36-hole total of 2-over 146 left him tied with Sagrillo, who followed up on his 77 on the Pines Course in Monday's opening round with a 69 — the low round of the tournament — in his first trip over the Lakes Course; Teplin (72) and Huss (72). Teplin, who played his final four holes in 2-under, parred the playoff hole to gain the runner-up distinction over Sagrillo and Huss, who both bogeyed the hole.
"I didn't come here meaning to prove anything like that," Hunt said of any perceived disappointment that might have come with his sixth-place finish last week at University Ridge Golf Course in Madison. "It might so happen to be that's what people take away. But I came here to prove to myself wasn't really anything to sweat about. It would have been nice (to win), but at the end of the day of the day it's just a tournament and you don't win many tournaments every year. To win this week, I look at it about the same as if I had won last week and not won this week, you know, finished sixth.
"They are more or less equal in my mind, 36 holes against just about the same field — it's a little bit smaller, but a lot of the same guys. There wasn't much I was trying to prove; just validating that I can play here, I guess."
WIAA Division 1 champion Russell Dettmering was not in the field at Lake Arrowhead, but will be next week's Wisconsin PGA Junior Championship in Milwaukee, an event that Hunt will skip. Among those chasing Hunt and fellow first-round leaders Thomas Kriewaldt of Middleton (fifth) and Ty Kretz of Marinette (13th) were WIAA Division 2 state champion Joe Forsting of Edgerton and Division 3 champion Drake Wilcox of Sheboygan.
The good news for all involved was that the wind died down compared to Monday's breezy opener, aiding the collective effort to keep it between the pines on the tree-lined Lakes Course. The bad news, however, was that the greens on the Lakes Course were just as demanding as ever and while it yielded four more sub-par rounds than the Pines Course did Monday — besides Sagrillo's 69, Wilcox and fellow Sheboygan golfer Max Schmidtke joined Tyler Cleaves of Kaukauna in shooting 1-under 71s — that made it difficult for anyone to pull away.
"In the back of mind, I was thinking it was probably going to go to playoff or get close to it," said Sagrillo, a Dominican (Calif.) University recruit who started on No. 16 in the shotgun start, birdied No. 18 three holes into his round and got to 4-under with a birdie at No. 3 and an eagle at No. 4.
"Actually, I'm riding back with a buddy and he put the clubs in the car and then had to bring them back out. It was fun going into the playoff."
Huss, a University of Wisconsin recruit, and Teplin were mildly surprised that their matching 72s was good enough to join playoff at the playing partners walked off their final green in regulation. "I thought someone in the (lead) group would go lower and I thought I left too many putts out there to get in a playoff so I was happy with the opportunity," Huss said.
Just as quickly as the opportunity opened, Hunt took it away.
The University of Illinois commit had 136 yards into a stiff wind that had developed with the approach of a passing storm that had cleared nearby Sand Valley Golf Resort a few miles away. "I took an 8-iron — the ball was a little above my feet — and I flighted it in there really nice and put it 15 or 18 feet past the pin," said Hunt, whose putt reminded him of one he had seen a playing partner negotiate during regulation. "I pretty much knew what it was going to do. There were only a couple cups of break to it. It wasn't the most complicated putt on the green. I hit it with a lot of pace, but it hit right in the middle of the hole, so I was happy."
And, truth be told, no one was terribly surprised.
"As I was watching the putt, I saw it halfway there and I knew it was good," Teplin said. "It was tracking on line."
And, with his win, Hunt is tracking toward putting together another summer to remember.
It will include a trip July 30 through Aug. 2 to Keney Park GC in Hartford, Conn., for the National PGA Junior Championship. He gained the field as an alternate two years ago and, in 2018, wrote a letter to the National PGA requesting a spot in the field after finishing sixth at Lake Arrowhead and being unable to try to qualify through the WPGA Junior.
"This is the first year that I've earned my spot outright and that's a big honor for me," Hunt said. "I'm able to go there knowing that I played well enough to earn my spot into the event instead of being the next guy in line or write something to the committee."
Green Bay's Jo Baranczyk will also be making a return trip to the national event after successfully defending her title in the girls division.
One day after taking a three-shot lead with a 76 on the Pines Course, the junior-to-be at Bay Port High School shot 78 on the Lakes Course and, at 10-over 154 after 36 holes, held off Franklin's Mallory Swartz (78) by four shots for the victory. Hartland's Jessica Guiser (81) finished third at 16-over 160.
"I definitely realized that they hit it far and their short games are amazing," Baranczyk said of the other girls in the field at last year's National PGA Junior, where she shot 84-79 and missed the cut. "When I was there, I had a great time. Obviously, I didn't play very well, but it's so amazing being able to play with the best juniors in the world. Hopefully, this year I'm able to keep up with them more this year."
|1||Piercen Hunt 2020, Hartland, WI (p)||+2||F||+2||72||74||146||425|
|2||Joshua Teplin 2020, Mequon, WI||+2||F||E||74||72||146||350|
|T3||Drew Sagrillo 2019, Pewaukee, WI||+2||F||-3||77||69||146||275|
|T3||Cameron Huss 2020, Kenosha, WI||+2||F||E||74||72||146||275|
|5||Thomas Kriewaldt 2020, Madison, WI||+3||F||+3||72||75||147||200|
|6||Danny Sanicki 2019, Menomonee Falls, WI||+4||F||+2||74||74||148||175|
|T7||Lukas Heckmann 2019, Middleton, WI||+5||F||+3||74||75||149||145|
|T7||Drake Wilcox 2020, Sheboygan, WI||+5||F||-1||78||71||149||145|
|T9||Ansen Nomm 2020, Minocqua, WI||+6||F||+2||76||74||150||120|
|T9||Connor Brown 2019, Racine||+6||F||+3||75||75||150||120|
|T9||Zak Kulka 2019, Beaver Dam, WI||+6||F||+2||76||74||150||120|
|12||Tyler Cleaves 2019, Kaukauna, WI||+7||F||-1||80||71||151||100|
|T13||Ty Kretz 2021, Marinette||+8||F||+8||72||80||152||85|
|T13||Jacob Beckman 2021, Middleton, WI||+8||F||+2||78||74||152||85|
|15||Jamozzy Skenandore 2020, De Pere, WI||+9||F||+5||76||77||153||75|
|16||Jiseung Choi 2020, Houghton, MI||+10||F||+8||74||80||154||70|
|T17||Benjamin Pausha 2021, Delafield, WI||+11||F||+5||78||77||155||60|
|T17||Kyle Wille 2019, Edgerton, WI||+11||F||+8||75||80||155||60|
|T17||Jack Lutze 2020, Brookfield, WI||+11||F||+5||78||77||155||60|
|20||Maxwell Schmidtke 2019, Sheboygan, WI||+12||F||-1||85||71||156||50|
|T21||Maxamillian Xiong 2021, River Falls, WI||+13||F||+4||81||76||157||42.50|
|T21||Steven Sanicki 2019, Menomonee Falls, WI||+13||F||+4||81||76||157||42.50|
|T23||Simon Cuskey 2020, Rice Lake, WI||+14||F||+8||78||80||158||30|
|T23||Logan Lillehaug 2020, Frederic, WI||+14||F||+9||77||81||158||30|
|T23||Samuel Nielsen 2020, Fond Du Lac, WI||+14||F||+7||79||79||158||30|
|T26||Kyle Bengtson 2020, Woodruff, WI||+15||F||+7||80||79||159||17.50|
|T26||Marty Swab 2020, Menomonee Falls, WI||+15||F||+5||82||77||159||17.50|
|28||Maxwell Reis 2022, De Pere, WI||+17||F||+8||81||80||161||10|
|T29||Grant Wininger 2019, Racine, WI||+19||F||+9||82||81||163||5|
|T29||Addison Raimer 2021, West Bend, WI||+19||F||+6||85||78||163||5|
|31||Alex Borgen 2020, Neenah, WI||+20||F||+12||80||84||164||5|
|32||Matthew Raab 2019, Hartland, WI||+21||F||+9||84||81||165||5|
|T33||Preston Cedergren 2020, Green Bay, WI||+23||F||+15||80||87||167|
|T33||Joseph Forsting 2019, Edgerton, WI||+23||F||+14||81||86||167|
|35||Ian Behringer 2019, Manitowoc, WI||+24||F||+14||82||86||168|
|36||Alex Koenig 2023, Wales, WI||+26||F||+15||83||87||170|
|37||Noah Kirsch 2022, Lancaster, WI||+28||F||+17||83||89||172|
|1||Jo Baranczyk 2021, Green Bay, WI||+10||F||+6||76||78||154||425|
|2||Mallory Swartz 2020, Franklin, WI||+14||F||+6||80||78||158||350|
|3||Jessica Guiser 2024, Hartland, WI||+16||F||+9||79||81||160||300|
|4||Skye Two Hawks Skenandore 2024, De Pere, WI||+18||F||+5||85||77||162||250|
|5||Brighton Young 2021, Loves Park, IL||+19||F||+8||83||80||163||200|
|6||Meredith Boos 2020, Waukesha, WI||+20||F||+12||80||84||164||175|
|7||Elise Hoven 2021, Grafton, WI||+21||F||+13||80||85||165||150|
|8||Holly Murphy 2020, Lake Geneva WI||+22||F||+7||87||79||166||140|
|T9||Myranda Kotlowski 2020, Stoughton, WI||+23||F||+13||82||85||167||125|
|T9||Sadie Kelley 2020, Green Bay, WI||+23||F||+11||84||83||167||125|
|T11||Jolie Guyette 2021, De Pere, WI||+31||F||+12||91||84||175||105|
|T11||Sarah Balding 2022, Brookfield, WI||+31||F||+17||86||89||175||105|
|13||Grace Suter 2020, Oconomowoc, WI||+34||F||+17||89||89||178||90|
|T14||Ashleyjen Powell 2023, Appleton, WI||+38||F||+20||90||92||182||77.50|
|T14||Riley Pechinski 2023, Plover, WI||+38||F||+20||90||92||182||77.50|
|16||Lily Sheppard 2019, Sherwood, WI||+39||F||+19||92||91||183||70|
|17||Treva Dodd 2024, Brookfield, WI||+40||F||+14||98||86||184||65|
|18||Kallie Lux 2021, Janesville, WI||+42||F||+17||97||89||186||60|
|19||Madison Haugen 2024, Brookfield, WI||+43||F||+23||92||95||187||55|
|20||Grace Warrner 2019, Lakewood, WI||+53||F||+30||95||102||197||50|
|21||Emma Onesti 2020, New Franken, WI||+54||F||+27||99||99||198||45|| |