HARTFORD — Zak Kulka has been trying to get a lot of things checked off the to-do list this month as he gets ready to leave in August for UW-Green Bay.
Last week, the Beaver Dam golfer had his wisdom teeth removed. Monday, Kulka won his first 36-hole event in 11 years playing WPGA Junior events.
Kulka shot a 3-under-par 69 at Washington County Golf Course and, with a 36-hole 2-under 142 total, captured the Morgan Stanley WPGA Junior Tour Championship by two shots over Drake Wilcox, the reigning WIAA Division 3 state champion from Sheboygan who shot his second straight 72. Jamozzy Skenandore of De Pere closed with a 72 to finish third at 1-over 145.
In the girls competition, Hartland's Jessica Guiser completed a wire-to-wire victory with a final round 76. Her 3-over 147 total gave Guiser, who opened with a 71, a two-shot win over Sarah Balding of Brookfield, who shot 75.
"I got my wisdom teeth out on Wednedsay last week so I've been doing a lot of resting these last few days," Zulka wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.golf. "I haven't really been able to eat a lot of foods so I've been trying to stay hydrated and drink lots of fluids."
Kulka, who was one shot behind Wilcox and Fond du Lac's Sam Nielsen after Sunday's opening round, opened bogey-bogey before making a birdie at the par-5. But he was still one back of Nielsen, who finished fourth, at the turn.
That changed in a hurry as Kulka made a scrambling birdie at No. 10 and then birdied the next two holes in a row to take the lead. After another birdie at the par-3 14th hole, the lefty shanked his approach shot on the par-4 15th hole into a patch of fescue, managed to hit his third shot on the green and then two-putted for bogey to see his lead over Wilcox trimmed to one.
"It was one of those things where it was so bad, you just kind of gotta laugh it off and move on and try not to make too big a score," wrote Kulka, who hit a driver/6-iron on the par-5 17th hole to 20 feet and two-putted for birdie to restore his margin to two going into the home hole. "That wone was big because I knew that we were all still pretty close going into that hole."
For Kulka, whose start Tuesday was his 143rd in a WPGA Junior points event since playing his first Futures Tour event in 2009, the victory comes as the sun prepares to set on his junior career. He will tee it up in the WSGA Junior Amateur one last time next week at Edelweiss Chalet CC in New Glarus and then compete in the Wisconsin State Open at Geneva National GC in Lake Geneva before beginning his freshman year with the Phoenix.
"This was one of the last junior tournaments, so it was nice to finally get the job done and win," Kulka wrote. "I've been playing pretty well lately, so it definitely gives me some more confidence going into my final two tournaments of the summer."
For Guiser, who will be an eighth grader this fall, this was also her first win in a 36-hole WPGA-sponsored junior event. After shooting a 1-under 71 in the opening round, she opened with a birdie Monday and managed to keep rising sophomore Sarah Balding of Brookfield Central at bay down the stretch.
"Having the lead going into a tournament of this level was comforting, and the birdie to start off the round also helped, knowing I had some room for error while playing with two amazing players," Guiser wrote via text message to Wisconsin.golf, referring to Balding and Franklin's Mallory Swartz.
The turning point in her duel with Balding came at the par-3 16th hole. Guiser hit a hybrid on the par-3 to within three feet for birdie; Balding bogeyed.
But Guiser wasn't celebrating quite yet. After going for the green in two on the par-5 17th hole and hitting her second shot thin, she was faced with a tough chip to the green that she got close enough to two-putt for a par.
"Winning this tournament has been an amazing opportunity to play and learn from some of the best players around the area like Rachel Kauflin, Sarah Balding and Mallory Swartz," Guiser wrote. "I am extremely lucky to be able to play with such amazing talent at such a young age."
|1||Zak Kulka 2019, Beaver Dam, WI||-2||F||-3||73||69||142||350|
|2||Drake Wilcox 2020, Sheboygan, WI||E||F||E||72||72||144||300|
|3||Jamozzy Skenandore 2020, De Pere, WI||+1||F||E||73||72||145||250|
|4||Samuel Nielsen 2020, Fond Du Lac, WI||+2||F||+2||72||74||146||200|
|5||Ty Kretz 2021, Marinette||+4||F||+1||75||73||148||175|
|6||Joshua Teplin 2020, Mequon, WI||+5||F||+2||75||74||149||150|
|T7||Ty Mueller 2021, Mequon, WI||+7||F||+5||74||77||151||135|
|T7||Aiden Cudney 2024, Appleton, WI||+7||F||+5||74||77||151||135|
|T9||Carson Brock 2020, Onalaska, WI||+8||F||+3||77||75||152||115|
|T9||Levi Williams 2019, Green Bay, WI||+8||F||+7||73||79||152||115|
|T11||Kyle Bengtson 2020, Woodruff, WI||+9||F||E||81||72||153||95|
|T11||Kyle Wille 2019, Edgerton, WI||+9||F||+5||76||77||153||95|
|T13||Austin Erickson 2020, Sparta, WI||+10||F||+3||79||75||154||70.40|
|T13||Jack Lutze 2020, Brookfield, WI||+10||F||+4||78||76||154||70.40|
|T13||Brice Klabunde 2020, Cameron, WI||+10||F||+6||76||78||154||70.40|
|T13||Hayden LeMonds 2022, Wauwatosa, WI||+10||F||+5||77||77||154||70.40|
|T13||Christian Staudt 2021, Mequon, WI||+10||F||+5||77||77||154||70.40|
|18||Addison Raimer 2021, West Bend, WI||+11||F||+5||78||77||155||55|
|T19||Zach Walsh 2019, Elm Grove, WI||+12||F||+1||83||73||156||47.50|
|T19||Ansen Nomm 2020, Minocqua, WI||+12||F||+8||76||80||156||47.50|
|T21||Brad Buechel 2019, Kewaskum, WI||+13||F||+5||80||77||157||32.50|
|T21||Marty Swab 2020, Menomonee Falls, WI||+13||F||+6||79||78||157||32.50|
|T21||Nick Amtmann 2021, Nashotah||+13||F||+8||77||80||157||32.50|
|T21||Bryson Mercier 2022, Powers, MI||+13||F||+11||74||83||157||32.50|
|T25||Austin Georger 2021, Appleton, WI||+14||F||+8||78||80||158||17.50|
|T25||Jackson Cain 2021, Delafield, WI||+14||F||+10||76||82||158||17.50|
|T27||Benjamin Pausha 2021, Delafield, WI||+15||F||+5||82||77||159||7.50|
|T27||Thomas Kriewaldt 2020, Madison, WI||+15||F||+8||79||80||159||7.50|
|T29||Benjamin Soboleski 2022, Wauwatosa, WI||+16||F||+6||82||78||160||5|
|T29||Matthew Paulson 2021, North Prairie, WI||+16||F||+9||79||81||160||5|
|31||Yinta Yang 2023, Menasha, WI||+17||F||+8||81||80||161||5|
|32||Caden Jacobson 2022, Lake Delton, WI||+19||F||+9||82||81||163||5|
|T33||Noah Kirsch 2022, Lancaster, WI||+20||F||+11||81||83||164|
|T33||Ryan Darling 2022, Green Bay, WI||+20||F||+12||80||84||164|
|T33||Maxamillian Xiong 2021, River Falls, WI||+20||F||+13||79||85||164|
|T36||Jordan Carvenough 2021, Marinette, WI||+21||F||+6||87||78||165|
|T36||Charlie Erlandson 2023, Verona, WI||+21||F||+12||81||84||165|
|T38||Maxwell Reis 2022, De Pere, WI||+23||F||+14||81||86||167|
|T38||Elijah Bartel 2021, Waupaca, WI||+23||F||+17||78||89||167|
|40||Ethan Arndt 2021, Madison, WI||+24||F||+16||80||88||168|
|41||Spencer Stuke 2024, Delafield, WI||+28||F||+15||85||87||172|
|1||Jessica Guiser 2024, Hartland, WI||+3||F||+4||71||76||147||350|
|2||Sarah Balding 2022, Brookfield, WI||+5||F||+3||74||75||149||300|
|3||Elise Hoven 2021, Grafton, WI||+7||F||+1||78||73||151||250|
|4||Rachel Kauflin 2020, Wauwatosa, WI||+10||F||+3||79||75||154||200|
|5||Mallory Swartz 2020, Franklin, WI||+12||F||+6||78||78||156||175|
|6||Skye Two Hawks Skenandore 2024, De Pere, WI||+13||F||+6||79||78||157||150|
|7||Hannah Dunk 2023, Janesville, WI||+17||F||+10||79||82||161||140|
|T8||Isabella Dory 2019, Menomonee Falls, WI||+18||F||+6||84||78||162||125|
|T8||Caylie Kotlowski 2021, Stoughton, WI||+18||F||+9||81||81||162||125|
|10||Samantha Krutz 2020, Brookfield, WI||+19||F||+13||78||85||163||110|
|T11||Myranda Kotlowski 2020, Stoughton, WI||+20||F||+7||85||79||164||95|
|T11||Lauren Peterson 2022, Hartland, WI||+20||F||+6||86||78||164||95|
|13||Annie Balduzzi 2019, Onalaska, WI||+21||F||+7||86||79||165||80|
|14||Norah Roberts 2023, Racine, WI||+22||F||+9||85||81||166||75|
|15||Jenna Anderson 2022, Dousman, WI||+25||F||+13||84||85||169||70|
|16||Alyssa Schmidt 2021, Oregon, WI||+26||F||+15||83||87||170||65|
|17||Madi Vine 2019, Beloit, WI||+27||F||+11||88||83||171||60|
|18||Amanda Karvala 2021, New Berlin, WI||+28||F||+16||84||88||172||55|
|T19||Jolie Guyette 2021, De Pere, WI||+30||F||+14||88||86||174||45|
|T19||Grace Suter 2020, Oconomowoc, WI||+30||F||+15||87||87||174||45|
|T19||Treva Dodd 2024, Brookfield, WI||+30||F||+20||82||92||174||45|
|22||Madison Haugen 2024, Brookfield, WI||+32||F||+15||89||87||176||35|
|23||Rylie Severson 2020, Green Bay||+33||F||+21||84||93||177||30|
|24||Ashleyjen Powell 2023, Appleton, WI||+35||F||+20||87||92||179||25|
|25||Izzi Stricker 2024, Madison, WI||+40||F||+21||91||93||184||20|
|26||Kaci Duquaine 2020, New Franken, WI||+51||F||+28||95||100||195||15|