State Am 3 Piercen Hunt drive

Piercen Hunt of Hartland takes a five-stroke lead into Thursday’s final round of the Wisconsin State Amateur being played at Westmoor CC.

BROOKFIELD – Piercen Hunt takes a five-shot lead into the final round of the 120th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship, on a course that has given up just eight sub-par rounds through 54 holes and only one score better than 68.

In other words, it’s highly unlikely that someone is going to throw a course record at him in the final round Thursday at Westmoor Country Club.

Hunt’s closest pursuers, however, weren’t ready to hand him the trophy. This is Westmoor, after all, where tiny mistakes turn into bogeys and the wrong decision, compounded by the poorly executed shot, can turn any hole into a scorecard wrecker.

“I think 18 pars around here is a good round, regardless of what kind of shape you’re in in a tournament,” Hunt said. “I’m just going to go out and play the golf I know I can and if I’m playing well and able to take it under par, that’s great.”

Hunt, a rising sophomore at the University of Illinois from Hartland, shot an even-par 70 on Wednesday, a day that produced just one sub-par round, a 68 by Jack Schultz. Hunt was at even-par 210 through 54 holes, five shots ahead of Cameron Huss (72-215), six ahead of Adam Garski (72-216) and seven ahead of Adam Miller (71-217).

“There’s definitely going to have to be some help from Piercen,” said Garski, of Wauwatosa, who has a pair of top-25 finishes in the State Amateur on his resume. “But it’s doable. Even if Piercen stays at even par, you can go out there and shoot 5-, 6-under.”

Easier said than done. Other than Zak Kulka’s sensational opening 64, not a single score in this State Amateur has been better than 2-under.

“You can’t ask too much from this golf course,” said Miller, who lives in Nekoosa and caddies at Sand Valley. “You’ve really got to stay patient. That’s the thing with every State Am every year. You’ve got to be patient. But this one especially. The way they’ve got it set up out here, it doesn’t give you a lot of opportunity.”

The left-handed Hunt shook off an opening bogey Wednesday and played a solid, if unspectacular, round. He birdied Nos. 3 and 7, bogeyed Nos. 8 and 11 – the latter after his tee shot came to rest in a sand-filled divot – and rolled in a 12-foot birdie putt after a huge drive on No. 16 to get back to even par.

“I started today a little shaky,” he said. “That’s kind of final-group nerves. It’s a thing that exists and everyone deals with it. I was able to steady myself pretty early in the round and get back to playing the golf that I know I can.”

Huss, of Kenosha, a rising sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, has had a good summer. He lost in a playoff at the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship last month and tied for fifth in both the WSGA Match Play and the Balance & Believe Invitational.

Playing alongside Hunt for the third straight day, Huss made three consecutive bogeys on Nos. 6-8 but finished strong, posting a 1-under 34 on the back.

“I got off to a little shaky start at the end of the front nine with those three bogeys,” Huss said. “But I knew the back has been playing a little easier all week. I just stayed steady and patient and knew I’d get a birdie or two there to finish. If I can get off to a good start tomorrow and try to close that gap on the front nine, maybe I can make a run at it.”

Hunt and Huss will play together again Thursday, joined by Garski in the final group at 11:40 a.m.

“Cam and I have played an unbelievable amount of golf together over the years,” Hunt said. “It seems like every summer in the State Am or the State Open, we get paired together at some point.

“Cam’s a great player. He hung in there really well today. He’s a grinder. He’s got the right mentality to stay in a tournament like this on a tough course. And the other part of it is, he’s a really good friend and a good competitor and we have a lot of fun playing together.”

Garski stayed within striking distance despite a double-bogey on No. 7 and back-to-back bogeys on Nos. 10 and 11. He played the final seven holes in 1-under.

“I’ve stayed within myself,” he said. “I really didn’t want to make a double-bogey coming into the week. I did have a double-bogey today, which irritated me slightly. What’s worked for me is hitting aggressive shots to conservative lines, not going after pins unless they’re a perfect number and just trying to give myself a birdie putt on every hole.”

Three players were tied for fifth place, eight shots back at 218: defending champion Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls (72), Gabe Dahl of Green Bay (71) and Schultz, a former University of Michigan player who sandwiched a 69 and Wednesday’s 68 around an uncharacteristic 81 in the second round.

They’re not out of it, but they’ll likely need a career-best type of round and some help from the players ahead of them.

“I’ve shot a couple over par every single day, but I’ve had my ‘D’ game on the greens,” said Longbella, who finished up recently at the University of Minnesota and plans to turn pro next month. “For me, it’s just going out there and trying to do what I’ve done ball-striking and get some more putts to go in. If I shoot an under-par round on a hard day, you never know.”

Hunt couldn’t break into the lineup as a freshman at Illinois, a Big Ten powerhouse, but gained valuable experience playing as an individual in tournaments. He is a former two-time WIAA state champion, won the 2019 Western Junior Amateur and shot a 60 earlier this summer at The Club at Lac La Belle.

“He does everything well,” Garski said. “He hits it very far. For the length that he can hit it, he’s relatively accurate. And then his short game is very good. I haven’t played with Piercen in a couple years but I’m sure he’s just gotten better from what he was in high school. It’ll be fun tomorrow.”

Hunt has been what he calls “strategic aggressive” at Westmoor.

“It pretty much is my excuse to hit driver everywhere,” he said with a laugh. “I feel good about how I’m driving it. It’s been pretty solid the whole week. There’s a lot of tee shots that suit my eye, a lot of lines that are pretty comfortable for me. If I’m able to drive it well and put it in play, I think I can give myself the best birdie looks possible and so I see no reason why I would change what I’m doing right now.”

He is 18 holes away from claiming the State Amateur title. But he knows it won’t be easy.

“There’s going to be nerves tomorrow again, for sure,” he said. “Everyone who is up near the top of the leader board in the last few groups is going to have them. It’s just something I have to go out and deal with and put behind me.”

POS
 
PLAYER
TOTAL
THRU
TODAY
R1
R2
R3
R4
STROKES
 
1-Piercen Hunt  Hartland, WIEFE687270 210 
2
Arrow Up
 1
Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI+5F+2746972 215 
3
Arrow Up
 3
Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI+6F+2717372 216 
4
Arrow Up
 4
Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI+7F+1747271 217 
T5
Arrow Up
 3
Thomas Longbella  Chippewa Falls, WI+8F+2737372 218 
T5
Arrow Up
 14
Jack Schultz  Milwaukee, WI+8F-2698168 218 
T5
Arrow Up
 6
Gabe Dahl  Green Bay, WI+8F+1727571 218 
8
Arrow Up
 6
Hunter Eichhorn  Carney, MI+9F+1727671 219 
9
Arrow Down
 1
Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WI+10F+4697774 220 
T10
Arrow Up
 4
Matthew Raab  Hartland, WI+11F+3757373 221 
T10
Arrow Up
 7
Ethan Wilkins  Sussex, WI+11F+2747572 221 
T10
Arrow Down
 3
Jon Sauer  Appleton, WI+11F+6707576 221 
13
Arrow Down
 10
Zak Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+12F+9647979 222 
T14
Arrow Down
 3
Kevin Van Rossum  Hartland, WI+13F+6727576 223 
T14
Arrow Down
 12
Jed Baranczyk  Green Bay, WI+13F+12726982 223 
T14
Arrow Down
 11
Dylan Brown  Reedsburg, WI+13F+10727180 223 
T14
Arrow Down
 3
Tom Boockmeier  Oak Creek, WI+13F+6727576 223 
T14
Arrow Up
 9
Christopher Colla  Fond Du Lac, WI+13F+2737872 223 
T19
Arrow Up
 15
Steven Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI+14F+1767771 224 
T19
Arrow Up
 4
John Blair  Wauwatosa, WI+14F+3757673 224 
T19
Arrow Up
 10
Aidan Lafferty  Downers Grove, Illinois+14F+2767672 224 
T22
Arrow Up
 1
Zach Place  Roselle, IL+15F+4747774 225 
T22
Arrow Up
 30
Evan Myers  Northbrook, IL+15FE787770 225 
T22
Arrow Down
 3
Joe Forsting  Edgerton, WI+15F+5737775 225 
T25
Arrow Up
 4
Michael Bielawski  Waukesha, WI+16F+4757774 226 
T25
Arrow Down
 2
Michael Harris  Brookfield, WI+16F+5747775 226 
T27
Arrow Up
 7
Nick Nelson  Milwaukee, WI+17F+4787574 227 
T27
Arrow Down
 13
Daniel Ozga  Edgerton, WI+17F+9697979 227 
T29
Arrow Up
 5
Carl Christiansen  Naperville, IL+18F+5747975 228 
T29-Mason Schmidtke  Sheboygan, WI+18F+6757776 228 
T29
Arrow Down
 10
Ryonen Faris  Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin+18F+8787278 228 
32
Arrow Up
 20
Bennett Swavely  Hudson, WI+19F+4758074 229 
T33
Arrow Up
 1
Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI+20F+7747977 230 
T33
Arrow Up
 11
Matt Polivka  Muskego, WI+20F+6787676 230 
T33
Arrow Up
 28
Alex Yost  Hartland, WI+20F+4787874 230 
T33
Arrow Down
 10
Sam Van Galder  Janesville, WI+20F+9757679 230 
T33
Arrow Up
 28
Sebastian Kasun  Elm Grove, Wisconsin+20F+4748274 230 
T33
Arrow Down
 4
David Brock  Mequon, WI+20F+8777578 230 
T39
Arrow Up
 13
Ed Dzirbik  Brookfield, WI+21F+6767976 231 
T39
Arrow Up
 13
Nathan Daugherty  Lake Villa, IL+21F+6718476 231 
T39
Arrow Down
 5
Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI+21F+8767778 231 
T39
Arrow Up
 22
Jim Doing  Verona, WI+21F+5787875 231 
T39
Arrow Down
 5
Bob Tierney  Lake Geneva, WI+21F+8728178 231 
T39
Arrow Down
 5
Billy McKay  Milwaukee, WI+21F+8787578 231 
T45
Arrow Down
 1
Matthew Davidson  Mcfarland, WI+22F+8797578 232 
T45
Arrow Up
 7
Maxwell Schmidtke  Sheboygan, WI+22F+7748177 232 
T45
Arrow Down
 26
Drake Wilcox  Sheboygan, WI+22F+12737782 232 
T45
Arrow Down
 28
Joe Weber  West Salem, WI+22F+13767383 232 
T45
Arrow Up
 16
Daniel Benedum  Colgate, WI+22F+6777976 232 
T50
Arrow Up
 2
Tyler Church  Holmen, WI+23F+8787778 233 
T50
Arrow Up
 11
Tyler Leach  Spring Valley, WI+23F+7797777 233 
T50
Arrow Down
 27
Eli Myers  Northbrook, IL+23F+12737882 233 
T53
Arrow Up
 8
Joe DuChateau  Fond Du Lac, WI+24F+8837378 234 
T53
Arrow Down
 19
Robert Gregorski  Menasha, WI+24F+11767781 234 
T53
Arrow Down
 9
Logan Haight  Hartland, WI+24F+10777780 234 
T53
Arrow Down
 1
Derek Hilmershausen  Wausau, WI+24F+9728379 234 
T57
Arrow Down
 28
Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA+25F+13757783 235 
T57
Arrow Up
 4
Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+25F+9777979 235 
T57
Arrow Down
 13
Jarrett Simonson  Kenosha, WI+25F+11787681 235 
T60
Arrow Down
 26
Grant Boyson  Neenah, WI+26F+13738083 236 
T60
Arrow Down
 16
Ryan Zikeli  Hartland, WI+26F+12777782 236 
T62
Arrow Down
 18
George Botts  Madison, WI+27F+13757983 237 
T62
Arrow Down
 10
Travis Meyer  River Falls, WI+27F+12748182 237 
T62
Arrow Down
 18
Matt Werner  Appleton, WI+27F+13748083 237 
T65
Arrow Down
 4
Tom Schoewe  Sun Prairie, WI+28F+12787882 238 
T65
Arrow Down
 21
Jeff Anderson  LaCrosse, WI+28F+14767884 238 
T67
Arrow Down
 6
Austin Gaby  Verona, WI+31F+15768085 241 
T67
Arrow Down
 33
Trent Meyer  Lake Nebagamon, WI+31F+18777688 241 
69
Arrow Down
 17
Sam Cianciola  Nekoosa, WI+34F+19767989 244 

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