REEDSBURG -- Now the dean among WIAC women’s golf coaches, Howie Samb has seen a lot in his 10 years as UW-Stout coach. But he has never seen a WIAC as competitive as this year.
His Blue Devils shot a WIAC Championship-record 309 during Saturday’s rainy third round only to have UW-Whitewater match them. That kept Stout’s advantage over the Warhawks at three shots entering Sunday’s final-round scramble for the title and NCAA Division III Championship berth.
“The conference is really good,” Samb said. “Oshkosh shot 319 (Saturday), which is phenomenal given this track. Eau Claire (329) faded a little bit. It’s tough. And it’s just getting better.
“I think 309 is the best we’ve ever shot (at conference) and we didn’t gain a shot.”
Indeed, both Stout and Whitewater bettered the WIAC Championship record of 311 that Stout set in the second round of the 2014 championship. The Blue Devils’ 628 total for 36 holes tied the WIAC Championship record set by UW-Eau Claire in 2005 when it was a 36-hole tournament.
Senior Rachel Hernandez led the way for Stout with a 2-over-par 74 -- one shot short of matching Britt McNett-Emmerich’s school record for lowest score at a WIAC championship. The Blue Devils also counted 77s from sophomores Trystin Kluess (tied for second) and Madison McCambridge (tied for sixth) and an 81 from junior Marie Allo. They tossed an 82 from sophomore Alexa Filipiak, who -- like Allo (43-38) -- bounced back from a 43 on the front nine with a 39 on the back.
“It was really nice,” Hernandez said of her teammates’ efforts. “I know everyone has been working really hard to make sure they don’t get too down on themselves. I’m really proud of Alexa and Marie for coming back because it’s really tough to do that, especially in a circumstance like this at conference. I’m really proud of everybody and how they performed (Saturday).”
Whitewater’s piece of a history-making day came courtesy of sophomores CheyAnn Knudsen and Maddie McCue, two transfers second-year Warhawks coach Andrea Wieland coached at Milton High School. Both golfers shot 75 -- leaving Knudsen tied for second (155) and McCue tied for fourth (157) heading into what promises to be an entertaining showdown vs. the Blue Devils.
“I would imagine Howie would say the same; we’ve got to do more of the same, playing your own game” Wieland said. “We’re going to be a little more nervous so we’ve got to figure out how we’re going to calm those nerves. We’re going to talk a little bit about the course and play the course.”
Play begins at 10 a.m. Sunday at Reedsburg CC. The top three teams will tee off together, starting at 11:52 a.m.