Other than recognizing Mackenzie Hahn as a name on the roster for the other NCAA Division I women's golf program in Wisconsin, UW-Green Bay's Courtney Matschke didn't know much about the Wisconsin Badger before the two played golf together Tuesday at Brown Deer Park Golf Club in Milwaukee during the final round of the Badger Mutual Insurance Women's Amateur.
Here's what Matschke learned about Hahn after spending four hours with her in the final group in one of the state's top women's events: She doesn't flinch.
The Franklin native threw her very best at Hahn down the stretch over Brown Deer Park's tree-lined front nine, playing it in 1-under-par 35 to finish off an even-par 73. Hahn did her one better, firing a 2-under 34 capped by a walk-off birdie on the final hole as the Badgers' redshirt junior fired her second straight 74 to finish at 2-over 148 and escape with a two-shot victory over Matschke and her playing partner's UWGB teammate, Ashley Kulka of Beaver Dam (73).
Xavier (Ohio) golfer Amy Kucera shot the low round of the day, a 2-under 71, and moved up six spots into sole possession of fourth place at 5-over 151. Jo Baranczyk, the two-time defending WIAA Division 1 state champion from Bay Port High School near Green Bay, shot 75 and was alone in fifth at 152.
"I wasn’t super surprised she didn’t flinch because even though I’d never played with her before, I knew she was a relatively good player," Matschke said of Hahn. "I mean she shot 1-over (Monday) and I had total respect for that and her game. I knew I was gonna need to make some good shots to stay with her."
According to Hahn, the thought of flinching never even crossed her mind.
"I knew if I played my game, I could hopefully get the win and play well," Hahn said. "I just relied on that."
That approach got her through some anxious moments on her first nine as her two Phoenix pursuers rose to the challenge of trying to chase down Hahn.
Starting on No. 10, Matschke opened with a birdie and then watched Hahn's cushion dwindle to one after the leader bogeyed the same par-3 that had catapulted her to a 3-under 34 on the back nine Monday. Meanwhile, Kulka pulled even with Hahn after birdieing two of her first three holes only to give those shots back after consecutive bogeys starting at the par-3 14th hole.
"I didn’t have much of an idea where I was at throughout the day," Kulka wrote in a text to Wisconsin.Golf after a round featuring five birdies and five bogeys. "I just tried to play solid golf all day and I felt like I accomplished that."
Hahn, meanwhile, didn't make it easy on herself. Despite three of Brown Deer Park's five par-5s playing less than 450 yards, she didn't birdie any of them.
"The par-5s are definitely gettable, but I didn't get them (Tuesday)," she said. "On two of the par-5s, I had 144 yards in and a 152 yards in on my second shot. I didn't birdie either of them, so that was unfortunate. But it goes that way sometimes."
Fortunately for Hahn, things went her way despite back-to-back bogeys to end the back nine at 3-over 40, six shots higher than she played it Monday. After shooting 40 on her opening nine Monday, she shot 2-under 34 there Tuesday.
Hahn parred her first six holes on the front nine before knocking a 6-iron from 182 on the par-3 seventh hole to 10 feet and making the putt for birdie. She made a routine par on No. 8 and then blasted her drive on the 289-yard ninth hole just short of the green, chipped it up close and closed with a birdie.
"That was a good feeling," said Hahn, who admitted to taking a peek at the walking scorer's sign for the penultimate group and seeing that Kulka had finished at 4-over while knowing that Matschke was still two back as well.
"(Matschke) definitely played well (Tuesday) and was making some putts," Hahn said. "I didn't play that great on our first nine, but they were carrying around that little leaderboard thing so I could tell where we were both at — we were tied at one point (after Matschke birdied No. 3) — and coming in those last three holes on the front nine, our back nine, I went 2-under. It was nice doing that. I just tried to be calm and play my game and it worked out."
Matschke, who finished 12th in this event a year ago, 15 strokes behind repeat champion Bobbi Stricker, a UW golfer from Madison, couldn't complain, either.
After her birdie on No. 3, Matschke missed back-to-back 15-footers for birdie on the par-5 fourth and par-3 sixth holes. She thought she had made her 8-footer for birdie on the par-5 seventh hole and — after an up-and-down par at No. 7 and a solid, two-putt par at No. 7 — missed by inches a 12-footer for birdie on No. 9, but by that time Hahn had done what was needed to secure the win.
"Overall, ... I was very happy with myself and how I played," wrote Matschke, who believes three UWGB golfers finishing in the top 10 (Katelynn Warpinski shot 78-77 and finished eighth) speaks well for the progress the Phoenix have made under coach Lee Reinke. "Like I said, I really wanted to go out there and focus on my game because I know there’s nothing I can do about how the others play. Obviously, Mackenzie did play well overall, but I was proud of the way I grinded out the last nine and kind of kept the pressure on her too."
|1||Mackenzie Hahn||+2||F *||+1||74||74||148|
|T2||Ashley Kulka||+4||F *||E||77||73||150|
|T2||Courtney Matschke||+4||F *||E||77||73||150|
|4||Amy Kucera||+5||F *||-2||80||71||151|
|5||Jo Baranczyk||+6||F *||+2||77||75||152|
|6||Mia Seeman||+7||F *||E||80||73||153|
|7||Mallory Swartz||+8||F *||+3||78||76||154|
|8||Katelynn Warpinski||+9||F *||+4||78||77||155|
|T9||Lorenza Martinez||+13||F *||+5||81||78||159|
|T9||Isabella Dory||+13||F *||+8||78||81||159|
|T11||Jenny Myslinski||+15||F *||+7||81||80||161|
|T11||Grace Suter||+15||F *||+10||78||83||161|
|T13||Maggie Leef||+16||F *||+7||82||80||162|
|T13||Grace Welch||+16||F *||+8||81||81||162|
|15||Isabelle Maleki||+17||F *||+6||84||79||163|
|16||Speedy Kent||+18||F *||+10||81||83||164|
|T17||Rachel Kauflin||+20||F *||+9||84||82||166|
|T17||Sydney Brandt||+20||F *||+16||77||89||166|
|19||Kelly Storti||+21||F *||+10||84||83||167|
|20||Sami Forester||+22||F *||+9||86||82||168|
|T21||Markie Ash||+24||F *||+10||87||83||170|
|T21||Mo Sheehan||+24||F *||+13||84||86||170|
|T23||CheyAnn Knudsen||+25||F *||+12||86||85||171|
|T23||Susan Lee Kolbe||+25||F *||+12||86||85||171|
|25||Leah Hansen||+26||F *||+10||89||83||172|
|26||Kailey Godfrey||+29||F *||+16||86||89||175|
|T27||Sarah Chen||+30||F *||+15||88||88||176|
|T27||Karen Ford||+30||F *||+18||85||91||176|
|T27||Sydney Brown||+30||F *||+18||85||91||176|
|30||Katie Falk||+48||F *||+23||98||96||194|
|DID NOT FINISH|
|1||Peg Carlson||+15||F *||+8||79||80||159|
|2||Amy Gehrke||+18||F *||+10||80||82||162|
|3||Elaine Koepke||+23||F *||+8||87||80||167|
|T4||Pat Roisum||+25||F *||+14||83||86||169|
|T4||Deb Toll||+25||F *||+17||80||89||169|
|T6||Darcy Hinz||+28||F *||+14||86||86||172|
|T6||Megan Morris||+28||F *||+17||83||89||172|
|8||Kendra Swanson||+30||F *||+14||88||86||174|
|9||Karen Schmid||+32||F *||+12||92||84||176|
|10||Sandra Nass||+35||F *||+18||89||90||179|
|11||Lina Cicero||+51||F *||+22||101||94||195|
|5||Mary Beth Buechel||+38||F||+19||91||91||182|
|T8||Carla Hellerman||+45||F *||+19||98||91||189|
|10||Rita Cooney||+49||F *||+22||99||94||193|
|11||Marge Munson||+59||F *||+29||102||101||203|
|5||Mary Jo Wendels||+58||F||+31||99||103||202|