Casey Danielson, Austin Gaugert | 2019 PHC Classic

Casey Danielson and caddie Austin Gaugert wait for her playing partners to finish putting out on the fourth hole at the Brown Deer Park Golf Course on Saturday. Danielson eagled the par-5 during the second round of the PHC Classic.

MILWAUKEE — Casey Danielson and Austin Gaugert were just kids, hanging out at junior golf tournaments with their brothers and sisters and mutual friend Jordan Niebrugge, intense beyond their years on the course but fun-loving goofballs off it.

“We’ve known each other since we were 10 or 12,” Gaugert said. “We always got along pretty well. I always joked with Casey, ‘When are you going to caddie for me?’ And she was like, ‘After you caddie for me.’ Little did we know.”

Yes, flash forward a dozen years or so and Gaugert is Danielson’s caddie on the Symetra Tour … when he’s not looping for Niebrugge on the Korn Ferry Tour.

Close friends and kindred spirits, Danielson and Gaugert are a team this week at the Brown Deer Park Golf course, where Danielson shot a second successive 3-under 69 and moved into contention in the fifth annual PHC Classic.

At 6-under 138, she was tied for seventh place, five shots behind leader Robynn Ree of Redondo Beach, Calif., but just one shot out of second place going into the final round Sunday.

Ree, coming off a victory two weeks ago at the CDPHP Open and 11th on the Symetra Tour money list, added a 66 to her first-round 67 and was at 11-under 133.

Back in their junior golf days, whenever and wherever you found Danielson, her brother Charlie and their friend Jordan usually were close by. So, too, were Gaugert and his brother, Alex, and sister, Annie.

“There was always a group of us,” Gaugert said. “We were always goofing around with each other. But Casey and I always were kind of the closest.”

In this case, familiarity bred success. Casey would go on to help Stanford University win its first-ever NCAA title. Charlie was a four-time All-American at Illinois and recently tied for seventh in the PGA Tour’s Barracuda Championship. Niebrugge starred at Oklahoma State, was low amateur in the 2015 British Open and has status on the Korn Ferry Tour. And Gaugert played at Valparaiso and recently qualified for the upcoming Wisconsin State Open.

Gaugert, 28, first caddied for the 24-year-old Danielson when she got into the 2017 Thornberry Creek LPGA Classic on a sponsor exemption shortly after turning pro.

“Right from the start, it worked,” she said. “We’re both super laid-back, kind of goofy. We like joking with each other and I think we both can take jokes pretty well. We both like to have a lot of fun. I think we have the same perspective on life.”

Casey Danielson, Austin Gaugert | 2019 PHC Classic

Casey Danielson and Austin Gaugert chat on the first hole at the Brown Deer Park Golf Course on Saturday.

Gaugert caddies for her on the Symetra Tour whenever Niebrugge is not playing in a Korn Ferry event. He was on her bag in Morocco in December 2017, when she won the Ladies European Tour Qualifying Tournament, and early in 2018, when she played five tournaments in Australia and New Zealand.

“We spent five weeks together in Australia. The Scottish and the British (Opens) last year,” Danielson said. “I’m just like, ‘Whenever you can come out, come out.’ He can do whatever he wants, whatever fits in his schedule. I’m super flexible because you don’t need a caddie out here (on the Symetra Tour).”

They work well together because they have similar personalities and interests, though Gaugert’s taste in music leans toward country and Danielson hasn’t yet bought in 100 percent.

“I definitely don’t know what she’s thinking sometimes,” Gaugert said with a laugh. “But we understand each other. There’s a lot of respect for each other and a great line of communication between the two of us. Neither of us are scared to say anything to the other and I think that’s what probably makes us somewhat successful so far.”

Gaugert helps read putts and knows Danielson’s swing inside and out, but his main job is to help keep her relaxed between shots. He’s learned what to say and when to say it, which varies from player to player.

“Ninety-five percent of the time, if you’d mic us up you probably wouldn’t care what we’re talking about because it’s totally pointless information,” Gaugert said. “It’s stories going back and forth, talking about other players, talking about what food she’s making. She’s turned into a foodie. She’s cooking all the time. I’m going to put that in my contract, to make sure she cooks for me every week.”

Though Danielson describes herself as laid-back, she’s an intense competitor. She currently ranks 24th on the Symetra Tour money list; the top 10 at the end of the season earn LPGA cards, so every stroke is meaningful. After signing her scorecard Saturday, it was obvious she was still bothered by missing a 5-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole and needed a couple minutes to regroup.

Gaugert stood nearby, shouldering her golf bag. Sometimes, it’s best to say nothing.

“Not only are you managing your own thoughts but then you’re managing another person, so you’re trying to make sure you’re saying the right things,” he said. “We’ve become so comfortable with each other and the communication is so good.

“We’ll get done with a round and she’ll say, ‘Maybe you shouldn’t say that’ or ‘Maybe we shouldn’t talk about that.’ But I think she knows deep down that I’m her biggest cheerleader out here and I’m going to help her as much as I can.”

Gaugert will be on Danielson’s bag next week at the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship in Battle Creek, Mich., and then will join her for the final three tournaments on the schedule, concluding with the Symetra Tour Championship, Oct. 3 through 6 in Daytona Beach, Fla.

Ferrell makes cut

It’s been a tough week emotionally for Edgerton’s Allyssa Ferrell, who attended the funeral service for her grandfather, George Strick, two days before the first round.

She thought about withdrawing, but decided to play and on Saturday shot her second successive even-par 72 to make the 36-hole cut. Ferrell made four birdies to offset a double-bogey and two bogeys and was tied for 49th place going into the final round.

Former University of Wisconsin player Jessie Gerry of Madison shot 78-75 and missed the cut.

Symetra Tour: Osceola's Casey Danielson, Edgerton's Allyssa Ferrell, Madison's Jessie Gerry at PHC Classic | Second-round results (Brown Deer Park GC-Milwaukee)

Pos. Start Player Total Thru Today R1 R2 R3 Total
Wisconsin leaderboard
T7 10 Casey Danielson -6 F -3 69 69 138
T49 47 Allyssa Ferrell E F E 72 72 144
T130 131 Jessie Gerry 9 F 3 78 75 153
Full leaderboard
1 2 Robynn Ree -11 F -6 67 66 133
T2 21 Maude-Aimee Leblanc -7 F -5 70 67 137
T2 10 Vicky Hurst -7 F -4 69 68 137
T2 10 Malene Krolboll Hansen -7 F -4 69 68 137
T2 7 Laetitia Beck -7 F -3 68 69 137
T2 2 Maia Schechter -7 F -2 67 70 137
T7 47 Julie Aime -6 F -6 72 66 138
T7 10 Casey Danielson -6 F -3 69 69 138
T7 10 Daniela Iacobelli -6 F -3 69 69 138
T7 2 Allie Knight -6 F -1 67 71 138
T11 32 Gigi Stoll -5 F -4 71 68 139
T11 21 Chorphaka Jaengkit -5 F -3 70 69 139
T11 21 Jillian Hollis -5 F -3 70 69 139
T11 10 Sophia Popov -5 F -2 69 70 139
T11 1 Demi Runas -5 F 1 66 73 139
T16 66 Ssu-Chia Cheng -4 F -5 73 67 140
T16 47 Lauren Coughlin -4 F -4 72 68 140
T16 21 Gabby Lemieux -4 F -2 70 70 140
T16 21 Brittany Benvenuto -4 F -2 70 70 140
T16 10 Maddie Szeryk -4 F -1 69 71 140
T16 10 Alivia Brown -4 F -1 69 71 140
T16 7 Fatima Fernandez Cano -4 F E 68 72 140
T16 2 Laura Wearn -4 F 1 67 73 140
T24 76 Alice Chen -3 F -5 74 67 141
T24 47 Michelle Piyapattra -3 F -3 72 69 141
T24 47 Alazne Urizar -3 F -3 72 69 141
T24 32 Samantha Richdale -3 F -2 71 70 141
T24 32 Britney Yada -3 F -2 71 70 141
T24 21 Patty Tavatanakit -3 F -1 70 71 141
T24 10 Lakareber Abe -3 F E 69 72 141
T31 66 Savannah Vilaubi -2 F -3 73 69 142
T31 47 Elin Arvidsson -2 F -2 72 70 142
T31 47 Ji Eun Baik -2 F -2 72 70 142
T31 47 Elizabeth Nagel -2 F -2 72 70 142
T31 47 Jean Reynolds -2 F -2 72 70 142
T31 32 Lindsey McCurdy -2 F -1 71 71 142
T31 32 Lori Beth Adams -2 F -1 71 71 142
T31 32 Dewi Weber -2 F -1 71 71 142
T31 21 Nicole Sakamoto -2 F E 70 72 142
T31 10 Mia Landegren -2 F 1 69 73 142
T41 76 Min Seo Kwak -1 F -3 74 69 143
T41 66 Sierra Sims -1 F -2 73 70 143
T41 66 Molly Skapik -1 F -2 73 70 143
T41 32 Moa Folke -1 F E 71 72 143
T41 21 Andrea Wong -1 F 1 70 73 143
T41 21 Maria Parra -1 F 1 70 73 143
T41 21 Risa Murata -1 F 1 70 73 143
T41 10 Fernanda Lira -1 F 2 69 74 143
T49 92 Esther Lee E F -3 75 69 144
T49 76 Linnea Johansson E F -2 74 70 144
T49 47 Allyssa Ferrell E F E 72 72 144
T49 47 Allie White E F E 72 72 144
T49 32 Brittany Marchand E F 1 71 73 144
T49 32 Anna Lesher E F 1 71 73 144
T49 32 Sophia Schubert E F 1 71 73 144
T56 92 Emma Jandel 1 F -2 75 70 145
T56 92 Perrine Delacour 1 F -2 75 70 145
T56 76 Marta Sanz Barrio 1 F -1 74 71 145
T56 76 Patricia Sanz Barrio 1 F -1 74 71 145
T56 76 Audra Kepler 1 F -1 74 71 145
T56 76 Valerie Tanguay 1 F -1 74 71 145
T56 66 Roberta Liti 1 F E 73 72 145
T56 66 Karah Sanford 1 F E 73 72 145
T56 66 Kristin Coleman 1 F E 73 72 145
T56 66 Danielle Lemek 1 F E 73 72 145
T56 47 Kendra Dalton 1 F 1 72 73 145
T56 32 Sarah Hoffman 1 F 2 71 74 145
T56 32 Summar Roachell 1 F 2 71 74 145
T56 2 Sandy Choi 1 F 6 67 78 145
Missed the cut
T70 105 Madison Pressel 2 F -2 76 70 146
T70 105 Jenny Coleman 2 F -2 76 70 146
T70 92 Min-G Kim 2 F -1 75 71 146
T70 76 Ingrid Gutierrez Nunez 2 F E 74 72 146
T70 76 Natalie Sheary 2 F E 74 72 146
T70 47 Lisa Pettersson 2 F 2 72 74 146
T70 32 Hannah Arnold 2 F 3 71 75 146
T70 32 Kyung Kim 2 F 3 71 75 146
T78 136 Janie Jackson 3 F -4 79 68 147
T78 131 Erin Harper 3 F -3 78 69 147
T78 122 Veronica Felibert 3 F -2 77 70 147
T78 122 Erynne Lee 3 F -2 77 70 147
T78 105 Gabrielle Shipley 3 F -1 76 71 147
T78 92 Cindy Ha 3 F E 75 72 147
T78 92 Hyemin Kim 3 F E 75 72 147
T78 76 Hannah Hellyer 3 F 1 74 73 147
T78 76 Stephanie Na 3 F 1 74 73 147
T78 47 Karolina Vlckova 3 F 3 72 75 147
T78 47 Olivia Jordan-Higgins 3 F 3 72 75 147
T78 47 Samantha Postillion 3 F 3 72 75 147
T78 32 Elizabeth Tong 3 F 4 71 76 147
T78 21 Samantha Wagner 3 F 5 70 77 147
T78 10 Alexandra White 3 F 6 69 78 147
T93 122 Paula Reto 4 F -1 77 71 148
T93 105 Harang Lee 4 F E 76 72 148
T93 105 Catherine O'Donnell 4 F E 76 72 148
T93 76 Rylee Pedigo 4 F 2 74 74 148
T93 47 Alexandra Kaui 4 F 4 72 76 148
T93 7 Bailey Tardy 4 F 8 68 80 148
T99 105 Rachel Rohanna 5 F 1 76 73 149
T99 92 Reece Feducia 5 F 2 75 74 149
T99 92 Min Lee 5 F 2 75 74 149
T99 76 Allison Emrey 5 F 3 74 75 149
T99 76 Samantha Troyanovich 5 F 3 74 75 149
T99 76 Hannah Kim 5 F 3 74 75 149
T99 66 Elise Bradley 5 F 4 73 76 149
T99 47 Megan Osland 5 F 5 72 77 149
T99 47 Leslie Cloots 5 F 5 72 77 149
T108 131 Katelyn Sepmoree 6 F E 78 72 150
T108 122 Paige Lee 6 F 1 77 73 150
T108 122 Nicole Autrique 6 F 1 77 73 150
T108 105 Panitta Yusabai 6 F 2 76 74 150
T108 105 Sideri Vanova 6 F 2 76 74 150
T108 105 Nannette Hill 6 F 2 76 74 150
T108 105 Yujeong Son 6 F 2 76 74 150
T108 105 August Kim 6 F 2 76 74 150
T108 92 Csicsi Rozsa 6 F 3 75 75 150
T108 92 Milagros Chaves 6 F 3 75 75 150
T108 92 Cindy LaCrosse 6 F 3 75 75 150
T108 92 Jessy Tang 6 F 3 75 75 150
T108 66 Anna Appert Lund 6 F 5 73 77 150
T121 136 Lucia Polo 7 F E 79 72 151
T121 131 Kim Metraux 7 F 1 78 73 151
T121 131 Cecily Overbey 7 F 1 78 73 151
T121 122 Katie Yoo 7 F 2 77 74 151
T121 105 Alexis Belton 7 F 3 76 75 151
T121 105 Amy Lee 7 F 3 76 75 151
T121 105 Alejandra Cangrejo 7 F 3 76 75 151
T121 76 Mathilda Cappeliez 7 F 5 74 77 151
T121 47 Megan Vaughn 7 F 7 72 79 151
T130 131 Jessie Gerry 9 F 3 78 75 153
T130 105 Brenda Gonzalez 9 F 5 76 77 153
T130 105 Georgia Lacey 9 F 5 76 77 153
T130 105 Marta Martin 9 F 5 76 77 153
T130 92 Armana Christianson 9 F 6 75 78 153
135 122 Kennedie Montoya 10 F 5 77 77 154
T136 122 Linda Henriksson 11 F 6 77 78 155
T136 122 Elizabeth Schultz 11 F 6 77 78 155
138 139 Casey MacNeil 12 F 4 80 76 156
139 136 Tatiana Wijaya 16 F 9 79 81 160
140 139 Rio Watanabe 19 F 11 80 83 163

garyd@killarneygolfmedia.com

Gary has covered golf in Wisconsin since 1980 and is a multiple award winner in the GWAA writing contest. He was inducted into the WSGA Hall of Fame in 2017 and joined Wisconsin.Golf in 2018 after a distinguished career at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.