BERLIN — Tess Hackworthy came a long way in a short time just to play in the Wisconsin Women's State Open so it was only fitting the University of Wisconsin women's golfer come a long way in a short time to win it.
Hackworthy, sidelined most of the Badgers' spring season after surgery to remove a mole, showed Wednesday that she is back at full strength.
She shot 2-under-par 70, the only sub-par round of the week at Mascoutin GC, and rallied from two shots behind to win the 36-hole event with a 5-over 147 total, two strokes ahead of Kohler professional Jenna Peters.
Badgers golfers Rebecca Klongland (72) and Aya Johnson (75) tied for third with first round co-leader Jessica Staed (77), a Loyola (Ill.) golfer from Green Bay, at 8-over 152. Defending champion Gabby Curtis (78), another UW golfer from Eau Claire, finished alone in sixth at 155.
"I wasn't really hitting the ball very well coming into this tournament," Hackworthy said. "I just thought I might as well play with what I have and it will work. I putted ball really well this week, minus one three-putt I had today. Other than that, I stayed pretty consistent around the green."
Staed and Brookfield amateur Maggie Leef began the day with a two-shot lead and was didn't relinquish their hold until trouble on the par-5 sixth hole. Staed, who was 1-over on the day, took a triple-bogey 8 and Leef, who was 2-over, made a double-bogey 7 to leave the door open.
Hackworthy, who had birdied No. 3 only to give the shot back with a bogey at No. 5, was the first to capitalize. She made consecutive birdies at Nos. 8 and 9 to make the turn in 2-under 34 and, unlike Tuesday when she got to 2-under early in the round only to struggle down the stretch, the former Madison Edgewood played flawless golf the rest of the way.
With her father Dave on the bag, Hackworthy parred every hole on the back nine. She left a 35-foot downhill putt about 4 feet short on No. 18, but made the par putt for her first major women's tournament victory.
"I think I just kept my composure out there," Hackworthy said. "My dad helped a lot on the bag, keeping a nice attitude and keeping positive."
Peters, who double-bogeyed the third hole to drop into the background for most of the front nine, birdied Nos. 8, 11 and 12 to get within one of the lead only to bogey No. 13 and par her final five holes to finish two back.
"She'd been playing well all day," Peters said of Hackworthy. "I knew she kind of had the lead; I didn't know what people behind us were doing. I knew if I stuck with her that something good could happen.'
For Peters, who finished third a year ago, the showing was another boost of confidence as she continues to hone her game for a run at LPGA Tour Qualifying School this fall. Peters, who spent last winter playing minitour events in Florida, likes how her game is rounding into shape for that run.
"There are a few things that hopefully will get there in August," she said. "If I keep on improving, I know I'm pretty close to where I need to be."
Hackworthy, meanwhile, is gearing up for a battle of her own this fall at UW. Neither she nor Johnson, who was recovering from back surgery, were in the mix this spring for the Badgers, who will return their entire roster and add a freshman from England in Eloise Healy.
"I think it's great our whole team is really competitive with one another," Hackworthy said. "It keeps us all working hard and trying to get better. I think it's great that we're all pushing each other every day to get better."
|1||Tess Hackworthy Madison, WI||-2||F||+3||77||70||147|
|2||Jenna Peters (p) Kohler, WI||E||F||+6||78||72||150|
|T3||Rebecca Klongland Stoughton, WI||E||F||+8||80||72||152|
|T3||Jessica Staed Green Bay, WI||+5||F||+8||75||77||152|
|T3||Aya Johnson Madison, WI||+3||F||+8||77||75||152|
|6||Gabby Curtis Eau Claire, WI||+6||F||+11||77||78||155|
|7||Maggie Leef Pewaukee, WI||+9||F||+12||75||81||156|
|8||Mikayla Smith Appleton, WI||+6||F||+13||79||78||157|
|9||Carolyn Barnett-Howe (p) Appleton, WI||+3||F||+14||83||75||158|
|T10||Taylor McCorkle Oregon, WI||+6||F||+17||83||78||161|
|T10||Pat Roisum Deerfield, WI||+9||F||+17||80||81||161|
|T10||Anika Hitt Mequon, WI||+9||F||+17||80||81||161|
|13||Brittany McNett-Emmerich (p) Fitchburg, WI||+12||F||+18||78||84||162|
|14||Kalynn Dolby (p) Berlin, WI||+6||F||+20||86||78||164|
|T15||Sami Forster Wauwatosa, WI||+11||F||+22||83||83||166|
|T15||Rachel Montaba (p) Plymouth, WI||+13||F||+22||81||85||166|
|T17||Carlee Dawson Oconomowoc, WI||+9||F||+23||86||81||167|
|T17||Sarah Busey Racine, WI||+11||F||+23||84||83||167|
|T17||Jessica Reinecke Verona, WI||+12||F||+23||83||84||167|
|20||Allison Chomniak Pewaukee, WI||+11||F||+26||87||83||170|
|T21||Mia Seeman Milton, WI||+10||F||+27||89||82||171|
|T21||CheyAnn Knudsen Milton, WI||+13||F||+27||86||85||171|
|T23||Monica Rohe Onalaska, WI||+6||F||+28||94||78||172|
|T23||Ashley Kulka Beaver Dam, WI||+17||F||+28||83||89||172|
|25||Maggie Warrner Lakewood, WI||+17||F||+29||84||89||173|
|26||Jo Baranczyk Green Bay, WI||+15||F||+30||87||87||174|
|T27||Rachel Hernandez Madison, WI||+11||F||+32||93||83||176|
|T27||Katelyn Martin North Prairie, WI||+15||F||+32||89||87||176|
|T27||Heidi Njoes (p) Madison, WI||+16||F||+32||88||88||176|
|T27||Kayla Thielen Marinette, WI||+17||F||+32||87||89||176|
|T31||Jayde Curley Portage, WI||+18||F||+33||87||90||177|
|T31||Abby Martin North Prairie, WI||+19||F||+33||86||91||177|
|T33||Taitum Beck Waterford, WI||+14||F||+35||93||86||179|
|T33||Ashli Stolen Stoughton, WI||+15||F||+35||92||87||179|
|T33||Abby Cavaiani Wales, WI||+18||F||+35||89||90||179|
|36||Alexa Greytak Sun Prairie, WI||+20||F||+40||92||92||184|
|37||Mikayla Hauck Cottage Grove, WI||+17||F||+41||96||89||185|