JANESVILLE — Apparently, the only thing more formidable than Tess Hackworthy wearing the title of defending champion for the Wisconsin State Women's Open is the University of Wisconsin golfer wearing it coming off a redshirt year.
Champing at the bit to play competitive golf again, Hackworthy did something that none of the other 63 golfers in the field was able to do on the sloping fairways and fast greens at Janesville CC during Round 1: Break par.
The two-time defending champion birdied Nos. 15 and 16 en route to a 2-under-par 71 that left her with a two-stroke advantage over Mikayla Hauck, a soon-to-be-married Eastern Kentucky golfer from Cottage Grove, entering Wednesday's final round of the 36-hole event. Former Badgers golfer Becky Klongland of Stoughton, whose competitive golf days are numbered as she prepares to enter law school this fall, was alone in third after a 75 while UW recruit Emily Lauterbach of Hartland and Symetra Tour golfer Jenna Peters of Kohler completed the top five with matching 76s on a warm, overcast day.
"I think it was a little different because I was that more excited to compete," Hackworthy said. "I mean this is my second time competing since August. I was really excited to get back out there and really excited to see all of these girls, compete with them and play with them. I think it was just a different mindset where I wanted to get back out there in that competition mode."
And it didn't take long to move into her customary position at this event.
Birdies at Nos. 4 and 8 around bogeys at Nos. 5 and 7 helped Hackworthy make the turn in even-par. After a birdie at No. 10 and a bogey at No. 12, Hackworthy closed par-par-birdie-birdie-par-par for her 2-under total.
"I felt like I started off a little slow," Hackworthy said after emerging with a first-round lead in this event for the first time. "Finally, when I got to the back nine, I started to get into a little bit of a groove. I started to feel comfortable over the ball and I made a couple birdies coming home, which helped a lot.
"I think a lot of patience was important out there. Staying below the hole was something I tried to do most of the day. If you let the course get away from you, you can get in some trouble. Staying patient was very helpful and my dad (Dave) being on the bag and keeping a mellow attitude really helped."
A little distraction didn't hurt Hauck, either.
Set to marry Ben Groonwald on June 30 at Wild Rock GC in Wisconsin Dells, Hauck was up late Monday night and again early Tuesday morning tending to wedding plans. She works at The Oaks GC in Cottage Grove and he works at The Beloit Club, but they will make Richmond, Kentucky their home this fall.
"It's crazy, but it's been so good," Hauck said of her hectic schedule. "I've been able to balance everything really well. It's all coming together."
The same can be said of her golf game. After playing just five rounds in two events as a freshman, Hauck played 31 rounds in 11 events as a sophomore and her 78.06 stroke average ranked fifth on the team during 2017-18.
"My freshman year, it was all in my head and, my mental game, I was so afraid over the ball," said Hauck, who finished last in this event at Mascoutin GC two years ago before tying for 15th a year ago at Racine CC. "Getting past that was huge. It's been going really well; I'm very excited."
Likewise, Klongland is excited to play in the final group after placing 10th a year ago. She will attend law school in the fall and isn't sure how much competitive golf will continue to be on her calendar going forward.
"This is probably my last summer," said Klongland, who tied for third two in this event years ago and, like Hackworthy has dominated the State Open of late, has won the Wisconsin Women's State Amateur each of the last four years. "I'll be moving on to a little bit of the real world then."
|1||Tess Hackworthy Madison, WI||-2||F||-2||71||71|
|2||Mikayla Hauck Cottage Grove, WI||E||F||E||73||73|
|3||Rebecca Klongland Stoughton, WI||+2||F||+2||75||75|
|T4||Emily Lauterbach Hartland, WI||+3||F||+3||76||76|
|T4||Jenna Peters (p) Kohler, WI||+3||F||+3||76||76|
|T6||Mia Seeman Milton, WI||+4||F||+4||77||77|
|T6||Grace Dunn Milwaukee, WI||+4||F||+4||77||77|
|8||Aya Johnson Madison, WI||+5||F||+5||78||78|
|T9||Taylor McCorkle Oregon, WI||+6||F||+6||79||79|
|T9||Carly Werwie (p) Kenosha, WI||+6||F||+6||79||79|
|T9||Rachel Kauflin Wauwatosa, WI||+6||F||+6||79||79|
|T9||Julie Pyne Van Hoosen (p) Green Bay, WI||+6||F||+6||79||79|
|T9||Jo Baranczyk Green Bay, WI||+6||F||+6||79||79|
|T14||Ashley Kulka Beaver Dam, WI||+8||F||+8||81||81|
|T14||Margaret Leef Pewaukee, WI||+8||F||+8||81||81|
|T16||CheyAnn Knudsen Milton, WI||+9||F||+9||82||82|
|T16||Speedy Kent Mequon, WI||+9||F||+9||82||82|
|T16||Allison Schultz Verona, WI||+9||F||+9||82||82|
|T19||Aimee Gerschke South Milwaukee, WI||+10||F||+10||83||83|
|T19||Sammi Grunder Manitowoc, WI||+10||F||+10||83||83|
|T19||Alexis Thomas Middleton, WI||+10||F||+10||83||83|
|T22||Melissa Biesmann Fitchburg, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Lindsay Koth Madison, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Taitum Beck Waterford, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Bobbi Stricker Madison, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Lorenza Martinez Menomonee Falls, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Brittany McNett-Emmerich (p) Fitchburg, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Taylor Hakala Milton, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T22||Sydney Hubbard Onalaska, WI||+11||F||+11||84||84|
|T30||Sarah Balding Brookfield, WI||+12||F||+12||85||85|
|T30||Rachel Montaba (p) Plymouth, WI||+12||F||+12||85||85|
|T30||Katie Warpinski Green Bay, WI||+12||F||+12||85||85|
|T30||Payton Hodson Middleton, WI||+12||F||+12||85||85|
|T34||Elise Hoven Grafton, WI||+13||F||+13||86||86|
|T34||Ashley Hofmeister New Berlin, WI||+13||F||+13||86||86|
|T36||Kate Engler Beloit, WI||+14||F||+14||87||87|
|T36||Rebekah Donner Neenah, WI||+14||F||+14||87||87|
|T36||Ashli Stolen Stoughton, WI||+14||F||+14||87||87|
|T36||Anouska Siva Brookfield, WI||+14||F||+14||87||87|
|T40||Pat Roisum Deerfield, WI||+15||F||+15||88||88|
|T40||Emily Grunder Pardeeville, WI||+15||F||+15||88||88|
|T40||Isabelle Maleki Mequon, WI||+15||F||+15||88||88|
|T40||Mari Suokko Sturtevant, WI||+15||F||+15||88||88|
|T44||Sarah DeKraay Madison, WI||+16||F||+16||89||89|
|T44||Katie Gastrau Wauwatosa, WI||+16||F||+16||89||89|
|T44||Courtney Matschke Franklin, WI||+16||F||+16||89||89|
|47||Holly Murphy Lake Geneva, WI||+17||F||+17||90||90|
|T48||Sabrina Schreck New Berlin, WI||+19||F||+19||92||92|
|T48||Ellyn Subak Janesville, WI||+19||F||+19||92||92|
|T50||Katie Falk Milwaukee, WI||+20||F||+20||93||93|
|T50||Sophia Dooman Janesville, WI||+20||F||+20||93||93|
|T52||Caylie Kotlowski Stoughton, WI||+21||F||+21||94||94|
|T52||Sydney Brown Eau Claire, WI||+21||F||+21||94||94|
|T52||Faith Krause Franklin, WI||+21||F||+21||94||94|
|T52||Sydney Steinmetz Oshkosh, WI||+21||F||+21||94||94|
|T56||Emily Balding Brookfield, WI||+22||F||+22||95||95|
|T56||Kalynn Dolby (p) Berlin, WI||+22||F||+22||95||95|
|T58||Margaret Warrner Lakewood, WI||+26||F||+26||99||99|
|T58||Lauren Shorter Fitchburg, WI||+26||F||+26||99||99|
|60||Samantha Soulier Waunakee, WI||+27||F||+27||100||100|
|T61||Sydney Maule Appleton, WI||+28||F||+28||101||101|
|T61||Markie Ash Waupaca, WI||+28||F||+28||101||101|
|T61||Grace Welch Madison, WI||+28||F||+28||101||101|
|64||Courtney Shorter Fitchburg, WI||+29||F||+29||102||102|