GREEN LAKE – Mia Seeman was fortunate to find herself in a sudden-death playoff in the Sentry Wisconsin State Women’s Open on Wednesday. Then she did what champions do: she seized the opportunity.
Seeman, a rising senior at South Dakota State from Milton, made a brilliant par save on the first extra hole on the Links Course at Lawsonia, then drove the green on the 295-yard second and two-putted for birdie to edge 18-year-old Grace Suter of Oconomowoc and win the title.
“This is probably one of the top ones,” Seeman said when asked where the victory ranked on her list of golf accomplishments. “I think it’s my first win since the state tournament in high school, so it’s been a while. It’s nice to get one.”
The dramatic finish capped a wild final hour, in which Suter made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to take a two-stroke lead, gave it back with a double-bogey on No. 18 and then stayed alive in the playoff by nearly holing a clutch bunker shot on the first extra hole.
“It’s hard being able to back up a good round, I guess,” said Suter, who shot an opening 69 and took a three-stroke lead into the final round. “I tried my best.”
Seeman shot a 1-over 73 and finished the 36-hole tournament at 1-over 145. Suter shot a 76, but really made only three bad swings, which led to double-bogeys on Nos. 5, 10 and 18.
Before Suter built the two-shot lead with those back-to-back birdies – the latter the result of a monster drive on No. 16, followed by a perfect wedge to 3 feet – the leaderboard was up for grabs.
Early in the day, Madison’s Bobbi Stricker, who spent the weekend caddying for her uncle, Mario Tiziani, in the American Family Insurance Championship, made a move with birdies on Nos. 1, 2 and 5. But she fell back with a double-bogey on No. 6 and a bogey on No. 7.
After that, Stricker stayed within shouting distance of the lead but couldn’t quite get over the hump. She shot an even-par 72 and tied for third at 147 with Jessica Guiser of Hartland (74).
Kayley Sjoholm, an assistant professional at Green Bay Country Club, birdied Nos. 12 and 14 to get to even-par for the tournament and briefly took the lead. But she double-bogeyed No. 15 and bogeyed the final two holes for a 74. She finished in a tie for fifth with Taitum Beck of Waterford at 4-over 148 and earned $2,000 as the low professional.
Sjoholm said she never broke 80 in four years of college golf at St. Norbert, and her twin 74s were her two best-ever scores in competition.
“Honestly, I came into this tournament with zero expectations,” she said. “My caddie was like, ‘You’re going to place in the top 10.’ I was like, ‘OK, sure, maybe. That would be great.’ But I had zero expectations. … I’m not upset about the finish at all. Those last four holes are pretty tough.”
Suter, who will attend Loyola University Chicago this fall, has come a long way since shooting an 87 on the Links Course in a tournament two years ago. Playing with the lead is never easy, but she managed her game well outside of a couple mistakes. On the par-5 fifth hole, a flared lay-up with a 6-iron left her behind a tree and led to her first double-bogey. On the par-3 10th, she pulled her tee shot into a deep greenside bunker, barely got her second shot on the green and then three-putted.
Seeman, meanwhile, had double-bogeyed No. 6, but then made four consecutive pars and birdied the par-5 11th after hitting her second shot pin-high and chipping to 2 feet. The birdie drew her even with Suter.
“I was thinking there’s so much golf left,” she said. “A lot can happen in one hole. So much can change. So, I just kept reminding myself that (and) just tried to stay in the present.”
Suter finally took command with her back-to-back birdies. Going to the 17th tee, Seeman was two back and running out of holes.
“I was thinking maybe we can make two birdies, thinking she’d make two pars, and we’d go to a playoff,” Seeman said.
They did go to a playoff, just not the way she thought they would.
Suter rolled in a clutch 4-footer for par on No. 17 and Seeman, who failed to make birdie, went to the final hole still two back. But after hitting a good drive on 18, Suter’s second shot sailed right, into a bad lie in the fescue.
“I really didn’t have much of a shot,” she said. “I just tried to chop it out of there.”
Her ball came out low and left but finished just short of the green. From there, however, she pitched 30 feet short of the hole and three-putted for a double-bogey. Seeman could have won outright, but couldn’t get her 16-foot birdie attempt to drop.
On the first extra hole, Seeman and Suter both missed the green – Seeman’s pitching wedge from 130 yards rolled through the green and Suter’s approach finished in the right greenside bunker.
“I don’t know if it was adrenaline, or what, but it flew,” Seeman said of her approach. “I was shocked it went over the green. I thought it was going to be five, six feet (for birdie).”
Fortunately, her ball came to rest outside of the deep back bunker, on a grass walkway. Then she hit an exquisite downhill chip that rolled to a stop 3 feet from the cup.
With the pressure on, Suter answered with a beautiful bunker shot to within tap-in range.
“I thought that was going to go in, to be honest,” she said.
The matching par saves sent them to the par-4 second hole. Suter pulled her drive into another bad lie in thick rough, some 40 yards short and left of the green. Seeman pounded a drive that made it all the way to the green, rolled over the edge of the hole and stopped some 25 feet behind it.
With the pressure on again, Suter answered with a superb pitch out of the thick stuff, her ball finishing about 10 feet from the hole. Seeman lagged her eagle attempt close to the cup and after Suter missed her birdie attempt, Seeman tapped in for the victory.
“It sucks,” a disappointed Suter said. “But it’s OK.”
Seeman earned an exemption into the 101st Suter Ward Group at Stanley Morgan Wisconsin State Open, Aug. 16-18 at Pine Hills Country Club and the Meadow Valleys Course at Blackwolf Run. Earlier this year, the Wisconsin PGA Section board voted unanimously to offer the Women’s Open champion a spot in the State Open field.
Seeman said she planned to accept the exemption and tee it up with the men.
“I feel like I’m just trying to get better and better every year,” she said. “I want to see how far I can take golf after college. Maybe Q School for the Symetra Tour. This is definitely a confidence booster.”
|1||Mia Seeman Milton, WI (playoff)||+1||F||+1||72||73||145|
|2||Grace Suter Oconomowoc, WI||+1||F||+4||69||76||145|
|T3||Bobbi Stricker Madison, WI||+3||F||E||75||72||147|
|T3||-||Jessica Guiser Hartland, WI||+3||F||+2||73||74||147|
|T5||Taitum Beck Waterford, WI||+4||F||E||76||72||148|
|T5||Kayley Sjoholm (p) Green Bay, WI||+4||F||+2||74||74||148|
|T7||Cassandra Psuik Greenfield, WI||+5||F||-1||78||71||149|
|T7||Carly Werwie (p) Kenosha, WI||+5||F||+2||75||74||149|
|T9||Abigail Cavaiani Dousman, WI||+6||F||+2||76||74||150|
|T9||Isabelle Maleki Mequon, WI||+6||F||+5||73||77||150|
|T9||Ashley Kulka Beaver Dam, WI||+6||F||+5||73||77||150|
|T9||Gabby Tremblay Hayward, WI||+6||F||+5||73||77||150|
|13||Amy Kucera Fontana, WI||+7||F||+5||74||77||151|
|T14||Sarah Busey Racine, WI||+9||F||+5||76||77||153|
|T14||Rachel Kauflin Wauwatosa, WI||+9||F||+6||75||78||153|
|16||Katelynn Warpinski Green Bay, WI||+10||F||+4||78||76||154|
|T17||Jo Baranczyk Green Bay, WI||+11||F||+7||76||79||155|
|T17||Elise Hoven Grafton, WI||+11||F||+7||76||79||155|
|T17||Brittany McNett-Emmerich (p) Fitchburg, WI||+11||F||+6||77||78||155|
|T17||Treva Dodd Brookfield, WI||+11||F||+9||74||81||155|
|T21||Olivia Patrow Eau Claire, WI||+12||F||+4||80||76||156|
|T21||Speedy Kent Mequon, WI||+12||F||+5||79||77||156|
|T21||Maggie Leef Pewaukee, WI||+12||F||+6||78||78||156|
|T24||Ava Salay River Falls, WI||+14||F||+5||81||77||158|
|T24||Ellie Frisch Middleton, WI||+14||F||+6||80||78||158|
|T24||Carolyn Barnett-Howe (p) Appleton, WI||+14||F||+7||79||79||158|
|27||Taylor McCorkle Oregon, WI||+15||F||+7||80||79||159|
|T28||Lorenza Martinez Menomonee Falls, WI||+16||F||+5||83||77||160|
|T28||Norah Roberts Racine, WI||+16||F||+7||81||79||160|
|T28||Jenna Anderson Dousman, WI||+16||F||+8||80||80||160|
|T31||Isabella Dory Menomonee Falls, WI||+17||F *||+6||83||78||161|
|T31||Jessie Gerry (p) Merrimac, WI||+17||F||+9||80||81||161|
|T31||Holly Murphy Fontana, WI||+17||F||+9||80||81||161|
|T31||McKenna Nelson Beaver Dam, WI||+17||F||+10||79||82||161|
|T35||Hannah Dunk Janesville, WI||+18||F *||+4||86||76||162|
|T35||Mallory Swartz Franklin, WI||+18||F *||+3||87||75||162|
|T35||Caylie Kotlowski Stoughton, WI||+18||F||+11||79||83||162|
|T38||Rachel Montaba (p) Plymouth, WI||+20||F||+10||82||82||164|
|T38||Lexi Meade Eau Claire, WI||+20||F *||+8||84||80||164|
|T38||Avery Dudra Green Bay, WI||+20||F||+12||80||84||164|
|T41||Sydney Grimm Waunakee, WI||+21||F *||+10||83||82||165|
|T41||Sami Mantyla Wauwatosa, WI||+21||F *||+9||84||81||165|
|T41||Sydney Steinmetz Oshkosh, WI||+21||F||+13||80||85||165|
|44||Sophie Pokela Tomah, WI||+22||F *||+11||83||83||166|
|45||Samira Pal Madison, WI||+23||F *||+11||84||83||167|
|46||Kendra Swanson Beaver Dam, WI||+25||F||+14||83||86||169|
|T47||Amanda Karvala New Berlin, WI||+26||F *||+14||84||86||170|
|T47||Grace Welch Madison, WI||+26||F *||+10||88||82||170|
|T49||Myranda Kotlowski Stoughton, WI||+27||F *||+15||84||87||171|
|T49||Jolie Guyette De Pere, WI||+27||F *||+11||88||83||171|
|51||Samantha Soulier Waunakee, WI||+29||F *||+15||86||87||173|
|T52||Aj Powell Appleton, Wisconsin||+30||F *||+18||84||90||174|
|T52||Kallie Lux Janesville, WI||+30||F *||+14||88||86||174|
|T54||Anna Krieski Reedsburg, WI||+31||F||+22||81||94||175|
|T54||Adalyn Johnston Green Bay, WI||+31||F *||+18||85||90||175|
|56||Andrea Schleeper Fitchburg, WI||+32||F *||+17||87||89||176|
|T57||-||Madeline Fiebig Waukesha, WI||+33||F *||+16||89||88||177|
|T57||Lauren Haen Appleton, WI||+33||F *||+14||91||86||177|
|59||Mo Sheehan Grayslake, IL||+34||F *||+17||89||89||178|
|60||Sadie Kelley Green Bay, WI||+35||F *||+14||93||86||179|
|61||Sydney Brown Eau Claire, WI||+37||F *||+18||91||90||181|
|62||Payton Dube Hancock, MI||+38||F *||+15||95||87||182|
|63||Alyssa Schmidt Oregon, WI||+43||F *||+22||93||94||187|
|64||Madeline Kiley Appleton, WI||+44||F *||+16||100||88||188|
|65||Vivian Cressman Middleton, WI||+46||F *||+24||94||96||190|
|66||Sophia Dooman Janesville, WI||+47||F *||+15||104||87||191|
|67||Erin Rosencrantz Brookfield, WI||+53||F *||+25||100||97||197|
|DID NOT FINISH|
|WD||-||Hallie Boles Barbourville, KY|
|WD||-||Glenna Sanderson Middleton, WI|
|WD||-||Izzi Stricker Madison, WI|
|NS||-||Sydney Brandt Brookfield, WI|
|NS||-||Bridget McCarthy Verona, WI|