Sarah Busey state am.jpg

Sarah Busey | 2019 WWSGA State Amateur Champion

Sarah Busey isn't sure yet where she will play most of her golf in 2020, but wherever the Racine native elects to tee it up next summer she will bring so much of what she learned during 2019 with her every step of the way.

"This summer was one of the best summers of golf I've had," Busey wrote via text message with Wisconsin.golf, reacting to the news that she had earned Wisconsin Women's State Golf Association player of the year for 2019.

"This past summer compared to the previous (ones), I came in with really no expectations, but a lot of goals and the motivation to work for them."

WWSGA Women's Amateur of the Year

Year Name, club
2019 Sarah Busey, The Racine CC
2018 Mikayla (Hauck) Groonwald, The Oaks GC-Cottage Grove
2017 Mikayla Smith, Fox Valley GC-Kaukauna
2016 Rebecca Klongland, Stoughton CC
2015 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2014 Maggie Leef, The Legends Club-Milwaukee
2013 Jessie Gerry, Cherokee CC-Madison
2012 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2011 Jackie Shepherd, Naga-Waukee GC-Pewaukee
2010 Rheba (Mabie) Zimmerman, SentryWorld-Stevens Point
2009 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2008 Carly Werwie, Oakwood Park GC-Franklin
2007 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2006 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2005 Peggy (Kelly) Gierhart, Maple Bluff CC-Madison
2004 Syd (Moore) Wells, Riverside CC-Menominee, Mich.
2003 Maggie Leef, The Legends Club-Milwaukee
2002 Katie (Connelly) Luckraft, Cherokee CC-Madison
2001 Katie (Connelly) Luckraft, Cherokee CC-Madison
2000 Maggie Leef, The Legends Club-Milwaukee
1999 Andrea (Meeker) Wieland, Oak Ridge GC-Milton
1998 Patty (Frohna) Post, Western Lakes GC-Pewaukee
1997 Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks, Fox Valley GC-Kaukauna
1996 Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks, Fox Valley GC-Kaukauna
1995 Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks, Fox Valley GC-Kaukauna
1994 Joellyn Erdmann-Crooks, Fox Valley GC-Kaukauna
1993 Kimberly (Millies) Freeman, Edgewood GC-Big Bend
1992 Erica (Narowetz) Webster, Blackhawk CC-Madison
1991 Erica (Narowetz) Webster, Blackhawk CC-Madison
1990 Peggy (Kelly) Gierhart, Maple Bluff CC-Madison
1989 Jennifer Buchanan, Butte des Morts CC-Appleton
1988 Sue Ginter, Butte des Morts CC-Appleton
1987 Sarah DeKraay, Meadowbrook CC-Racine
1986 Sarah DeKraay, Meadowbrook CC-Racine
1985 Sarah DeKraay, Meadowbrook CC-Racine
1984 Lori Wetzel, Lancaster CC
1983 Sherri Steinhauer, Nakoma GC-Madison
1982 Chris Regenberg, Blackhawk CC-Madison
1981 Sherri Steinhauer, Nakoma GC-Madison

Indeed, the path to the top was cleared for someone with Busey's ambition.

Cottage Grove native Mikayla (Hauk) Groonwald, who edged out Busey for WWSGA honors in 2018, spent the summer leading into her senior year at Eastern Kentucky working an internship for Tempur Sealy International and did not compete in Wisconsin. Stoughton native Becky Klongland, a former University of Wisconsin golfer who had won an unprecedented five straight Wisconsin Women's State Amateur titles, began Law School at Marquette University in Milwaukee last winter and didn't defend her title in 2019.

Busey had a good vibe coming into the summer schedule.

As a sophomore at Santa Clara (Calif.) last spring, she placed fourth at the West Coast Conference Championship and led the Broncos with a 73.43 scoring average, the lowest single-season average in school history. Busey set the single-season mark for most rounds of par or better (12 out of the 30 she played last season) and her career scoring average is No. 1 on the Broncos' all-time list.

Busey continued her strong play back home in Wisconsin. She repeated as champion at the WWSGA State Match-Play Championship – winning 5-and-3 over Maggie Leef, the runner-up in the WWSGA player-of-the-year standings, in the finals – and  then shot 71-77-76 to win the Wisconsin Women's State Amateur by five shots over Missouri State golfer Abby Cavaiani of Wales.

In between, Busey successfully qualified at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in suburban Chicago for the U.S. Women's Amateur Championship. In her Women's Am debut, she shot 71-76 and missed out on one of the 64 match-play berths by three shots. 

"Coming off of a strong spring season, I knew I was capable of playing consistent and I think that consistency aspect of my golf game this summer helped my confidence quite a bit," Busey wrote. "It shifted my mindset from trying to limit mistakes to making as many birdies as possible. Going into each round with no fear and a clear headspace allowed me to attack each shot and is usually what led to most of my under par rounds.

"Obviously I’m not always going to play as well as I would like to, but practicing with more of a focus on situational shots this summer helped me feel more prepared on each course I played and feeling prepared only made me more comfortable on the course."

Busey believes there is room for that competitive growth in Wisconsin and hopes the recently announced merger of the WWSGA and the WSGA, bringing the women's championships under the WSGA umbrella, will inspire more high school and college golfers to test the waters in the state's amateur events.

"I think the more competition, the better," Busey wrote. "Playing in tournaments and gaining that competitive experience (whether as an up-and-coming golfer or not) is always a good thing. It’d be amazing to see the competition in women’s golf across the state increase, because training that competitive/mental part of the game can only bring positives, especially to an aspiring high school or college golfer."

As for Busey, however, she doesn't have a clear vision for her 2020 summer schedule.

"I’m still unsure where I will be this summer (California or Wisconsin)," Busey wrote. "But, as always, I’ll be looking to keep challenging myself and keep on improving! A goal of mine is definitely to make it back to the U.S. Am, not only because of the strength of field but also because there are so many learning opportunities and takeaways from historic tournaments like those."

Leef knows the virtues of USGA championships. Two were part of her ongoing effort to give back to the game and two others were part of her performance equation that helped her earn WWSGA senior player of the year.

After serving as a rules official at the U.S. Girls Junior at SentryWorld in Stevens Point as well as the U.S. Women's Am, the 59-year-old Leef qualified for the U.S. Senior Women's Amateur and the U.S. Mid-Amateur. She lost in the second round of match-play at the Senior Women's Am and missed one of the 64 match play berths at the Mid-Am by one shot after the 36-hole qualifier.


2019 WWSGA Player of the Year

RANKPLAYEREVENTS POINTS 
1
7358.00
2
2180.00
3
2150.00
4
381.00
5
370.00
6
362.00
7
260.00
T8
140.00
T8
140.00
T10
130.00
T10
130.00
12
326.00
13
120.00
T14
115.00
T14
115.00
T14
115.00
T17
110.00
T17
110.00
19
27.00
T20
15.00
T20
15.00
T22
13.00
T22
13.00
T24
12.00
T24
12.00
T24
12.00
T27
11.00
T27
11.00

2019 WWSGA Senior Player of the Year

RANKPLAYEREVENTS POINTS 
1
7358.00
2
2180.00
3
2150.00
4
381.00
5
370.00
6
362.00
7
260.00
T8
140.00
T8
140.00
T10
130.00
T10
130.00
12
326.00
13
120.00
T14
115.00
T14
115.00
T14
115.00
T17
110.00
T17
110.00
19
27.00
T20
15.00
T20
15.00
T22
13.00
T22
13.00
T24
12.00
T24
12.00
T24
12.00
T27
11.00
T27
11.00

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