W AM Proud moment Bobbi and mom

Bobbi Stricker, left, and mom and caddie Nicki share a proud moment as they walk off the green following the playoff at the Women’s Amateur on Tuesday.

WAUKESHA – Bobbi Stricker was losing her patience. Then, she was losing the tournament. Putt after short putt kept sliding past the hole. After making everything she looked at in the first round of the Wisconsin Women’s Amateur Championship, the cup grew a lid in the final round Tuesday.

“Oh, my gosh, I had so many chances,” said Stricker, a recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin. “I don’t think I can even count them.”

Written in her DNA, however, is the putting touch passed down by her father, Steve Stricker, one of the best ever with the flat stick. It was no surprise, then, when Bobbi rolled in a clutch 6-footer for birdie on the par-5 17th hole at The Legend at Merrill Hills to draw even with Emily Lauterbach of Hartland.

The stunner came two holes later, on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff, when Stricker’s sweeping 30-foot birdie putt, which she estimated broke eight feet, found the bottom of the cup for the victory.

“Oh my gosh, it broke a lot,” she said. “I’m really just trying to feel it in there. It was a bonus it went in.”

The putt broke the heart of Lauterbach, a rising junior at Wisconsin and Stricker’s teammate the last two years. Lauterbach had overcome a two-shot deficit at the start of the day and took the lead with three holes to go, but missed a short birdie putt on No. 15 that would have given her the two-shot cushion that, it turned out, she needed.

“I literally just yanked it,” Lauterbach said. “I missed a lot of short putts. So did she. We both fought to the end, that’s for sure. It was a rollercoaster.”

One day after making seven birdies and holing out from a fairway bunker for eagle in a 6-under 66, Stricker was in grind mode and closed with a 74. Lauterbach shot a 72 and the two tied at 4-under 140 in regulation, before Stricker won it on the first extra hole.

Abby Cavaiani of Dousman, a rising senior at Missouri State, shot a 74 and finished alone in third place at 3-over 147. Four players tied for fourth, 10 shots back, at 150: defending champion Taitum Beck of Waterford, Amy Kucera of Fontana, Ashley Kulka of Beaver Dam and Isabelle Maleki of Mequon. Beck and Kucera shot 72s, tied for low round of the day with Lauterbach. Kulka had a 73 and Maleki a 79.

Stricker got to enjoy the victory with her mother and caddie, Nicki, along with Steve, who caddied for Bobbi’s younger sister, Izzi (T-40), and watched the playoff.

“It means a lot,” Bobbi said. “I feel like I’ve been working really hard, so to see an outcome like this kind of feels like it pays off and it’s a nice little bonus this summer as I try to think about my next level of golf. It just adds a lot of confidence to what I’m doing.”

By unofficial count, Stricker and Lauterbach missed a combined 14 putts of 10 feet or shorter. Lauterbach did roll in a 35-footer for birdie on the fourth hole – a putt that would have gone at least 6 feet by if it hadn’t hit the middle of the cup – but three-putted from 20 feet on No. 12 for her only bogey of the tournament.

Other than a birdie on the par-5 fourth hole, little went right for Stricker over the first 16 holes. She bogeyed Nos. 3, 9, 12 and 15, kept missing putts and was clearly frustrated. It helped to have her mom at her side; Nicki has caddied off and on for Steve for years.

“She helped a ton,” Bobbi said. “I lost my cool a couple times out there and she’s really good at knowing what to say. It’s a level of comfort just having her there. I definitely lost my patience and she helped with the mindset of one shot at a time.”

Said Nicki, “I kept trying to get in her head: ‘We’re good, we’re good, we’re good. Just keep doing what you’re doing.’”

What Bobbi kept doing was missing putts. Trailing by one stroke after the bogey on 15, she hit a superb tee shot on the par-3 16th but failed to convert the 7-footer. It was her seventh miss from 10 feet or less. She went to the tee on the uphill par-5 17th desperately needing a birdie.

Stricker and Lauterbach both laid up short of a greenside bunker with their second shots. Stricker, hitting first, launched a delicate pitch over the bunker that rolled 6 feet past the hole. Lauterbach’s pitch barely got over the bunker, but she then hit a deft chip to within inches for a tap-in par.

Stricker settled over her birdie putt and rolled it into the heart.

“I knew I had to make it,” she said. “I left it in a good spot, too, where I could be aggressive. I found myself a lot today, with those 6-, 7-foot putts I had, I had to be like dainty with them. That one on 17, I knew I could be aggressive.”

Stricker had a chance to win it on the par-4 18th after hitting a wedge to 8 feet, but missed the putt. Lauterbach two-putted from 40-feet, knocking in a 3½-footer for par to force the playoff.

On the playoff hole, the par-4 No. 1, Lauterbach missed the green short with her approach but then chipped close. A second playoff hole seemed inevitable until Stricker’s 30-footer found the bottom.

“Yeah, it was a gut punch,” Lauterbach said. “That probably was the longest putt either one of us made today.”

Stricker has entered the Symetra Tour Qualifying Tournament in August but will remain an amateur until then and probably won’t turn pro unless she earns status on the LPGA’s developmental tour.

She’s on the alternate list for the Women’s Western Amateur next week at Park Ridge (Ill.) Country Club. If she doesn’t get in, her next tournament would be the Badger Mutual Insurance Women’s Amateur, July 26-27 at Brown Deer Park.

“Whatever happens, she’s good on just keep improving,” Nicki said. “If she can improve over the next two or three years like she has the last five, the sky’s the limit.”

POS
 
PLAYER
TOTAL
THRU
TODAY
R1
R2
STROKES
 
1-Bobbi Stricker  Madison, WI (p)-4F+26674140 
2-Emily Lauterbach  Hartland, WI-4FE6872140 
3
Arrow Up
 1
Abigail Cavaiani  Dousman, WI+3F+27374147 
T4
Arrow Up
 7
Taitum Beck  Waterford, WI+6FE7872150 
T4
Arrow Up
 7
Amy Kucera  Fontana, WI+6FE7872150 
T4
Arrow Up
 5
Ashley Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+6F+17773150 
T4
Arrow Down
 1
Isabelle Maleki  Mequon, WI+6F+77179150 
8
Arrow Down
 4
Nicole Ciskowski  Madison, WI+7F+67378151 
9
Arrow Up
 2
Rachel Kauflin  Wauwatosa, WI+8F+27874152 
T10
Arrow Up
 1
Norah Roberts  Racine, WI+9F+37875153 
T10
Arrow Down
 4
Grace Suter  Oconomowoc, Wisconsin+9F+77479153 
T12
Arrow Up
 8
Mallory Swartz  Franklin, WI+10F+37975154 
T12
Arrow Down
 1
Elise Hoven  Grafton, WI+10F+47876154 
T12
Arrow Down
 3
Hannah Dunk  Janesville, WI+10F+57777154 
T12
Arrow Down
 1
Sarah Busey  Racine, WI+10F+47876154 
T16
Arrow Down
 5
Ellie Frisch  Middleton, WI+11F+57877155 
T16
Arrow Down
 9
Payton Hodson  Middleton, WI+11F+87580155 
T18
Arrow Up
 12
Ava Salay  Prescott, Wisconsin+12F+38175156 
T18
Arrow Up
 3
Lexi Meade  Eau Claire, WI+12F+48076156 
T20
Arrow Up
 1
Katie Warpinski  Green Bay, WI+13F+58077157 
T20
Arrow Down
 9
Jessie Gulden  Middleton, WI+13F+77879157 
T20
Arrow Down
 12
Lauren Peterson  Hartland, WI+13F+97681157 
23
Arrow Down
 2
Speedy Kent  Mequon, WI+15F+78079159 
24
Arrow Up
 7
Kallie Lux  Janesville, WI+16F+68278160 
T25
Arrow Up
 18
Jo Baranczyk  Green Bay, WI+18F+48676162 
T25
Arrow Up
 12
Sydney Brown  Eau Claire, WI+18F+68478162 
T25
Arrow Down
 4
Myranda Kotlowski  Stoughton, WI+18F+108082162 
28
Arrow Up
 5
Isabella Dory  Menomonee Falls, WI+19F+88380163 
T29
Arrow Up
 8
Grace Welch  Madison, WI+20F+88480164 
T29
Arrow Down
 8
Sami Mantyla  Wauwatosa, WI+20F+128084164 
T29
Arrow Down
 18
Sydney Brandt  Brookfield, WI+20F+147886164 
32
Arrow Down
 11
Markie Ash  Waupaca, WI+21F+138085165 
T33-McKenna Nelson  Beaver Dam, Wisconsin+22F+118383166 
T33
Arrow Down
 12
Avery Dudra  Suamico, WI+22F+148086166 
T35
Arrow Up
 8
Madeline Fiebig  Waukesha, WI+23F+98681167 
T35
Arrow Up
 5
Amy Gehrke  Muskego, WI+23F+108582167 
T35
Arrow Down
 2
Sadie Kelley  Green Bay, WI+23F+128384167 
T35
Arrow Down
 4
Reagan Stuke  Delafield, WI+23F+138285167 
T35
Arrow Down
 14
Jolie Guyette  De Pere, Wisconsin+23F+158087167 
T40-Ashli Stolen  Stoughton, WI+24F+118583168 
T40
Arrow Down
 3
Treva Dodd  Brookfield, WI+24F+128484168 
T40
Arrow Down
 7
Pat Roisum  Deerfield, WI+24F+138385168 
T40
Arrow Down
 19
Izzi Stricker  Madison, WI+24F+168088168 
44
Arrow Up
 3
Vivian Cressman  Middleton, Wisconsin+29F+138885173 
T45
Arrow Up
 5
Jill Trider  Green Bay, WI+30F+129084174 
T45
Arrow Up
 3
Claire Kelbel  Sussex, Wisconsin+30F+138985174 
T47
Arrow Up
 7
Pat Rogers  Nekoosa, WI+31F+129184175 
T47
Arrow Down
 7
Susan Lee Kolbe  Mequon, WI+31F+188590175 
49
Arrow Down
 6
Julie Schroeder  Oregon, WI+32F+188690176 
T50-Sophie Pokela  Tomah, WI+33F+159087177 
T50
Arrow Down
 2
Courtney Shorter  Fitchburg, WI+33F+168988177 
52
Arrow Down
 6
Karen Schmid  Waukesha, WI+36F+218793180 
T53
Arrow Up
 3
Kendra Swanson  Beaver Dam, WI+37F+179289181 
T53
Arrow Up
 1
Presley Cornelius  Green Bay, WI+37F+189190181 
T53
Arrow Down
 3
Katie Falk  Milwaukee, WI+37F+199091181 
56
Arrow Up
 1
Madeline Kiley  Appleton, WI+39F+189390183 
57
Arrow Down
 7
Haley Myers  Somerset, WI+40F+229094184 
58-Anna Krieski  Reedsburg, WI+41F+199491185 
DID NOT FINISH
WD-Sophia Dooman  Janesville, WI       

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