You have to get up pretty early to pull one over on Sarah Busey and it was just about early enough Monday for that to happen to the Racine golfer.
Armed with a three-shot lead and an 8 a.m. tee time going into the final round of the Wisconsin State Women's Amateur, Busey admitted after the fact she didn't really know what hit her after she triple-bogeyed her first hole and fell one shot behind playing partner Abby Cavaiani of Wales after four holes. But Busey, a rising junior at Santa Clara University, knew how to respond.
Busey played her next 15 holes in 2-under-par and amassed a seven-stroke advantage over Cavaiani, a rising sophomore at Missouri State. That allowed Busey to withstand a double-bogey on her final hole as she signed for a 4-over 76 on a warm, breezy day at challenging La Crosse Country Club in Onalaska and, with a 54-hole total of 8-over 224, a five-shot victory over Cavaiani (78).
Waterford's Taitum Beck, who will be a junior this fall at Weber State in Utah, shot 77 to finish a distant third, five shots behind Cavaiani at 18-over 234. Mequon's Speedy Kent (81-236), a rising sophomore at Wofford University in South Carolina, was fourth while 2018 WPGA girls golfer of the year Rachel Kauflin of Wauwatosa (81) and Drake senior Aimee Gerschke of South Milwaukee (78) tied for fifth at 238 on a day with just five sub-80 scores.
"The course did play fairly tough," Busey wrote via text message to Wisconsin.golf after becoming the first golfer since Madison's Jessie Gerry in 2013 to sweep the Wisconsin Women's State Golf Association match-play and stroke-play titles in the same summer. "Luckily, it was a bit drier, but the wind and difficult pin placements definitely were a factor in (Monday's) results. I had an extremely rough start, yes, but I think because it was so early it didn’t really resonate with me that I no longer had a lead. It did allow me to narrow my focus on hitting quality golf shots."
The shot that turned things around for Busey came at the fifth hole.
After Cavaiani left her tee shot on the 175-yard par-3 in a greenside bunker, Busey hit hers to within 10 feet of the hole. Cavaiani bladed her bunker shot over the green and chipped back on before Busey knocked in her birdie putt, restoring a two-shot lead after Cavaiani two-putted for her double-bogey.
"Obviously I was disappointed in making a double," Cavaiani wrote in a text to Wisconsin.golf. "But I knew there was still a lot of golf to be played."
Unfortunately for Cavaiani, Busey wasn't going to open the door a second time.
The former Racine St. Catherine's golfer added another birdie at the par-3 seventh hole to regain the three-shot lead with which she started the day by the time both golfers turned in 3-over 39. Busey added three more shots to her cushion after she birdied the par-4 11th hole and Cavaiani bogeyed Nos. 12 and 13 to virtually put the outcome out of reach with five holes to go.
"After I got in a rhythm I was able to make some good birdies," Busey wrote. "My birdie on (No.) 11 was my best of the day. The pin was on a ridge and I was in a difficult spot with a side hill left to right breaker (about 30 feet)."
After the last of her four birdies on the day (and eighth of the week) on No. 17, Busey hit her drive on the par-4 18th hole into the water. With her lead at seven shots, however, Busey regained her focus and closed out the victory.
"At that point, I kind of knew that regardless of whether I parred or double bogeyed, it wasn’t really going to matter much," Busey wrote. "So I honestly just turned around to look at my mom and we both just laughed at how stupid that mistake was. After that, it was a routine par with the second ball."
Cavaiani, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference champion, played her final 10 holes in 3-over, but could never cut into Busey's lead.
"The conditions around the greens were difficult which made it hard to make up shots on the back nine," Cavaiani wrote. "Overall, I just didn’t have my best game to put much pressure on Sarah today. Although I wish I played better this week, I am still happy with a runner-up finish!"
Busey, who finished third a year ago behind Rebecca Klongland and Mikayla Hauck, was honored to be the first Racine golfer to win this event since Sarah DeKraay, a former Indiana University golfer, did so in 1986. Klongland, a former University of Wisconsin standout from Stoughton, started Law School at Marquette University in Milwaukee last fall and did not defend her title.
The victory continued to add to an impressive summer for Busey, who also qualified for next month's U.S. Women's Amateur in Mississippi.
"Even though I did not have my best game the last two rounds, it means a lot to be able to keep my name at the top of the leaderboard for the entirety of this tournament," Busey wrote. "I’m hoping this win will help fuel my confidence in future tournaments, especially during the U.S. Am and this college season. After such an exciting summer thus far, my goals and expectations for myself are only climbing higher."
|1||Sarah Busey Racine, WI, Racine CC||+8||F||+4||71||77||76||224|
|2||Abby Cavaiani Wales, WI, Naga-Waukee GC||+13||F||+6||72||79||78||229|
|3||Taitum Beck Waterford, WI, Rivermoor GC||+18||F||+5||82||75||77||234|
|4||Speedy Kent Mequon, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+20||F||+9||77||78||81||236|
|T5||Rachel Kauflin Wauwatosa, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+22||F||+9||78||79||81||238|
|T5||Aimee Gerschke South Milwaukee, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+22||F||+6||84||76||78||238|
|7||Payton Hodson Middleton, WI, Pleasant View GC||+26||F||+10||84||76||82||242|
|T8||Isabelle Maleki Mequon, WI, Ozaukee CC||+27||F||+13||80||78||85||243|
|T8||Ashley Kulka Beaver Dam, WI, Old Hickory GC||+27||F||+9||82||80||81||243|
|10||Allison Schultz Madison, WI, Nakoma GC||+29||F||+8||86||79||80||245|
|T11||Lexi Meade Eau Claire, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+30||F||+14||81||79||86||246|
|T11||Mallory Swartz Franklin, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+30||F||+12||80||82||84||246|
|T11||Sydney Wells Menominee, MI, Riverside Golf Club||+30||F||+9||84||81||81||246|
|T11||Trystin Kluess Greenleaf, WI, Wild Ridge||+30||F||+8||85||81||80||246|
|15||Katherine Meier Middleton, WI, Bishops Bay CC||+31||F||+11||83||81||83||247|
|16||Grace Welch Madison, WI, Blackhawk CC||+32||F||+12||80||84||84||248|
|17||Katelynn Warpinski Green Bay, WI, Shorewood GC||+33||F||+7||85||85||79||249|
|18||Ashli Stolen Stoughton, WI, Stoughton CC||+36||F||+15||83||82||87||252|
|19||Courtney Matschke Franklin, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+37||F||+17||82||82||89||253|
|T20||Amanda Karvala New Berlin, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+38||F||+20||78||84||92||254|
|T20||Sami Forster Wauwatosa, WI, Washington County GC||+38||F||+13||85||84||85||254|
|22||Myranda Kotlowski Stoughton, WI, Stoughton CC||+40||F||+12||83||89||84||256|
|T23||Gianna Gastrow Hartland, WI, The Legend Clubs||+45||F||+18||84||87||90||261|
|T23||Sydney Brandt Brookfield, WI, Fairways of Woodside GC||+45||F||+17||86||86||89||261|
|T25||Faith Krause Franklin, WI, Muskego Lakes CC||+46||F||+18||85||87||90||262|
|T25||Erin Ericson Onalaska, WI, The GC at Cedar Creek||+46||F||+14||87||89||86||262|
|T27||Jessie Gulden Middleton, WI, Bishops Bay CC||+47||F||+12||92||87||84||263|
|T27||Courtney Shorter Fitchburg, WI, Blackhawk CC||+47||F||+16||82||93||88||263|
|29||Kimberly Dodd Brookfield, WI, The Legend Clubs||+52||F||+19||89||88||91||268|
|30||Madison Bowers Mineral Point, WI, Dodge Point CC||+61||F||+16||96||93||88||277|
|31||Lauren Haen Appleton, WI, Ridgeway CC||+79||F||+27||98||98||99||295|
|32||Jordyn Fitzgerald Marshfield, WI||+81||F||+24||100||101||96||297|
|T1||Grace Suter Oconomowoc, WI, North Hills CC||+20||F||+13||79||85||164|
|T1||Karen Schmid Waukesha, WI, The Legend Clubs||+20||F||+12||80||84||164|
|3||Julie Schroeder Oregon, WI, The Legend at Bergamont||+21||F||+9||84||81||165|
|4||Lynn Lenz La Crosse, WI, Coulee Golf Bowl||+24||F||+11||85||83||168|
|5||Treva Dodd Brookfield, WI, Wisconsin PGA Junior GC||+29||F||+15||86||87||173|
|T6||Lillian Knetter Madison, WI, Blackhawk CC||+31||F||+17||86||89||175|
|T6||Jessica Rudnicki Sun Prairie, WI, Eau Claire G&CC||+31||F||+13||90||85||175|
|8||Megan Koch Franksville, WI, Meadowbrook CC||+32||F||+17||87||89||176|
|9||Klairissa O'Reilly-Dye Madison, WI, Monona GC||+33||F||+17||88||89||177|
|10||Susan Slater Racine, WI, Johnson Park GC||+36||F||+18||90||90||180|
|11||Katie Gerschke South Milwaukee, WI||+54||F||+26||100||98||198|
|1||Peg Carlson Madison, WI, Odana Hills GC||+28||F||+12||88||84||172|
|2||Ann Bonner Platteville, WI, Platteville G&CC||+31||F||+15||88||87||175|
|3||Deb Toll Appleton, WI, Chaska GC||+44||F||+21||95||93||188|
|4||Susan Crowson Madison, WI, Meadows of Sixmile Creek||+45||F||+24||93||96||189|
|5||Sandra Nass Elkhorn, WI, Johnson Park GC||+48||F||+23||97||95||192|
|6||Terry Ziegelbauer LaCrosse, WI, Coulee Golf Bowl||+50||F||+25||97||97||194|
|T7||Carla Konet Oconomowoc, WI, Deertrak GC||+51||F||+28||95||100||195|
|T7||Wendy Proctor Brookfield, WI, Brown Deer Park GC||+51||F||+22||101||94||195|
|9||Grace Warrner Lakewood, WI, McCauslin Brook G&CC||+52||F||+21||103||93||196|
|10||Rita Cooney Colgate, WI, Songbird Hills GC||+56||F||+30||98||102||200|
|11||Connie Hillmann Germantown, Brown Deer Park GC||+59||F||+29||102||101||203|
|12||Pat Kraft Brookfield, WI, Chenequa CC||+62||F||+28||106||100||206|
|13||Julie O'Connor Oconomowoc, WI, Morningstar GC||+69||F||+37||104||109||213|
|1||Andrea Schleeper Fitchburg, WI||+37||F||+17||92||89||181|
|2||Dawn Thiel Appleton, WI, Mid Vallee GC||+52||F||+29||95||101||196|
|3||Jeanne Whitish Cross Plains, WI, Meadows of Sixmile Creek||+57||F||+29||100||101||201|
|4||Karen Weiss Racine, WI, Johnson Park GC||+59||F||+30||101||102||203|
|5||Cathi Baus La Crosse, WI, Drugan's Castle Mound CC||+67||F||+36||103||108||211|
|T6||Rosalind Gusinow Madison, WI, Odana Hills GC||+72||F||+40||104||112||216|
|T6||Kathy Algiers Appleton, WI, Chaska GC||+72||F||+32||112||104||216|
|8||Sue St John Brookfield, WI, Brown Deer Park GC||+74||F||+43||103||115||218|
|9||Vita Paukstelis Racine, WI, Johnson Park GC||+76||F||+42||106||114||220|
|10||Claudia Standorf Madison, WI, Odana Hills GC||+82||F||+38||116||110||226|
|11||Micki Hill Madison, Wisconsin, Monona GC||+89||F||+45||116||117||233|
|12||Gretchen Styles Wauwatosa, WI, Brown Deer Park GC||+90||F||+43||119||115||234|
|13||Claudia Berges Rolla, MO, Johnson Park GC||+114||F||+56||130||128||258|