WISCONSIN DELLS — Kip Sullivan woke up early Saturday feeling confident he would play well on the second day of the Wisconsin Dells Invitational boys golf tournament.
The Middleton junior never imagined how low he would go.
Riding solid iron shots and a sizzling putter, Sullivan fired a 7-under-par 64 at Cold Water Canyon Golf Course and recorded his best score — six shots better than the 70 he had last year at Yahara Hills Golf Course.
“I was expecting a low round,” Sullivan said. “I was ready to go. I’m kind of a morning person. When I woke up, I said, `Let’s go.’ I’ve been playing well enough, but my putting didn’t wake up until today.”
Middleton coach Tom Cabalka has been with the program in various capacities for 29 years and has watched countless talented players. He said he believed the 64 was — by one stroke — the lowest 18-hole total by a Middleton golfer.
“It’s an unbelievable number,” Cabalka said. “I was pretty shocked. When a kid can hold that together for 18 holes, that’s really impressive.”
Sullivan said he had seven birdies — all within 15 feet — and no bogeys for a 32-32 round, while playing Cold Water Canyon for the first time.
He finished with a two-day total of 102 after shooting a 2-over 38 for nine holes at Trappers Turn Golf Club on Friday. That gave Sullivan medalist honors in the Division 1 tournament.
“A 64 is just a tremendous score,” Cabalka said, adding: “You certainly can’t expect that every day, but I think it gives him a lot of confidence knowing he can do something like this and shoot good numbers all the time.”
Sullivan, Middleton’s No. 4 golfer, said the short course and slower greens suited his game and presented scoring opportunities. He knew a memorable round was possible when he was 4-under through 11 holes.
“My iron game was really good,” Sullivan said. “I was pretty much hitting at the flag every hole. … I just made a bunch of putts. I had a few lip out, so I could have been better.”
Sullivan finished four shots better than Middleton sophomore Jacob Beckman, who followed Friday’s 36 with a 1-under 70. Sparta’s Austin Erickson shot 67 Saturday and was third with a 107 total.
Fifth-ranked Middleton was the team champion with 433 for 27 holes, including 285 Saturday. Juniors Tommy Kriewaldt, who shot 75 and had 112 overall (earning fifth on a scorecard tiebreaker), and Carson Frisch, who had 76 and 113, rounded out the Cardinals’ top four.
“It’s early and the courses are a little bit rough, so those scores right now are pretty impressive,” said Cabalka, whose team tied for sixth in Division 1 at state last year. “That’s something to be certainly proud of from those guys’ standpoint. I think they expected it. I don’t think it’s a surprise to them that we can throw good numbers out there, because those kids all had the experience last year. Four of the five are back.”
Waunakee earned second after a scorecard tiebreaker. The Warriors, led by senior Sean Murphy’s 75 and 113 total, and Holmen each had 460 — 27 shots behind Middleton.
“This is a wake-up call for what we have to work on,” Waunakee coach Betsy Zadra said. “But this is just the first tournament of the year and now we are off and running. We are thrilled to be playing (after inclement weather hampered the start of play last year).”
Senior Kasen Fager, the first-day leader, shot 78 and had 112 overall for Mount Horeb, fourth with 472 in the 12-team field.
“The kids are disappointed,” Mount Horeb coach Nolan Krentz said. “A couple years ago, they would have been ecstatic with their scores. But that is not their expectation now. We haven’t had that in a while. We have the ability. Moving up to (WIAA) Division 1, I didn’t know if we could compete, but we showed we can. Middleton is a different animal. That (score) is impressive.”
The Division 2 tournament finished with nine holes at Trappers Turn. Platteville was the team champion with 460 (304 Friday, 156 Saturday). Runner-up Osseo-Fairchild had 489 and third-place Columbus 492 among 13 teams.
Platteville’s Nate Busch shot 39 Saturday and was the medalist with 110, one shot better than teammate Cade Rohrbach (71-40—111). Portage’s Dayne Hensler finished third (78-38—116).