OREGON — Familiarity with her home course made Oregon junior Alyssa Schmidt comfortable and confident entering Tuesday’s Badger South Conference girls golf tournament.
But Schmidt acknowledged surprise with a round that put her atop the leaderboard in windy, 80-degree conditions at The Legend at Bergamont.
Schmidt, after shooting a 1-under-par 35 on the front nine, finished with a 2-over 74 and earned medalist honors. The total was her best in high school, she said.
“This is my home course,” Schmidt said. “I really know the course and I try to focus on that. I was chipping really well and hitting my irons solid, which helped a lot.”
Milton freshman Hannah Dunk was runner-up with 77. Madison Edgewood senior Grace Welch shot 78 and placed third while leading the Crusaders to the Badger South tournament title.
Stoughton cousins Caylie Kotlowski, a junior, and Myranda Kotlowski, a senior, shot 80 and 82, respectively. Myranda Kotlowski persevered despite being stung in the leg by a bee on the seventh hole and having the head of her 9-iron break off during warmups (she played with a replacement), Stoughton coach Stephen Stokes said.
Welch, a UW-Green Bay commit, topped the lineup for Edgewood, top-ranked in Division 2 in the state coaches’ poll and the defending WIAA Division 2 state champion. Junior Caitlyn Hegenbarth (91), senior Anaka Leske (93) and junior Grace Jaeger (94) helped the Crusaders total 356.
“I’m happy,” Edgewood coach Peggy Gierhart said. “This was our goal. We hit our goal, and we survived the wind. The top four (in the lineup) do have a lot of experience after last year. I think that helps, after what they did last year in the state series and what they did here.”
Edgewood, the undefeated Badger South dual-meet champion this season, claimed the overall conference crown.
The Crusaders’ total was 24 strokes better than second-place Milton (380). Defending Badger South tournament and overall champion Stoughton, the league’s dual runner-up and meet host this season, finished third with 387.
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“It must have been blowing 25 (mph) out there,” Gierhart said. “We tried to stay on them mentally and tried to keep them calm, and to tell them that bogeys were good — because today bogeys were good. Sometimes, even a double (bogey) was good. It’s exciting for us to hit this goal because it’s been awhile. … It’s a different team every year. This is a new experience for this group, so this is nice.”
Schmidt was in the first wave of teams and had the lead after nine holes with her 35, which included one birdie and eight pars. That put her ahead of Caylie Kotlowski (38), Dunk (39) and Myranda Kotlowski (40) — all in the second group with Edgewood’s players.
After finishing her round, Schmidt waited to see if her score would hold up. It did.
“It feels really good,” Schmidt said. “It’s definitely an improvement and an accomplishment. I was nervous, but I know the course so I knew I had a good shot.”
The gusty winds made for a difficult day on a challenging course.
“For the first six holes, it wasn’t as bad,” Schmidt said. “But it definitely started picking up throughout the round and especially for the second nine, as well. It was pretty bad.”
She wound up with two birdies. She said she drained a 7-foot putt for birdie on the fifth hole and a 12-footer for birdie on No. 17.
“(The conditions) were tough,” Stokes said. “They were playing some holes that had 20 or 30 yards difference in the yardage, compared with playing the wind. … That 74 from Schmidt is fantastic. That is a fantastic score in these conditions. And I was proud of our girls. They kept battling.
“It’s really a day when you had to keep battling through from hole to hole, shot to shot. The girls who were able to do that were able to score the best. That is a solid score from Edgewood.”
Badger Conference coaches and athletic directors decided to hold the Badger South and Badger North tournaments separately this year. The Badger North meet is scheduled for Wednesday at Lake Wisconsin Country Club in Prairie du Sac, with Waunakee serving as host.