Sophomore Kip Sullivan claims medalist honors. leads Middleton to top of WIAA Middleton golf regional
MIDDLETON — Middleton sophomore Kip Sullivan’s familiarity with Pleasant View Golf Course left him feeling comfortable entering Tuesday’s WIAA Division 1 regional tournament.
Still, his initial jitters needed to be addressed.
“To start out, I was a little nervous on the tee shot,” he said. “Once I hit it on the fairway, I kind of zoned in. I was ready to go.”
Sullivan shot a 4-over-par 75 and claimed medalist honors at the Middleton regional, one stroke better than Madison West senior Owen Cranley and Oregon senior Ryan Candell.
Cranley, who shot a 1-over 36 on the back nine, advanced to next week’s sectionals as one of the four individuals not on the four qualifying teams.
“It means a lot,” said Sullivan, Middleton’s No. 4 player. “It’s a huge confidence-builder. This is a catapult for me for the rest of the year and the rest of my high school career right here, right now.”
Sullivan and sophomore Tommy Kriewaldt and freshman Jacob Beckman, who each shot 78s, led the first-place Cardinals to a 311 total — six shots better than runner-up Waunakee on the par-71 course.
Verona was third with 322 and Oregon finished fourth with 334, one stroke ahead of fifth-place Madison West. The top four teams advanced to next Tuesday’s Verona sectional at Edelweiss Chalet Country Club in New Glarus. The other four teams will come from the Onalaska regional, scheduled for today.
Waunakee shot 155 on the first nine holes played on the Woods layout and held a five-shot lead over Middleton at the turn. But the Cardinals stormed back on the final nine holes, played on the Lake layout, which Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said is the course his team knows best.
“The back really was the difference,” Cabalka said.
“Middleton, I give them credit,” Waunakee coach Betsy Zadra said. “I think they struggled on the front nine and they turned it around on the back nine. I think we need to do a better job on the second nine. We played really well on the front nine. We have to do a better job of finishing.”
The scores recorded by Sullivan, No. 3 golfer Kriewaldt, No. 5 Beckman and No. 2 Carson Frisch, a sophomore who shot 80, were counted. Senior Andy Zucker, the Cardinals’ No. 1 golfer, shot 81, which was thrown out.
“It’s not something you hope for,” Cabalka said. “That certainly is one of the strengths we have — all five of our kids have been scorers throughout the year. But it might be the first time Andy’s score has been thrown out.”
Added Sullivan: “We have five guys who can all play and if one guy doesn’t do so well the rest of us come through, which is really awesome. It’s the best part of our team — consistency.”
Sullivan, who had two birdies, escaped trouble in the trees on the fourth hole and rallied for a birdie that brought him to even par. He shot 1-over 37 on the front and 3-over 38 on the back.
Sullivan, whose round was his third-best this season, bounced back after shooting an 87 at last week’s Big Eight Conference tournament in Evansville. He said he was determined to maintain his focus on each hole Tuesday.
“He was quite upset (after the Big Eight meet),” Cabalka said. “He was apologetic. I said, ‘There is no reason to apologize. You didn’t have the round you planned on, but you didn’t let anyone down because you didn’t go out there and quit.’ I think he was pretty determined today to not have that type of round. He’s played extremely well over the last three weeks.”
Junior Jacob Werlein, Waunakee’s No. 4 golfer, and junior Sean Murphy, Waunakee’s No. 1 player, shot 78 and 79, respectively.
“I think there is room to improve,” Zadra said. “We definitely left some shots out here today. … But overall, as I told the guys, I’m really happy because we just wanted to play another day of golf and we did that today.”
Sophomore Cale Rufenacht’s 78 led Big Eight tournament champion Verona, which, like Middleton, tossed out the score of its No. 1 golfer, conference medalist Garhett Kaegi (83).
The four players not on qualifying teams who advanced to next week’s sectional were Cranley (76), Madison Memorial junior Matthew Sorenson (83), Madison West junior Erik Buinevicius (84) and Madison Memorial freshman Silas Pickhardt (85).