Golfers in second at state

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MTT News's picture
Rob Reischel
Loren Skibba and Middleton's girls golfers are in second place after the first round of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

VERONA — Loren Skibba was thinking the worst.

Middleton’s standout golfer had struggled down the stretch during Monday’s opening round of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament. Skibba heard her teammates had a rough finish, as well.

And while some of that was true, it was only half of the story.

As the winds howled across University Ridge Golf Course, scores skyrocketed everywhere. And Middleton, which started its day extremely strong, hung tough through the declining conditions.

Middleton finished its opening round with a 331-team score and sits in second place overall, four shots behind Hartland Arrowhead (327). Milton (336), Verona (340) and Franklin (341) rounded out the top five.

“Wow,” Skibba said when informed that the Cardinals were still right in the title mix. “That’s a lot better than I thought.”

Skibba, the defending individual state champion, led the Cardinals with a 3-over-par 75. Junior Alexis Thomas carded an 80, while juniors Morgan Norowetz and Morgan Miles both shot 88s.

“You can’t win state on day one, but you can lose it,” Middleton coach Becky Halverson said. “Our goal was to be close after the first day and we are. The girls hung in there and we’re right in the hunt.”

They sure are, thanks largely to a terrific start. Middleton shot a 156 on its first nine, seven shots better than any of the other 12 schools.

“We started really strong,” Halverson said. “I was like, ‘Holy cow!.’ I was pleasantly surprised.”

The winds intensified as the day wore on — and Middleton found itself on the wide-open front nine instead of the largely protected back nine. With the weather conditions worsening, the Cardinals shot a 175 on the back nine and slipped to second overall.

“Before we got here, we talked about playing well, but maybe not leading after the first day,” Skibba said. “That’s a lot of pressure. So I kind of like where we’re at.”

Skibba is tied for third individually, three shots behind co-leaders Kate Martin of Mukwonago and Mikayla Hauck of Monona Grove (72).

Skibba had an eagle-3 at No. 16 and a birdie at No. 18 to make the turn at 2-under-par, 34. Skibba was 3-under-par through 14 holes, before shooting a combined 6-over in a three-hole stretch and finishing with a 75.

“I’m not out of it at all,” Skibba said.

Thomas made an eagle-3 on her 11th hole and moved to 1-over-par. Thomas endured a triple- and quadruple bogey as the conditions worsened, but stiffened down the stretch with three straight pars and shot an 80.

Narowetz carded a 2-over-par 38 on her first nine, before settling for a 50 on her second nine. Miles produced a rarity, shooting better on her second nine (45) than her first (45).

“There were times when the wind was wind was just swirling. You didn’t even know what direction it was going,” Halverson said. “But we’re right in it and that’s what we wanted.”

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