Weiss, MHS shine at MACC Fund Invite

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MTT News's picture
By: 
Rob Reischel
Luke Weiss shot a sizzling 1-under par at the MACC Fund Invitational last Saturday./Times-Tribune photo by Mary Langenfeld

OCONOMOWOC — Luke Weiss knows a thing or two about helping a good cause.

Each summer, Weiss — a sophomore at Middleton High School — helps raise money for the Wisconsin PGA Junior Foundation by playing as many holes of golf as possible on a single day. In 2023, Weiss and his three playing partners each completed 330 holes — yes, 330 — in a 15-hour window.

Weiss didn’t have to grind quite as hard last Saturday, but he knew he was playing for an even greater cause.

Weiss and his Middleton teammates competed at the MACC Fund Invite — a 56-team event divided between two golf courses. Each team is required to raise at least $1,000 to hold its spot for the following year, and all of the funds go to the MACC Fund, which supports research in the attempt to cure childhood cancer.

“It was really important for us coming out here, raising money, spending like the whole season trying to get money and raise money for this tournament,” Weiss said. “It’s a really good cause. It’s just an awesome experience to raise money and help a good cause.”

Making the day even better was Weiss also shined on the links.

Weiss carded a 1-under-par, 70, which helped Middleton finish in fifth place among the 28 teams that played at The Club at Lac La Belle in Oconomowoc. Waunakee won the team title with a sizzling 291, while Oconomowoc (297), Germantown (298), Waukesha North (298) and Middleton (301) rounded out the top five.

Weiss, who made four birdies during his stellar round, finished fourth individually. Waunakee sophomore Peyton Albers was first with a 68.

“Luke’s got the game,” Middleton coach Tom Cabalka said. “He is just so steady. He knows what his ball is going to do and he knows his yardage really well. Those are his really two strong points.”

Those were evident on a gorgeous day in which Weiss was red hot throughout.

Weiss started on the back nine, and after a bogey at No. 11, he made a long birdie putt at No. 14, then hit a 60-yard wedge within a foot for birdie at No. 15. Weiss also carded six pars on his first nine and made the turn at 1-under.

“I felt good. It’s always nice to have a good nine,” Weiss said. “I did it at University Ridge last week when I was even (par) through nine, but I didn’t finish the way I wanted to. So today I just really wanted to finish out strong  and I think I did that.”

He sure did.

Weiss made a pair of 20-foot birdie putts on his second nine — at holes No. 5 and 7. He also made five pars and two bogeys, finished his round with just 30 total putts and posted his best score of the season.

Weiss, one of the smaller players at most events, certainly doesn’t play small. Instead, he has surprising power and consistency that most golfers can only dream of having.

“The key for me has always been hitting the fairway and being consistent,” Weiss said. “That’s a big part of my game. You don’t have to be the biggest kid out there, just the most consistent. I feel like I’m probably the most consistent, and that really helps me out.”

Weiss endured a tough freshman season in which he fell into a slump that he couldn't escape. After an intense summer, though, in which he played six hours of golf most days, Weiss has enjoyed a breakthrough spring.

“Last year was just brutal. I was in a big slump and it lasted for most of the summer,” he said. “At the end of the summer I started to turn it around. Every day I was out there like five or six hours a day, so this year I had high expectations for myself. I just knew I was going to be one of those guys that was going to put up good numbers.”

Cabalka has been thrilled to see that growth, as Weiss has vaulted from someone fighting to be in the top-five to arguably Middleton’s most steady performer.

“I was a little worried because he grew about six inches this year,” Cabalka said. “He looks like a 2-year-old colt. I just hope he continues because he’s such a neat kid. He’s always got a smile on his face.”

The rest of Cardinals performed well.

Senior Dain Johnson fired a 76, while sophomore Sam Forslund carded a 77 and senior Charlie Jambor shot a 78.

What’s hurt the Cardinals in recent weeks, though, has been an inability to finish. Middleton was near the top of the leaderboard for much of the round Saturday, but Johnson, Forslund and Jambor combined to play the final three holes in 9-over-par.

Cabalka believes that if the Cardinals get that problem solved, anything and everything is possible for this team.

“I think we’ve just got to keep working on finishing out the rounds,” Cabalka said. “I think that’s been a struggle for us. It seems like every round we’ve had, we haven't finished the way we’ve wanted to.

“You see the football teams running down the sideline going ‘fourth quarter.’ I was thinking the last three holes, do we do that? They’re aware of it. I don't believe we can do much to change that right now. They have to be able to change that.

“We’ve got the kids the kids that can make it happen. We’ve got five kids that can shoot in the 70s. We’ve just got to get our (No.) 1 and 2 kids to play a little bit better.”

While Middleton would have liked to finish higher in the team standings, it also knew that Saturday was about more — much more — than golf.

In the first 17 years of this tournament, the teams combined to raise $1.075 million, including $114,000 in 2023. This year, tournament organizers were hoping to surpass that number.

“It's always nice to play well, but helping a good cause is even better,” Weiss said.

Cabalka certainly agreed with his gifted young golfer.

“This day is all about playing for the kids that have cancer, and it’s an opportunity for our team to raise enough money that’s appropriate for finding a cure for this disease,” Cabalka said. “So it’s all about that. The game of golf is great, but our kids really understand the fact that this is about kids.”

 • Middleton Triangular — Middleton shot a 309 and won a conference triangular held at Bishop’s Bay on April 29.

Madison West was second at 327 and Janesville Parker was third at 356.

Dain Johnson and Charlie Jambor both shot 77, while Sam Forslund, Reis Von Ruden and Luke Weiss all carded 78.

• Morgan Stanley Invite — Middleton finished in third place at the 16-team event held at University Ridge Golf Course on April 30.

Waunakee won the team title with a 299 and Milton was second at 303. Middleton (304), DeForest (315) and Monona Grove (327) rounded out the top five.

Dain Johnson led the Cardinals with a 73, while Luke Weiss shot a 76. Charlie Jambor carded a 77, while both Sam Forslund and Reis Von Ruden shot 78.

 

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