Reagan Beyer’s first shot as a varsity golfer in August was a drive out of bounds.
The final shot of her freshman season at Oshkosh West will come at University Ridge and the WIAA Division 1 State Golf Tournament.
“I’m probably more nervous than anything,” Beyer said before a practice session at the Oshkosh Country Club earlier this week. “I really didn’t think it would happen my freshman year.”
Beyer becomes the third Oshkosh West girl golfer to qualify for the state tournament, which will be held Monday and Tuesday in its return to University Ridge, and the first to do it as a freshman. The Wildcats have been represented at the state meet in each of the last six years.
Last season, Heather Zuleger walked away with a medal after finishing fifth and West coach Dan Powers believes that Beyer isn’t too far off that mark.
“The last couple of meets she’s played, she’s been in the top 10 — and those are the girls she’s going to be seeing down there,” Powers said. “I think realistically that’s a goal for her.”
There’s no doubt that Beyer is playing her best golf heading into the state meet.
She finished sixth at the Fox Valley Association meet and followed it up by placing third at the Wildcats’ WIAA Division 1 regional. At sectionals, she shot an 83 on the par 74 Hartford Golf Club course to take third — finishing ahead of the two players that beat her at regionals.
“Practice (has been the key),” said Beyer, the lone freshman individual qualifier in the field, and one of just three freshman overall. “My driver was going really well for the most part (at sectionals) and my putting was pretty good.”
Although Beyer said she has worked on her chipping and putting the most to improve, it may not be the only reason her scores have come down.
Simply getting used to the pressure of playing at the varsity level is something that takes time. And the more comfortable on the course a player is, it’s only logical that the scores would come down in unison.
“Her game was there the whole time. It was just more maturing and knowing there is a little more pressure on her and dealing with the pressure,” Powers said. “The last month or so, you can really tell she’s focusing on every shot, focusing on every little thing and not giving any shots away.”
That’s the plan for the state meet, too.
Her goal is to finish below 87 in each round. If she shot 86-86 the last time the state meet was held at University Ridge in 2011, the total would have placed her in the top 30 finishers.
“(The practice round will help me with) what clubs to hit and see the greens and how fast they are,” Beyer said. “My teammates seemed pretty excited when I made it. After they made the announcement at school, every time I walked down the hallway, someone would say ‘Congratulations’ or something like that.”
Competing at the state meet as a freshman definitely sets the stage for things to come in Beyer’s career and it also gives her a chance to be a part of the meet and use that experience down the road.
However, Powers quickly debunks any thought that the trip to Madison is simply to get a taste of the environment.
“She’s so competitive, the experience isn’t just what she’s there for,” Powers said. “She wants to do the best she can and she wants to place as high as she can.”