Hannah Braun had just one goal at the WIAA state golf meet this season: to prove she belonged.
The Kimberly High School senior did that and more, finishing in a tie for eighth place in Division 1 with a two-day total of 156.
Only four players in the entire tournament shot better than her second-round score of 73, and it was redemption for Braun after she finished in a tie for 55th place her junior year and a tie for 64th place as a sophomore at University Ridge in Madison.
“I guess I would say that I’m happy with my finish after, I guess I could say, redeeming myself after two years of bad play there,” Braun said of her state experience.
Braun wasn’t just good at state. She also shot a 77 at the sectional meet and took medalist honors on the second playoff hole, won the regional championship with an 80, won the Fox Valley Association title with a birdie on the first playoff hole after shooting a 79, and earned Golf Coaches Association of Wisconsin third-team all-state honors.
Braun, who has been named Post-Crescent Media’s girls’ golfer of the year, took some time to talk about her stellar senior season.
About that second-round 73: “We started on the back. I was glad about that so I could get that over with, because I knew I could shoot better than I did the day before that. And then, I don’t know. It was just fun. I knew it was my last round and I just went out and played.”
First-round penalty: “Well, my second shot was in the sand and I removed a leaf from the sand trap, which is not legal to do. And then a girl called me out on it. She called me out right after I hit it. It was a great sand shot. And I ended up three-putting like five feet from the hole for a 6 or a 7. I guess it kind of hindered my confidence throughout the rest of the round. I started playing passive rather than going after everything. I was thinking of what I shouldn’t do versus what I should do.”
Coming back from penalty: “I was just glad that I could prove that that wasn’t what I shot, that I could do way better than that.”
Getting started in golf: “I didn’t like start playing seriously until I was a freshman, like taking it serious. Other than that, I’d usually play with my dad, but I did more of driving the cart than playing with my dad …. I went to some golf camps up in Door County, because my grandpa actually works at a golf course, too. He kind of got me interested in it, too.”
Favorite thing about golf: “How much you learn from it, I would say. I guess what I like most about golf is that it’s a sport that can apply to everything in your life.”
Least favorite thing about golf: “The elements that you have to play in … I love to play in the heat. Cold and rain and wind is the worst.”
Favorite course: “Probably Thornberry (Creek). I used to not like that course and now I really like it. I guess it’s challenging and you can use your driver on every hole. You have to know your distances.”
Best shot ever: “I actually got a hole-in-one at Bay Ridge in Door County, the summer going into my junior year. I was with my grandparents, my swing coach and my mom. Actually, my swing coach is the only person that saw it go in. I ran up to the ball and it was in the hole, because I didn’t believe him … It was 132 (yards) and I hit my 7 iron. It was a total surprise.”
Course she’d like to play: “I’d probably say North Shore. I’ve had the opportunity to play there but I have just never taken advantage of it. So I’d like to play that course.”
College plans: “I’m thinking I’m going to play golf either at Oshkosh or Viterbo.”
More fun, a goal in soccer or making a long putt: “I would say a goal because you’re not given the opportunity as much to score a goal than to make a long putt. But they’re both pretty exciting. It depends on what the long putt is for, I should say that.”
Is she better than dad: “Yes, I’ve beaten him. He doesn’t like to admit it, though. It’s always fun because he’s always giving me crap about it … He doesn’t mind. He says he’d rather have me beat him than anyone else. I don’t think he ever expected it.”
Mike Sherry: 920-993-1000, ext. 289, or firstname.lastname@example.org; on Twitter @MikeSherry14
Mom: Parents, Jeff and Julie; sister, Blair.