Host team Howards Grove finished first in Wednesday’s WIAA Division 3 regional tournament at Sheboygan Town and Country, ensuring them a spot in the upcoming sectionals.
The Tigers shot 343 to earn the top spot. Also advancing to the sectional meet are second place Mishicot, which shot a 349, third place Sheboygan Lutheran, who finished with a 354, and fourth place Kohler which finished with a 357.
Consistency was the name of the game for Howards Grove and no one better illustrated that than the Tigers’ low man Matthew Bagnall, who finished second overall with a score of 82. He said he would have liked to be more accurate with his ball striking, but was able to limit his mistakes and played well around the green.
“I definitely could have hit more greens, but my short game really helps with that,” he said. “I was getting up and down. On the fourth hole on the back nine, I made a seven-foot putt for birdie and got up and down on the first two holes. I made a 30-foot par putt on the second hole.”
The rest of the team followed Bagnall’s lead, with each of the top four golfers shooting in the 80s. Jonny Probst and Collin Meyer each shot an 86 and Layne Gustafson shot an 89 on the day.
Howards Grove coach Chris Hirt said the key to his team’s win was playing a very composed 18 holes of golf and limiting mistakes.
“They performed really well today,” he said. “Even when they had a bad hole, they were able to put it in the past and move on. They all played very steady golf. There was nothing too spectacular but they were all consistent. They needed to keep the ball in play, avoid getting into trouble and avoid the big numbers. I think they did that. They kept the ball in the fairway and eliminated the big numbers.”
Austin Schnell of Mishicot was the regional’s top performer, shooting a 5-over-par 79 to lead the field.
“The round went well,” he said. “I struggled on a couple holes and that’s what killed me, but other than that, I went up and down, saved a lot of pars and had a birdie. I knew my putting would have to be good. The greens are fast and it’s pretty hilly. Putting was key.”
The other area team advancing to the Division 3 sectional meet, third place Sheboygan Lutheran, played some of the best golf of the year Tuesday and it’s coming at the right time.
Josh Splittgerber led the way for the Crusaders, finishing with an 84. Isaiah Richardson shot an 86, and Alex Phillips and Nick Falconer each shot a 92.
Sheboygan Lutheran coach Larry Kettle said if they can tighten their games in a few key areas, he likes his team’s chances at the sectional meet.
“I’m very proud of the way they played,” he said. “We had two scores in the 80s and that’s our second time doing that this year. We were very consistent. Our high score was only a 96. Our year this year has been a measure of consistency. From here, we’ll focus on our short game. It’s always short game. That’s where the money is made and the score is reduced. If we can improve our putting and chipping, we’ve got a real shot of moving on.”
Three more golfers qualified for the sectional meet at an individual level. Jacob DeCoste from Green Bay New Lutheran, Noah Hendrikse from Sheboygan County Christian and Sam Jeffers from Hilbert-Stockbridge all shot 87s to make the cut.
WIAA Division 3 Regional
At Sheboygan Town and Country Club, par 72
Team scores: Howards Grove 343, Mishicot 349, Sheboygan Lutheran 354, Kohler 357, Lourdes Academy 359, Sheboygan County Christian 361, Hilbert-Stockbridge 370, Green Bay New Lutheran, Elkhart Lake-Glenbeulah 391, Reedsville 397.
Medalist: Austin Schnell (Mi), 79.
EL: Elliot Van Oss 93, Max Ward 93, Dante Miller 100, Anthony Klahn 105. GBL: Jacob DeCoste 87, Josh Denis 88, Joshua Nimme 90, Joseph Prindle 110. HG: Matthew Bagnall 82, Jonny Probst 86, Collin Meyer 86, Layne Gustafson 89. Ko: Charlie Twohig 85, Ashton Elmendorf 89, Andrew Bryce 91, Amanda Egbert 92. LA: Hobey Kraus 88, Brady Schneider 89, Jacob Putzer 90, Nathaniel Jackson 92, Richard Swanson 92. MI: Austin Schnell 79, Erik Morreau 89, Kyle Curry 90, Parker Mueller 91. Re: Tanner Mangin 93, Nicole Klug 98, Brevin Wendland 103, Jacob Bubolz 103. SL: Josh Splittgerber 84, Isaiah Richardson 86, Nick Falconer 92, Alex Phillips 92. SC: Noah Hendrikse 87, Josh Huenink 89, Thad Coulis 91, Brayden VanEss 94. HS: Sam Jeffers 87, Israel Wells 89, Jordan Burns 89, Andrew Shimon 105.