Janesville Craig, Parker golf teams head to state
With 35 mph wind gusts playing the havoc they are supposed to with golfers on a links-style course, the Vikings and Cougars fired 325 and 332, respectively, to lead the 10-team Janesville sectional field. The top two teams and top three individuals not on a qualifying team earn a state berth.
Craig earned its second straight state appearance, while sectional champion Parker returns to state for the first time since 2000. The Vikings’ Dustin Richards carded a 5-over-par 76 (35-41) and finished one stroke behind Beaver Dam sophomore Ian Statz, who finished with a 4-over 75 (39-36) to earn medalist honors.
Peyton Graham followed Richards with an 81 (35-46), Taylor Braun added a 79 (36-43) and John Milner posted an 89 (40-49) to round out Parker’s four top scores.
“You are going to have adversity in every round, and it’s just how you handle it,” Parker coach John Zimmerman said. “The boys worked their butts off and fought their way around the golf course. They grinded it out—it’s the best way to say it.”
Zimmerman added the Vikings are a special team.
“They are good boys,” Zimmerman said. “They listen, they work hard and it’s good for them. It’s fantastic for them.”
Jordan Gagg led the Cougars with a 79 (36-43), Ryne Clatworthy and teammate Nolan Moran each fired 80—both going 40-40—and Tommy White posted a 93 (48-45) to round out the Cougars’ four best scores.
“It’s a good feeling,” Craig coach Dominic Weigel said. “They played well. They didn’t give up, and that’s what I’m proud of. They didn’t let one nine get to them and they stuck with it.”
With Richards and Graham posting even-par 35 on the front nine and Braun a 1-over 36 to lead the field, it appeared the Vikings would cruise to the sectional title.
Richards went to 5-over on the backside, Graham ballooned to 11-over, Braun was plus-7 and Milner was plus-9. Craig’s Gagg was 7-over on the back.
“From playing this golf course, you know on the front nine you can score on it,” Zimmerman said. “The back nine, you have to have a plan and you have to execute your plan.”
Richards said making par was the main plan.
“Just take your pars and run with them,” said Richards, who had to rebound from a double bogey at the par-4 12th hole. “With this wind today, it was ridiculous, honestly.”
But Richards found a way to survive, and his next stop is state.
“It’s awesome, especially during senior year,” Richards said. “I missed last year with a 76 (at sectionals), but I made it this year, and I’m happy with that.”
Gagg said his drives were at the mercy of the wind.
“Hitting your driver, the first 50 yards is how ever it comes off your club,” Gagg said. “After that it’s just all up to the wind.
“You just have to give it a chance, and if the wind pushes it back to the fairway, you are golden, but if it doesn’t—good luck.”