VERONA — The first adjustment to be made at the state golf meet is to realize that the greens are going to be faster than most players are accustom to.
The second adjustment is to relax and treat the round like a celebration of the season, instead of feeling the pressure of personal expectations.
Cambridge senior Mary Hommen cleaned up her putting on the second day of the WIAA Division 2 state golf championship and improved her score by 15 strokes to finish in 16th place at University Ridge Golf Course on Tuesday.
“My putting was much better,” said Hommen, who described the early going on Day 1 as “nerve-wrecking” and needed to focus with the putter in her hand. “I wasn’t able to get hardly any work on it between rounds. It was mostly just focus.”
Lakeside Lutheran sisters Maya and Ava Heckmann each saw their score cards improve significantly on Day 2, too. Junior Maya Heckmann moved up four spots and improved her score by 10 strokes to finish with a 24-over 96-86 in 11th place. Freshman Ava Heckmann improved her score by 11 strokes to close in a four-way tie for 17th place with a 30-over 102-91.
Lakeside head coach Kyra Lostetter immediately said the difference between Day 1 and Day 2 was better mental approach for the Warriors.
“We really just made sure to focus on being positive with them and not letting them overthink their golf,” Lostetter said. “We talk about anything like what’s your favorite movie or TV show, where do you like to get your nails done? We know these kids on a personal level, so we know how we can turn their games around.”
Madison Edgewood won its 15th WIAA D2 title in program history and second in a row with a two-day, four-player total of 702 strokes. Senior Grace Welch compiled 158 strokes to win the individual title for the Crusaders.
The positive outlook served Ava Heckmann well as she posted seven bogeys in the first nine holes on Tuesday in constrast to the quadruple, triple and two bogeys she had on Monday. Ava was unable to allow mistakes to compound and the improvment was proof of that.
For Maya Heckmann, the positivity was important, but so was the improved ball striking. She mentioned that she was unable to consistently strike the ball on Monday and that led to four double bogeys on the front-9.
“After my dad gave me a few tips about my swing at the beginning of the day, that really helped my whole game,” Heckmann said. But that was only part of the improvement. “I was more relaxed today and wasn’t overthinking. I was talking to coach the whole time and I was able to talk to our other coach on the back-nine. They really just help me make sure I’m playing my game.”
Maya made the biggest improvement on her par-3’s. On Tuesday, she was even par on the par-3’s as opposed to six-over on the four par-3’s Monday.
Aside from Ellsworth senior Holly Carlson (95-78), Hommen and the Heckmanns had the most-improved cards from Day 1 to Day 2.
Hommen, like the Heckmanns, credited a more positive outlook on Tuesday. Though the senior said emotions were beginning to emerge toward the end of the back-nine, a more positive, happy-go-lucky approach to the day helped her clean up her score.
“The closer I got to finishing up today it was getting emotional, but if I took a bad shot, I told myself it was OK because I had to give it all I had for the last round,” Hommen said. “I really worked on not getting upset with myself and giving it all I had.”
That positivity was what got them to the state tournament and that positivity is what will drive them moving forward.