VERONA — The moment or a score on a card really never is too serious for Lukas Heckmann.
The Lakeside senior golfer holds himself to a high standard, which is why he was able to win a 2018 WIAA Division 2 state title as a junior last year.
Heckmann climbed seven spots on the second day of the 2019 WIAA Division 2 state golf championships, but settled into a tie for seventh place with a 27-hole total of 116 strokes at University Ridge in Verona on Tuesday.
The winner was Edgerton No. 1 Joe Forsting, who shot a 108.
“I knew it would be my last round as a golfer at Lakeside,” said Heckmann, who shot a 68-79 last year to hang on for the title last year. “I knew I wasn’t really in it unless something crazy happened. You never really know what’s going to happen. You saw what happened to me last year, so anything is possible.
“I didn’t want anything like that to happen to anyone, if anything, I was hoping to go super low and give myself a chance.”
Heckmann shot a par on Hole No. 7, which has been nothing but trouble for him through the years. From there, he was hoping to gain momentum, but a rain shower and the governing bodies decided that more than nine holes of golf on Tuesday was not in the cards.
“I would say (he was building momentum),” Lakeside coach Drew Willems said. On No. 7, when he pared it, he was really excited because that was the first time he pared it. He had bogeyed it every other time. It was cold and it started to rain. As you could see by the scores, it was tough to score.”
They told him his day was done, though Division 1 had not teed off yet and managed to get a full 18 holes in after the Division 2 and 3 cards had been finalized, Heckmann’s pursuit of a repeat was officially over.
He wasn’t mad at the WIAA. He wasn’t mad at the course. He was a little bit disappointed, but mostly unfazed.
The reaction was true to his character, as Willems sees it.
“He’s really been a good leader for us,” Willems said. “Showing the way for the other boys in the classroom, also on the course and how to be a good gentlemen at all times whether things are going good or when times are bad. You still be a gentlemen.”
So, after the repeat and comeback that never was, the second of four children went golfing with his youngest sister, Ava, who will be a freshman next year, older brother, Isaac, who is in his second year at the University of Wisconsin, and his father, Matt.
“I love golfing. When my youngest sister said she was going, I was totally in,” Lukas Heckmann said. “I only got through 16 holes, but I was one under and kind of golfing the same way: hitting the ball well, but not making putts.”
The strange thing about the putting for Heckmann, who said he’s putting well but not making putts, is that it makes perfect sense. At the state meet, Heckmann was struggling to gauge the speed of the greens and struggling to read the angles. He said he was hitting his putts exactly how he wanted, but they weren’t going in.
“I guess you’d rather have it that way than the other way around,” he said. “If it’s the other way around, I think that would be more frustrating. I’m hitting the putts I want, but they aren’t the right putts.”
When he goes to the University of New Orleans in the fall, he’ll have a chance to correct the struggle and improve his touch on the greens.
“He’s a golf junkie at heart,” Willems said. “He loves competition and loves to be on the course.”
Until he gets a chance to correct his strokes on the green, the Middleton resident will enjoy golfing with family and supportively helping shepherd his younger sisters Ava and Maya, a junior-to-be who qualified for state as a sophomore, into state-caliber golfers.
“We’ll see,” Lukas said. “I wouldn’t want to put too much pressure on (Ava), we’re just trying to make sure she enjoys golfing and has fun.”
Nothing too serious, it’s just golf.
Editor’s note: A story in the June 6 edition of the Lake Mills Leader about Lukas Heckmann’s first day at the WIAA Division 2 state golf meet did not include a byline indicating the author of the story was Adams Publishing Group reporter Nate Gilbert.