Boys head golf coach Kirk Wieland had no idea what to expect from his Milton High School boys golf team this year, but after the Red Hawks’ first action of the season, he now has a better idea.
Milton started its season on Monday, April 8, as the Red Hawks finished fifth out of 12 teams with 367 strokes at the Stoughton Invitational held at the Stoughton Country Club.
“It’s probably a pretty good starting point,” Wieland said.
Verona finished first overall with 330 strokes.
Milton was 11 strokes behind Monona Grove for the fourth-place spot.
Senior AJ Gray finished ninth out of 61 golfers with a score of 84. Gray fired a 42 on the front nine, and a 42 as well on the back nine.
“AJ didn’t have his best day, but he’s going to be our undisputed leader,” Wieland said. “He’s going to be a really strong player for us the rest of the year. He’s going to rebound and shoot in the 70s all year long.”
Freshman Zack Bothum did not finish too far behind Gray. Bothum fired an 88, which was good for 15th overall.
“Zack played really well,” Wieland said. “Sometimes the score doesn’t tell the whole story. He had two really tough holes.”
Bothum recorded nine strokes on the 17th hole and a seven on the final hole of the front nine.
Bothum just about matched Gray on the first nine holes with a 43. He ended with a 45 on the back nine.
Sophomore Brayden Kline ended with the third-lowest score for Milton, collecting 95 strokes.
“Brayden struggled a little bit, he’s better than the 95,” Wieland said.
Senior Alec Revels rounded out the Red Hawk scoring with 100 strokes.
Junior Cole Zagelow (109) started the day with a 62 on the front nine, but rebounded nicely on the back nine with a 47.
“It was Alec and Cole’s first varsity competitions,” Wieland said. “They both improved throughout.”
Going forward, Wieland hopes his young team does not lose too much confidence.
“Golf is a sport where you shoot 100 one day and a 94 the next day, that’s a significant improvement. Although the score doesn’t look good, the kids have to understand that they’re getting better,” Wieland said. “As long as they can stay tough and just keep fighting and just keep doing what they know to do, their scores will drop.”
Milton will compete in another invitational on Thursday, April 11, at The Oaks Golf Course in Cottage Grove. The invitational is set to start at 8 a.m.