Fast, small greens yield just 11 sub-80 rounds in first 36 holes of Wisconsin Women’s Am at Janesville CC | WWSGA State Amateur

JANESVILLE — Here’s a stat that says all you need to know about how hard Janesville Country Club played in the first two rounds of the Wisconsin Women’s State Amateur Championship on Monday:

Over 36 holes, the 53 players made a total of 68 birdies.

“Yeah, it’s not a lot of birdies,” said Vanessa Ho, a rising junior on the University of Wisconsin women’s golf team. “I had no birdies in my first round.”

She made two on the afternoon, shooting 78-75 and taking a one-stroke lead over Hannah Dunk of Janesville in the final round Tuesday. Ho was 9-over 153. Dunk shot 74-80 on her home course and was at 154. Izzi Stricker of Madison shot 75-80 and was tied for third at 155.

Although Janesville CC measured only 5,907 yards, the course has small greens that rolled at 1 p.m. on the Stimpmeter — and maybe even a bit faster in the afternoon. It was difficult to hold onto the putting surfaces, even with a wedge.

Maggie Leef and Syd Wells, members of the Wisconsin Golf Hall of Fame with hundreds of tournament rounds under their belts, ranked the greens among the fastest and strongest they had ever seen.

“They’re tough,” said Wells, who said she three-putted from four feet on No. 7. “They’re firm and they’re fast and there are spots on these greens you don’t want to be. I think the only other golf course I played close to is Tuckaway (Country Club). And those are big greens. These are small.”

Said Leef: “They’re fast and they’re roly-poly. I don’t think you could find hole locations on these greens that would make it much easier.”

Stricker called the greens “much smaller and much faster” than what she typically sees.

“I’ve played Blackhawk (CC in Madison) a handful of times,” she said. “I’ll compare these greens to them. I don’t play much of this.”

Patience was therefore paramount. With everyone in the field making bogeys – the scoring averages for the two rounds were 86.73 and 87.14 – the players who could make a pair of pars actually moved up the rankings.

“Sure,” Stricker said. “When I come down to myself, I think that I’m in the same boat as everyone else and that we all have to play the same course in the same condition. Pars are like birdies today.”

Ho, a psychology major at UW, returned to her hometown of San Diego last summer but stayed in Madison this summer because she volunteers at UnityPoint Health. This is her first tournament in Wisconsin, other than the collegiate Badger Invitational.

She will tee off in the final triangle with Dunk and Stricker at 12:06 p.m. Tuesday.

“I just have to be patient and know that par is good,” Ho said. “If I have the chance to make birdies, I just have to go for it.”

Dunk, a Milton High School graduate who is headed to UW-Green Bay this fall to play for Phoenix, was in the lead until she bogeyed/double-bogeyed Nos. 11 and 12 in the afternoon round. She also bogeyed Nos. 14, 15 and 16 before making her third birdie of the day on No. 17.

“Definitely the wind made it tougher in the afternoon,” she said. “The wind really picked up as the day went on and made it a lot tougher out there.”

Stricker said she had never before played 36 holes in one day in a tournament, which may have explained the five-shot difference in her score from morning to afternoon.

“It was kind of a mental (hurdle) for me today,” she said. “I’m proud of myself. I played worse in the second round, but I expected that and I’m sure a lot of people feel the same way.”

A cousin caddied for Stricker on Monday, but she hoped to have her mother on the bag Tuesday. Nicki Stricker’s presence could make a difference.

“I just have to be super patient,” Izzi said. “I tend to get ahead of myself sometimes so I have to calm myself down. Having my mom on the bag would help.”

Besides Ho, the only other player to shoot 80 in both rounds was Badgers teammate Chloe Chan of Hong Kong, who shot 78-79 and tied for fourth at 13-over 157.

There were only 11 total scores below 80 for the day. Ho’s second-round 75 was the three-shot low score of the afternoon. Only one player recorded a score below 75 in each round – Dunk, with her 74 in the morning.

“It’s nice to know the course is tough and other people are struggling,” Dunk said. “But it’s also sad when you make a bogey. You just have to move on.”


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A flight

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B Flight

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C Flight

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