Tuesday was better than Monday for the Tomah High School girls golf team.
The Timberwolves moved up three spots on the second day of the WIAA girls state golf tournament and posted a seventh-place finish among the 12 teams in the Division 1 field.
The Timberwolves were 10th after the first day at University Ridge Golf Course but surged toward the middle of the pack by cutting 30 strokes from their first-day performance and finishing at 708 and just one shot behind sixth-place Bay Port in Division 1. Only three teams scored better on the second day than Tomah.
It was Tomah’s highest finish at a state meet. The Timberwolves were eighth in 2012 and 11th in both 2011 and 2014.
“It wasn’t what we hoped for on the first day, but the second day was a huge confidence boost,” Tomah coach Tonya Gnewikow said.
Brin Neumann cut nine strokes from her first-day performance and shot a nine-over-par 81 on Tuesday. Teammate Sophie Pokela trimmed three strokes from her first round and shot an 84. Both birdied the par-five 11th hole Tuesday and tied for 26th place overall at 27-over 171.
Tomah’s Sarah Peterson shot a 180 with rounds of 94 and 86 to place 41st. Peterson was Tomah’s only senior.
“Sarah had such a positive second day,” Gnewikow said. “She shot better than her average at a state meet.”
Jayda Zhu cut 10 strokes from her first round with a 98 and 88 for 186 that tied for 53rd place. Amelia Zingler was Tomah’s fifth golfer. She finished 70th with a 102-99-201.
Gnewikow said the pin placement and putting were the keys to Tuesday’s improved performance. Neumann had nine fewer putts on Tuesday than Monday.
“We were much better putting and hitting the correct parts of the greens,” Gnewikow said. “We had a lot more three- and four-putts than usual on Monday.”
She also said her team was more relaxed Tuesday.
“They didn’t have that mental pressure of being at the state meet the second day,” Gnewikow said.
Middleton won the Division 1 championship by 13 shots over runner-up Brookfield Central and 14 ahead of third-place Kettle Moraine.
Bay Port’s Jo Baranczyk was the overall medalist with a one-under 149 with rounds of 78 and 71. Brookfield Central’s Sarah Balding was second (150), Cedarburg’s Elise Hoven third (151), Wauatosa East/West’s Rachel Kauflin fourth (152) and Oconomowoc’s Grace Suter and Stoughton’s Myranda Kotlowski tied for fifth (153).
Team scores: Middleton 651, Brookfield Central 664, Kettle Moraine 665, Hartland Arrowhead 685, Waunakee 702, Bay Port 707, Tomah 708, Stevens Point 722, Cedarburg 725, Union Grove 734, Sheboygan North/Sheboygan South 737, Green Preble co-op 785.
Gnewikow said it was a great experience for her girls to play with the top competitors in the state. Pokela was paired with Cedarburg’s Elise Hoven, who was leading the meet through 16 holes Tuesday before finishing third.