It was par for the course for Sophie Pokela.
The Tomah High School sophomore played Hiawatha Golf Course to a draw and ran away with medalist honors at the Tomah Tuneup Monday. Her even-par score of 72 led the Timberwolves to first place in the team standings.
“I’m very proud of all varsity members consistently continuing to bring their scores down from previous matches. It takes a team effort, and I told my girls are stepping up to the challenge,” said Tomah girls golf coach Tonya Gnewikow.
Pokela won medalist honors by eight strokes and posted the lowest 18-hole score by a Tomah player in Gnewikow’s 15 years as head coach. The previous lows were a 74 shot by Dana Wagner at Trempealeau Mountain in 2012 and 76s shot by Danielle Ducklow at Hiawatha and University Ridge in 2014.
Pokela generated momentum with back-to-back birdies on holes 3 and 4 (both par 4s) and capped her round with a birdie on the 18th.
“I’ve never had an athlete shoot an entire 18 holes even par,” Gnewikow said.
Gnewikow described Pokela as “steady, even-keeled and did not show emotion and finished what she needed to do. She had 28 putts, which definitely helps bring that score down.”
As good as Pokela was, the Timberwolves weren’t a one-golfer show. They were the only team that didn’t have a golfer hit triple digits, and Tomah’s team score of 329 matched the best that Gnewikow has ever coached.
Tomah freshman Brin Neumann shot an 83 and finished third overall. She was followed by teammates Sarah Peterson (85), Amelia Zingler (89) and Hannah Zhu (95).
Neumann, Zingler and Zhu were all flight champions.
Tomah also got a solid effort from its top junior varsity squad, which scored lower than eight varsity teams.
Jayda Zhu led the jayvees with a varsity-like score of 89. She was followed by Hope Carlson (101), Madeline Ewers (102), Emma Van Treese (104) and Amelia Schanhofer (108).
Tomah had enough golfers for two more junior varsity teams. Of the two other jayvee squads, Allie Kemp posted the lowest score with a 106.
Team scores: Tomah 329, Stevens Point 338, Tomah JV 396, Wisconsin Rapids 420, Holmen 431, Black River Falls 441, Sparta 443, Stevens Point JV 450, Holmen JV 451, Sparta JV 453, Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau 463, Tomah JV 492, Marshfield 495, La Crosse Aquinas 506, Westby/Viroqua 507, Tomah JV 554.
The Timberwolves head to Stevens Point Country Club Friday, Aug. 23 for a multi-team invitational and compete in the Holmen Invitational Tuesday, Aug. 27.
Tomah Journal editor Steve Rundio can be reached at email@example.com.