VERONA — Three double bogeys in a row and Maya Heckmann could be best characterized as confused.
The Lakeside Lutheran sophomore knew she could and should be playing better than six-over par through the first five holes in the second round of the state tournament.
So, she fixed it by simply playing better.
“It’s frustrating because I know I should be doing better, but it’s hard to get past that and forget about it,” Heckmann said. “My coach is always saying, bless and release, which is helpful. She was really helpful, I’m glad she was there with me on both days.”
Heckmann battled through the rest of the day to finish with eight pars and a score of 19 strokes over par-72 to hold on for 12th place at the WIAA Division 2 state golf tournament hosted at University Ridge in Verona. She closed the tournament 36 strokes over par.
Heckmann entered the two-day tournament hoping to finish in the top 20 golfers, but she mostly was just happy to have qualified.
“Yesterday, once I knew I was tied for 11th, I wanted to make it (to the) top 10,” Heckmann said. “Then when I was doing bad, I kind of was just forgetting to enjoy the experience.”
Added coach Kyra Lostetter, “It was amazing. It was a great experience to see one of your golfers at state. You think about how many golfers there are in the state and she was 12th. You’ll take it — absolutely. She had a goal and she far exceeded her goal.”
Heckmann battled her putter throughout the 18-hole round, but her ability consistently hit approach shots on the sidehills of the fairways. In order to successfully approach the green when shooting down the sidehill, Heckmann attempted to keep her swing down and through the ball: easier said than done.
She double-bogeyed the 10th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 18th after beginning her round on the 11th hole. Other golfers in the field struggled with those holes as well as the average was nearly a double bogey on the 10th, 13th and 14th hole.
Appleton Xavier senior Clair Phakamad led the field with a two-day score of 152 to claim the individual championship. Madison Edgewood won the team championship with a total of 659 strokes. The Crusaders had three players in the top five.
Heckmann was able to rely on her driver to help stabilize her score and keep her from dropping any farther down the leaderboard.
“It’s pretty easy for me to hit my driver because it’s the same swing every time,” Heckmann said. “I really like hitting my driver, I’m comfortable with it and more confident hitting it.”
By comparison to her foursome on Tuesday, Heckmann was comfortably in the middle of the fairway as the other golfers searched the various hazards for their tee shots on their final hole of the day.
“I don’t think she went into any of the hazards,” Lostetter said. “That’s so important at this level, at a course like this, to stay in the fairways.”
Now the trick will be continuing to improve in hopes of driving her way farther up the leaderboard.
“(My goal) was going to be top 15 or top 10 (next year), but now I think it will be lower,” Heckmann said. “(The goal) might be top 5, but it’s hard because I don’t know how many seniors are leaving. I need to be more consistent and not get double bogey after double bogey.”
To avoid those, she said she needed to take more time to work on her chipping and putting. To work on that, she has a plan of attack for the upcoming summer.
“I think (summer) will be different with practice because I’ll be able to drive, so that will be big and I’ll be able to practice a lot more,” Heckmann said.
WIAA DIVISION 2 STATE TOURNAMENT
Team scores — Madison Edgewood 659, Appleton Xavier 719, Hayward 780, Arcadia 819, Luxemburg-Casco 841, Maple Northwestern 878.
Top finisher — Phakamad, AX, 78-74-152.
Lakeside Lutheran — Heckmann 87-91-178.
WIAA DIVISION 1 STATE TOURNAMENT
Team scores — Kettle Moraine 651, Middleton 659, Hartland Arrowhead 669, Brookfield Central 682, New Richmond 695, Waunakee 699, Kaukauna 701, Milton 702, Bay Port 726, Onalaska 732, Lake Geneva Badger 735, Cedarburg 739.
Top finisher — Jo Baranczyk, BP, 72-70-142.