Kafar matches career best, misses out by one stroke

Members of the Lake Geneva Badger and Waterford girls golf squads pose with state qualifiers Holly Murphy of Badger (fifth from left) and Waterford’s Aubrie Torhorst (sixth from right) at Edgewood Golf Club in Big Bend Tuesday. (Mike Ramczyk/SLN)

 

By Mike Ramczyk

sports@southernlakesnewspapers.com

TOWN OF VERNON – The waiting game was a doozy Tuesday afternoon at Edgewood Golf Club.

Golfers Aubrie Torhorst of Waterford, Kya Kafar of Burlington, Jackie Bianchi of Union Grove and Holly Murphy of Lake Geneva Badger patiently, but nervously, waited under an enclosed area with picnic tables, eyes glued to the posterboard scorecards hanging on the wooden wall.

The Southern Lakes Conference contingent was finished early and needed to wait for scores to trickle in from the WIAA Division 1 Sectional favorites Milton and Kettle Moraine, along with host Mukwonago and Janesville Parker.

As the individual leaders were announced in front of a packed crowd of athletes, Murphy jumped for joy and was mauled by teammates, as her 79 yielded the first trip to state golf in school history.

Overcome with emotion, Torhorst fought back tears with a million-dollar smile.

Her 83 sent the Waterford junior to the state tournament as the third extra qualifier, and she had trouble finding the words to describe her happiness.

“It’s a sigh of relief after all this emotion,” Torhorst said. “I worked so hard over the summer, and all the hardships I had…this summer, my scores were awful. I really struggled. I got a swing coach, and it took my natural abilities and perfected them.”

“I still have a lot of work to do on my swing, but I am just so excited. I don’t really know what to say.”

Janesville Parker’s Sophia Dooman also shot an 83 and took the third qualifying spot.

Torhorst predicted it would be a close call, and it couldn’t have been more of a nail-biter.

While Milton and Kettle Moraine were the top two teams and their girls automatically advance to state, three extra qualifiers also move on, and the SLC dominated the fringe scores.

Burlington’s Kya Kafar fired an 84, tying her career best behind three birdies and six 1-putts. Union Grove’s Jackie Bianchi also had an 84, and teammate Megan Koch added an 85.

 

Sectional addition snaps Grove streak

The addition to the Mukwonago Sectional of Kettle Moraine meant new, difficult competition for Union Grove, which qualified for state as a team the past two seasons.

Though the Broncos’ streak was snapped, Bianchi led the charge with a solid day, highlighted by her second career eagle.

“I think it’s been a great year for the team,” Koch said. “We lost Sarah (Schuster) last year, so I think people felt like we weren’t going to be up there. We showed people we’re a solid team.”

Union Grove’s 356 was good for third, ahead of Waterford’s 373.

Milton won the sectional with a 335, and Kettle Moraine fired a 336.

For Bianchi, who sank a 20-foot putt to obtain her eagle, it was a day of mistakes.

“I made some dumb mistakes, and my driver didn’t help me at all,” she said. “It was a tough, dry course.”

Murphy, a sophomore, made history for the Badgers, one week after winning conference with an 83.

After shooting a 42 on the front-9, the tall, lanky Murphy dominated the back-9, firing a 37 with three 3’s. She even struck the flag on her appoach on No. 17, sticking the ball inches from the cup.

“It started out rough, but I pulled it out,” Murphy said. “I knew I wasn’t going to let myself go, because last year I played so bad, it wasn’t going to happen two years in a row.”

Kafar, a senior, has enjoyed her two best 18-hole rounds, both 84’s, during the last two meets.

Burlington head coach Wayne Herrick said Kafar has been working tirelessly on her short game, and it paid off Tuesday.

Kafar finished off three birdies and only needed one putt on six holes, however, scores of 7, 6 and 6 ultimately spoiled her state dreams.

“There were some long putts I got lucky on,” she said. “I had a few putts that really killed my score. They were putts that I should make. It makes me so mad to think about.”

“I’ve been focusing better and experience helps. Usually when I have a bad hole, I can bounce back. My second shot is usually my strongest shot, and par-5’s were good because I can use my power drives. The short game is all about concentration and getting used to reading the green.”

Wilmot’s Keegan Destree shot a 99.

For Kafar, missing out on state isn’t the end of the world, as she didn’t have high expectations.

“I’m not disappointed because I’m happy with what I accomplished,” she said. “I’m glad for the people that made it, but I’m a little sad.”

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