The rivalry between the Verona and Middleton boys golf teams took another step Tuesday, May 21, in the WIAA Division 1 Waunakee regional at the Cherokee Country Club in Madison.
Both teams shot 319, but the Wildcats won a first-hole tiebreaker over the Big Eight Conference champion to capture the regional team title.
Not that it will make a difference in the postseason. The top four teams advance to the Division 1 Wisconsin Rapids sectional Tuesday, May 28 at the Ridges Golf Course.
“They are the team we take aim at each year,” coach Jon Rebholz said. “They have set the standard for quality play in the conference.”
Verona finished 8-1 in the Big Eight in the regular season and took second in the conference tournament on Thursday, May 16, at the Evansville Country Club.
Junior Cale Rufenacht shot a 3-over-par 75 to tie Middleton’s Tommy Kriewaldt and Waunakee’s Sean Murphy for first in the Waunakee regional.
“He was very patient,” Rebholz said of Rufenacht. “He’s really starting to show signs of becoming a versatile golfer.”
Rebholz said Rufenacht has the ability to drive the ball a long distance and “he can overpower a golf course.”
Rufenacht had a couple of birdies. Rebholz said Rufenacht took advantage of some par 4s with the wind behind him.
The Wildcats had three of the top 10 golfers to win the regional (319) in a first-hole playoff. Senior Austin Gaby shot a 77 to take fourth. Sophomore Andrew Aune carded a season-low 82 to tie Waunakee’s Joe Guerrera for 10th.
“It came at a really good time,” Rebholz said.
Both sophomore Jake Rebholz and senior Ryan Mirwald finished with 85s. Only the top four scores count in team scoring so just one 85 was scored.
After the first nine holes, the Wildcats were in third.
“It took a lot of mental fortitude to come back,” Rebholz said. “All of them stayed really steady on the back nine.”
Mirwald shot a 3-over-par 75 to finish second in the Big Eight Conference Tournament on Thursday at the Evansville Country Club.
Mirwald was one shot back of individual Big EIght Conference champion Kip Sullivan of Middleton, who shot a 2-over-par 74. The Cardinals had three of the top four golfers and knocked off the Wildcats for the team title 307-323.
“I felt like a top-two showing should be where we were at the conference tournament,” Rebholz said. “My message to the guys was that there are bigger fish to fry as we move into the WIAA playoffs, and that’s where we need to focus our energy.”
Gaby tied Sun Prairie senior Ethan Carrick for eighth with a 79. Rufenacht tied Middleton junior Tommy Kriewaldt for 10th after carding an 80.
Both Jake Rebholz and Aune finished with 89s.
“All five of our guys put birdies on the card throughout their day, and that’s a scoring ability that’s good to see,” Rebholz said.