Warhawks golfers golden once again
Arrowhead boys golf coach Greg Budzien spent time with a chiropractor last week. Then on Tuesday, Budzien was plunked on the head with a golf ball and suffered a large cut.
Warhawks senior standout Matt McIntosh had all sorts of problems with a pesky contact lens Tuesday, leaving him with a bloodshot eye.
As the WIAA Division 1 boys state golf tournament at University Ridge came to an end, Arrowhead was a battered and bruised bunch. But the Warhawks were also state champions again.
Arrowhead rallied on the back nine and won the team title for the fifth time in six
years. The Warhawks shot 611 over the two-day tournament and surged past both Holmen (618) and Marquette (620).
Homestead’s Jordan Niebrugge won the individual championship, shooting an 8-under-par, 136, which tied him for the lowest mark in state history.
“This is absolutely the greatest moment in my sporting life, as an athlete or coach,” Budzien said afterwards. “I couldn’t be more pleased.”
Arrowhead, which has been a team of closers for years now, did it again Tuesday.
The Warhawks began the final day in second place, two strokes behind Holmen and one ahead of Marquette. Arrowhead then struggled on the front nine, as the Hilltoppers took a narrow lead at the turn.
But Arrowhead, which had four golfers with state experience, liked its chances if it could stay close.
“We all kind of figured it would come down to the back nine again, and it did,” Arrowhead junior Connor Thiel said. “I just thought because we’ve been here before, our guys wouldn’t be as nervous.”
That certainly proved to be the case. The Warhawks shot a remarkable 1-over-par, 145 on the back nine, while Holmen shot 154 and Marquette carded a 160.
Thiel, the Warhawks’ No. 4 player, shot a 1-under-par, 35 on the back nine after carding a 43 on the front nine. Thiel made consecutive birdies at No. 12 and 13 and had just one bogey on the back.
“Connor’s back nine stands out to me because he was a man,” Budzien said.
He wasn’t the only one.
Junior John Langhoff shot even-par on the back and had a steady 74 on the day. Senior Matt McIntosh shot 37 on the back and 73 overall.
And senior Matt Ross, the Warhawks’ No. 1 golfer for two years now, posted a 37 on the back after struggling to a 42 on the front.
“I was scared until the end,” McIntosh said. “But we had four guys with state experience, and I thought that was going to be a big help. I think our experience really paid off in the end.”
Ross and McIntosh both finished the tournament at 150, which was good for an 11th place tie. Langhoff carded a 156 and tied for 26th individually.
It was a rewarding championship for the Warhawks, who won four straight titles between 2007-10, then took second last year.
“I’m really proud of this,” said McIntosh, whose team finished behind Middleton in 2011. “Getting back on top was important to everybody.”
Perhaps no one more than their head coach.
The Warhawks’ four-year run as state champs came under former coach Tom Tallmadge. Now, Budzien has a title of his own.
“(Tallmadge) came last year to say, ‘Congratulations Bud, you did something I never did. You took second,’” Budzien said. “So to win this, I guess I get a little bit out of the shadow.”
And the Warhawks once again rule Wisconsin’s prep golfing world.
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