Grace Suter is only golfer to break par and leads by three shots after opening-round 3-under 69 at Wisconsin State Women’s Open – Wisconsin.Golf

Posted: June 17, 2021 at 1:52 am

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GREEN LAKE The last time Grace Suter played a tournament round on the Links Course at The Golf Courses of Lawsonia, she shot an 87.

That was two years ago. Suffice it to say shes a different golfer today.

Suter, 18, fired a 3-under 69 and was the only player in the field to break par Tuesday in the first round of the Sentry Wisconsin State Womens Open. She finished off the round with birdies on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 and takes a three-shot lead over Mia Seeman of Milton into the final round Wednesday.

Four golfers shot 1-over 73s and were tied for third: Ashley Kulka of Beaver Dam, Isabelle Maleki of Mequon, Gabby Tremblay of Hayward and Jessica Guiser of Hartland.

Suter graduated from Oconomowoc High School in January 2020, months ahead of her graduating class, and headed to Florida to refine her game at the Mike Bender Golf Academy.

I learned a lot, actually, she said. I really improved down there, just being able to play through the winter, being able to have great coaches. They taught me a lot about my game, about my personality and how I could flourish with what I have to work with. They really helped me with my game and a lot with my short game.

Between her ongoing work with Bender, local swing coach David Roesch and Florida-based sports psychologist Bill Nelson, she has made remarkable strides.

Really, to be honest, all of it, she said when asked which parts of her game were most improved. I had the ability to hit the ball well, but I couldnt really do it on the golf course during tournaments. Id get too nervous. So, Im working on that still today. But I think being able to execute what Im trying to do on the golf course is the biggest thing thats helped me.

Suter, who will start her freshman year at Loyola University Chicago this fall, made the turn in 35, with birdies on Nos. 2 and 7 and a bogey on No. 6. She bogeyed the difficult par-3 10th hole to fall back to even-par but finished with the three-birdie flourish.

She was so deep into the zone that she had a hard time recalling the shots she hit on those last few holes, or the length of her putts.

Honestly, I dont even know, she said. I was just kind of in this zone. Ive been working a lot on having a really good mental attitude with my coach and it really paid off. Just staying in the moment and hitting every shot like its the only shot youll hit on the golf course.

On 17, I made a 30-footer, which was the longest (birdie putt). The others were all 15 feet or shorter.

Seeman, who will be a senior at South Dakota State but has two years of eligibility left, bogeyed the first hole but made birdies on Nos. 3 and 6 to turn in 35. She bogeyed all three par-3s on the back nine but birdied two of the three par-5s, including No. 18, to get in at even-par.

I hit a few pulls with my iron shots, she said, explaining how she missed the green on the par-3 10th, 12th and 14th holes. I was in some tough spots in bunkers and then I got some tough lies in the rough. All my misses with my irons were left.

Kulka was tied for the lead at 2-under through 11 holes, but bogeyed No. 13 and then finished with a pair of three-putt bogeys on Nos. 17 and 18.

Its not exactly how I wanted to finish, she said.

Kulka completed her fourth year at UW-Green Bay this spring, but because of COVID has two years of eligibility remaining she redshirted after having ankle surgery her sophomore year and plans to use both of them. Her game plan for the final round is to try to repeat what she did Tuesday and make a few more putts.

I think I just want to play the same golf that I played today, she said. Ill have opportunities, Im sure, to make a birdie here and there. Hopefully, I can get those. I just really want to play the same solid golf.

Just before the start of the tournament, the Wisconsin PGA Section announced a three-year agreement with Sentry Insurance to be the title sponsor of the State Womens Open.

Thats awesome, said Carolyn Barnett-Howe of Appleton, one of six professionals in the 67-player field. I think thats really nice of Sentry to do that. Its awesome for golf.

The low professional, no matter where she finishes, will earn $2,000, with the second-low pro earning $1,000.

Barnett-Howe, a four-time State Womens Open champion (1998, 2005, 2006, 2007), is the only former champion in the field this year. She opened with a 79.

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Grace Suter is only golfer to break par and leads by three shots after opening-round 3-under 69 at Wisconsin State Women's Open - Wisconsin.Golf

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June 17th, 2021 at 1:52 am

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