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Badger battles fierce course, takes fifth

STATE GOLF University Ridge, Madison, par 144 TEAM SCORES 1, Arrowhead 618; 2, Milwaukee Marquette 621; 3, Middleton 622; 4, Kettle Moraine 644; 5, Badger 648; 6, Green Bay Preble 649; 7, Eau Claire Memorial 651; 8, Green Bay Southwest 655; 9, Kaukauna 658; 10, Wilmot 660; 11, Fond du Lac 669; 12 (tie) Germantown, Sun Prairie 673; 14, Madison Memorial 675; 15, Racine Horlick 676; 16, Superior 679. BADGER SCORES 1 (tie), Alex Gaugert (81-79), Ryan Garske (82-78) 160; 3 (tie) Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz (83-81), Chad Henry (81-83) 164; 5, Tyler Cuculi (84-84) 168.
June 16, 2010 | 08:47 AM
Madison — It's become like second nature to this bunch.

For the last three years, the Badger boys golf squad has competed in the state tournament at University Ridge Golf Course and have fared just fine in the process.

On June 8 and 9, rainy, windy and cold conditions provided plenty of resistance, but Badger persevered for a fifth-place team finish with a score of 648. Remarkably, the squad's best day of the two was June 9, when rotten weather made for a long course. Coach David DeShambo said his team's score from last year (612) would've beat this year's winner, Arrowhead, who shot a 618.

"The course played a lot tougher," DeShambo said. "The weather was bad, and the course was wet. It played very long. All the teams had high scores. I'm pleased with fifth, that was our goal coming in, top five. It was a good showing. You would always like to perform a little better at state, but that's the way the game goes."

Badger recovered from a first-day 627 to shoot a 621 on the murky fairways and greens. Overall, the team showed plenty of consistency, with the lowest score at 160 and the highest score only 164 for both days.

Like they have all season, senior Alex Gaugert (81-79) and junior Ryan Garske (82-78) led the way for the local team, while juniors Chad Henry (81-83) and Brendan Gruenwald-Schmitz (83-81) both finished with strong scores. Senior Tyler Cuculi just missed the cut with a 168 (84-84).

DeShambo said it was hard to catch up to the top three teams, Arrowhead, Marquette (621) and Middleton (622).

"We would've needed two guys to have great days to compete for the title," he said. "We needed a couple guys in the 70s both days."

Gaugert suffered two bad holes each day. One day, it was hole 11, and the next it was hole nine.

"It's tough to come back from a rough hole in the middle of your round," DeShambo said. "It takes the wind out of your sails."

DeShambo expected the solid showing from Garske.

"Ryan has been consistent all year," DeShambo said. "That's what Ryan shoots."

DeShambo also was pleased with the solid scores from Henry, Gruenwald-Schmitz and Cuculi.

For the season, DeShambo didn't have any complaints.

"We achieved all of our goals," he said. "We won conference, won sectionals and placed in the top five at state. It was a successful year. The guys worked hard and played their best golf near the end of the season. Their confidence was up, especially with their swings."

Badger will lose Gaugert and Cuculi to graduation. Gaugert will step up a level to the Big Ten, where he will play golf next year for the University of Minnesota. DeShambo will miss their leadership.

"The biggest thing leaving is the experience and leadership from Alex and Tyler," he said. "They were here for four years each, and they've done a great job of mentoring. You can never really replace experience."

Gruenwald-Schmitz, Henry and Garske will highlight a possible team of five experienced seniors next year.

"Ryan, Chad and Brendan have been here (on varsity) for two years each," DeShambo said. "Also, juniors Chris Georgalas and Michael Schlehlein have been very good junior varsity players. With those five, we should still be pretty good. Next year should be fun."

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