Write-Up Provided By: Rick Pledl
Tess Hackworthy extended her stranglehold on the Wisconsin State Women’s Open Championship Wednesday at Janesville CC with a four-stroke victory. That makes three straight State Women’s Open titles for Hackworthy, who lives in Madison and plays on the University of Wisconsin women’s golf team.
This time Hackworthy simply played the steadiest golf in the field, staying away from big numbers and concentrating hard on her short game.
“It was a tough day out there today,” Hackworthy said afterward. “To be able to continue to grind and pull it off will be good for my confidence.”
Hackworthy recorded the only under-par round in the tournament – Janesville played to a par-73 this week – with a 2-under-par 71 in the first round on Tuesday. Wednesday she recoded one birdie and four bogeys to shoot 76 and finish at 147.
Mikayla Hauck, a 19-year old from Cottage Grove who plays at Eastern Kentucky, finished second with scores of 73-78-151. Rebecca Klongland of Stoughton, Hackworthy’s former teammate at UW, tied for third place at 152 with Jenna Peters of Kohler, who was also the low professional.
While Hackworthy recorded nothing worse than bogey in the final round, her final-round playing partners Hauck and Klongland found big numbers lurking. Hauck recorded three double bogeys on the front nine before righting the ship, and Klongland had a double and triple on the back nine.
“I made a lot of silly mistakes today, which added up out there,” Klongland said.
Klongland suffered a painful triple bogey when her tee shot on the par-4 17th hole sailed left and ended up in a downhill lie near the 18th tee. It took her three more shots to reach the putting surface, and she three-putted from there.
Hackworthy admitted she had her troubles in the final round, but she was proud of the way she handled them on a course such as Janesville CC, which has a reputation for super-fast greens.
“I put myself above the hole a couple times, but I grinded out there and I’m pleased with the way I finished,” she said. “You do not want to be on the wrong side of the hole, because you really have to play it safe. You can’t really give birdie putts a run when they are above the hole, which I had on 17 there.”
On No. 17, Hackworthy’s approach ended up about 15 feet behind and above the hole. From there she three-putted for bogey.
Hackworthy also hit a couple loose wedge shots into the greens on Nos. 13 and 14, which also led to bogeys, but she took responsibility for the latter.
“On 14, my caddie wanted me to aim a little left of the pin and I wanted to go right at it,” she said with a laugh. “I should have listened to my caddie. So I just missed it to the right. That was a tough up and down.”
It should be mentioned that the aforementioned caddie is Tess Hackworthy’s father, Dave Hackworthy, and he helped his daughter immensely in the final round. Dave Hackworthy was seen Wednesday aligning Tess before her drives and approaches and even plumb-bobbing her putts.
“He means the world to me – and not just in golf,” she said. “He keeps me stable mentally out on the course, because, like I said, it was kind of a grind out there today. He really kept me cool if I missed a shot or something.”
With her latest win, Hackworthy joins Carolyn Barnett-Howe (2005-07) and Malinda Johnson (2008-10) as the only players to win the Wisconsin State Women’s Open three straight years.
When asked to explain her success over the last three years, Hackworthy suggested it might have something to do with look and feel of the courses. The Hackworthys are members at Maple Bluff CC, an old parkland-style golf course with narrow fairways and small putting surfaces. In other words, her home course is similar to the venues where she has won the State Women’s Open the last three seasons – Janesville CC this year, Racine CC last year and Mascoutin GC in 2016.
“The last three courses have just reminded of home, so I think I feel comfortable with tighter fairways and smaller greens,” Hackworthy said. “And I’ve been able to sleep at home, too, with all three places.”
Klongland agreed, saying: “The courses we played the last three years have been pretty similar,” she said. “But Tess’ game is really steady. She doesn’t make many mistakes – it’s just fairways and greens, and that’s what it takes to win here.”
The Wisconsin PGA would like to thank the Vince Suter Group of Morgan Stanley and TaylorMade-adidas Golf for their support of the 2018 Wisconsin State Open Series. With their help the event once again provided all the participants with a great two days.
Also deserving of a big thank you is the staff and membership at our host site, Janesville Country Club. The club has always been a gracious host of Wisconsin PGA events and 2018 marked the second straight year the club has hosted a WPGA major championship.