As she walked onto the tee box for the final hole of the final round of her final season of high school golf, Mia Seeman hoped to wrap up that 18th hole with an exclamation point.
A par? OK. A birdie? Even better. But a snowman?
Fortunately for the Milton senior, it was a golden snowman.
Even with a quadruple-bogey 8 on her final hole, Seeman still wound up two strokes ahead of Wales Kettle Moraine senior Abby Cavaiani atop the leaderboard of the WIAA Division 1 state tournament at University Ridge Golf Course.
Seeman finished Tuesday’s round with a 74 for a two-day total of 145 in the 36-hole tournament.
Cavaiani earned runner-up honors, shooting 3-over 75 to finish at 3-over 147. Hartland Arrowhead junior Emily Lauterbach, the defending state champion, shot 76 to finish third at 148 and lead the Warhawks to a runaway repeat in the team race.
The final hole didn’t turn Seeman’s championship hopes into a sequel of the movie “Tin Cup” because Seeman entered it with a six-stroke lead over the rest of the field.
“I wish I’d hit my hybrid (metal wood) off the tee instead of being greedy, kind of, and hitting my driver,” Seeman said. “I wanted to break 70, or at least break par. I almost did. And then …”
And then she sliced her drive right into the woods, losing the ball. Starting over, she was able to keep the situation to a nightmare and not a disaster, all the while thanking the rainy heavens for the five birdies she had scored earlier Tuesday.
“I was nervous on the first tee, but on the 18th I was super nervous — more nervous than I’d ever been in my life,” the South Dakota State recruit said.
The nerves didn’t show in the early going. After starting with a par on No. 1, she made birdies on the par-5 second hole and the par-3 third. Next came two consecutive bogeys, but she closed out the front nine with birdies on the par-3 eighth and par-5 ninth.
“I was 3 under on the (four) par-5 holes on Monday, and 3 under again today,” Seeman said. “I decided to just play them like par-4 holes.”
As heavy rains and cloudy skies darkened the course, Seeman kept grinding, making six pars, one bogey and a birdie on the par-5 16th. That put her at 3 under for the tournament, with Cavaiani in the clubhouse at 3 over.
Milton also got a 79 from junior Taylor Hakala, despite bogeys on three of her last four holes and a double-bogey 7 on No. 9.
“I put myself in a bad position,” Hakala said.
But all her problems melted away when she watched Seeman’s final putt, accompanied by the rest of her teammates — including Mia’s sister, Claudia.
“When she made that last putt, I saw her and Emily (Lauterbach) start crying and it made me tear up, too, thinking of all the memories we have,” Hakala said.
Tournament favorite Arrowhead left no question in the team race, dodging raindrops to score a 30-over-par 318 for a two-day total of 630. Milton finished second at 657 with a 332; Verona totaled 694 for sixth place and Middleton finished at 700 for eighth.
Middleton senior Payton Hodson closed her career in fine fashion, notching three birdies on her way to a 2-over 74 that matched the best round of the day and vaulted her to a fifth-place tie in the final individual race at 154.
“It was much better today than yesterday,” said Hodson, who sank a long, downhill putt from off the green on No. 9 and went up-and-down from the wet sand on No. 17. “We kind of had a rough day as a team yesterday, but today we came through.”
Verona senior Lauren Shorter shot a 77 to finish at 156, tied for 10th place. Her twin sister, Courtney, struggled to an 86 to finish tied for 18th at 164.
Waunakee junior Sam Soulier shot an 87 to finish at 166, and Monona Grove junior Klairissa O’Reilly-Dye shot an 88 to wind up at 169.
In Division 2, coach Peggy Gierhart’s young Madison Edgewood team was working on one of the day’s biggest surprises, taking a one-stroke lead over La Crosse Aquinas after the first nine holes (the back nine).
But then came that pesky front nine, the one the Crusaders despise so much. It got the best of them, and Aquinas pulled away for a 15-stroke victory in the team chase.
“We were feeling pretty good, but then came the trouble,” Gierhart said. “On (the par-5) No. 6, we went 10-10-9.”
It was as if the afternoon rain turned the bunkers into magnets attracting Edgewood tee shots.
“We (the coaches) were raking so much, our arms were sore,” Gierhart said. “I always say, whichever team can hit out of a bunker at this tournament can win it.”
Edgewood sophomore Grace Welch shot an 86 to finish at 166, alone in fifth place following a third-place finish last year.
Appleton Fox Valley Lutheran senior Erica Priebe won with a pair of 80s.
Still, after missing out on state last year, the Crusaders — a team of two freshmen, two sophomores and a junior — returned for the 19th time in 20 years, finishing second for the third time (along with 13 championships).
“They learned so much, and I think today is going to motivate them to play hard all summer and get back,” Gierhart said.