The best players on this year’s Wisconsin PGA Junior gathered at The Bog Sunday and Monday for the Morgan Stanley Tour Championship, an invitation-only championship.
Neither Abby Cavaiani nor Brock Hlinak were able to repeat their stellar performances from Sunday’s first round, which left them leading the girls and boys divisions overnight, respectively, but both of them walked away with the victory.For the 17-year-old Cavaiani, who lives in Wales, this tournament went according to her recent form. Cavaiani, who has taken a commanding lead in the junior girls player-of-the-year points race this summer, also won the girls title at the WPGA Junior Championship in June. This time, Cavaiani shot a strong opening round of 73 Sunday at The Bog and followed it up with a 76 on Monday to win the girls competition with a 149 total. Alexis Thomas of Middleton (75-78–153 finished second, and Sarah Busey of Racine made up ground with second-round 74 to finish third at 154. Cavaiani made six bogeys on the front nine and seven overall Monday, but she offset them nicely with three birdies. She closed the book on her pursuers with her final birdie of the day, jarring a 35-foot putt from off the green on the par-4 16th hole. In fact, Cavaiani’s pace on her long putts was exceptional down the stretch, allowing her to save par several times with timely lags to tap-in range. “My speed was pretty good all day,” said Cavaiani, who has one year of school left at Kettle Moraine high school but has already committed to Missouri State. “I think that took some of the stress off me on some of the shorter putts.” Cavaiani said she had a Bible verse going through her head Monday: “You will reap if you do not give up.” And that’s exactly how things ended up. “Today I just told myself not to give up, not to give in,” she said afterward. “Stay in the moment.”
Meantime, Hlinak won the boys division thanks largely to his opening 68 on Sunday, which he called “the best round I ever played in my life.” He held a two-stroke lead over Mason Gardner of Waupaca overnight, but that lead disappeared in a blur of bogeys early Monday. “To get a jump on the field and have a two-shot lead was important, because on the opening nine today I gave some back,” Hlinak said Monday. Hlinak, 16, started on No. 10 Monday in the shotgun-start final round, so The Bog’s back nine was his opening nine. It was a rude awakening, as Hlinak slumped to a 40 over his first nine holes and saw playing partner Jack Blair actually take the lead after their fifth hole of the day. On that hole, the par-5 14th, Hlinak recorded a triple bogey while Blair made birdie for a four-stroke swing. However, that was Blair’s last bird of the day, and he proceeded to shoot 38 on his back nine. Hlinak, who is a student at Kaukauna High School, made four birdies on his back nine, shot 35 and won the boys title by three stokes. He shot 75 Monday to finish at 143. “I just tried to stay calm and keep my head up,” Hlinak said about his rough start and eventual triumph. “The ability to make birdies on the back nine was huge.” Blair (72-74–146) finished second, and Jed Baranczyk of Green Bay was third among boys (73-75–148).
The Tour Championship was added to the WPGA junior schedule last season, but this was the first time the tournament had a title sponsor. Morgan Stanley, who will also sponsor the Wisconsin State Open in August, is that company. The event is a reward for strong play on the WPGA Junior Tour. Exemptions for the Morgan Stanley Tour Championship were given to any players who won an event on the Junior Tour prior to July 24, top performers on the American Family Insurance Championship Players Tour and a few additional invitees.
Click here for complete Morgan Stanley Tour Championship Results