A bad hole can change anyone’s mindset on the golf course.
Richmond-Burton graduate Mackenzie Hahn knows the feeling, and she’s worked to change bad holes into good outcomes as a member of the University of Wisconsin women’s golf team.
“I’m more mentally tough,” said Hahn, who will be a junior this fall. “If I get a big number, I can shake it off and come back with a birdie or a par. It’s a challenge, though, because it always creeps back into your mind a little bit.”
Hahn put her mental toughness and improved game on display last month at the Illinois State Women’s Amateur Championship in Springfield.
First, she earned co-medalist honors in the qualifying round, shooting a 2-over-par 74 at Illini County Club.
She won two match-play rounds to advance to the state semifinals, where she lost, 5 and 4, to eventual champion Sarah Arnold of St. Charles, who will be a freshman at Western Kentucky this fall.
“It was definitely a success,” Hahn said. “I was hitting it pretty well against some pretty good girls in that tournament. To tie for medalist and win my first two match-play rounds, that gets the confidence up a little bit. I played really well in the first two matches.”
Her opening match was a 5 and 4 victory against Nicole Hansen, who will be a sophomore at Nebraska this fall. To advance to the semifinals, Hahn defeated Illinois Wesleyan University senior Jordan Koehler, 2-up.
Hahn said she feels most comfortable with her irons and driving this summer after a 76.83 scoring average last season for the Badgers. Her sophomore season included a career-low round of 74 on three occasions.
“I was able to play in a few tournaments in the fall and in the spring,” Hahn said. “I went to Arizona for a tournament. It’s definitely a lot of fun being with the team out there.”
This fall, she plans on being a regular contributor to the Badgers’ success.
“I want to be able to make it in the top five to compete with the team and help them out,” she said.
Beginning Monday, Hahn will play her final tournament of the summer, the 119th Women’s Western Golf Association Amateur Championship at Long Grove’s Royal Melbourne Country Club. She is one of 120 entrants from around the U.S. and a dozen foreign countries. The field includes reigning Northwest Herald Girls Golfer of the Year Molly Lyne, who plays for the Crystal Lake Central co-op team.
The tournament will feature 36 holes of stroke play, then the field will be cut to 32 for match play.
For Hahn, her maturity showed through last week when she shot an 81 at the Women’s U.S. Amateur qualifying event at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison.
“I had a few bad holes that hurt me,” she said. “But after those, I thought I hit it pretty well.”
With a friend caddying for her, Hahn said putting the bad holes aside became much easier.
“In years past, I’d still be mad [on the next hole] and maybe make another bogey,” she said. “I tried to talk [to my caddy] about other things to get my mind off of it.”
So what topics take away the string of tough holes?
“Anything but golf,” she joked. “We made jokes and got a little laughter going.”
Miller competes at training camp: After a strong sophomore season at Louisville, McHenry West grad Bobby Miller took part in a training camp for the USA Baseball Collegiate National Team in Cary, North Carolina.
He was one of four Louisville players to take part in the camp, which featured a Red-Blue Series.
Miller pitched three innings in the series, allowing two runs.
“I’m really proud of how our guys competed and represented the University of Louisville,” said Cardinals head coach Dan McDonnell, who is serving as manager of the Collegiate National Team.
Miller helped his team advance to the College World Series this spring, posting a 7-1 record and a 3.83 ERA while striking out 86 batters in
• Barry Bottino writes a weekly column about local college athletes for the Northwest Herald. Write to him at email@example.com and follow @BarryOnCampus on Twitter.