Baranczyk & Beckman Win Junior Championship

The largest junior golf tournament in the state of Wisconsin was held in Milwaukee this week, and although the Wisconsin PGA Junior Championship welcomes youths up to 18 years old, the two medalists fall well short of that number.

            Overall girls champion Jo Baranczyk of Green Bay is 16 years old, while boys champ Jacob Beckman won’t hit that number until August. Both are members of the high school class of 2021, but they played like veterans this week in Milwaukee.

            One more thing they have in common: They stayed away from big numbers in the WPGA Junior.

            “That’s kind of been my main goal moving into the season is to stay away from high numbers and I did that both days here,” said Beckman, who did put up one double bogey during the tournament. “I also made six birdies yesterday and four birdies today – so make some birdies and stay away from the big numbers and don’t get down on yourself.”

            Beckman shot par both days (71-72) to finish at 143 for the tournament for a one-stroke victory on the overall boys competition.

            All girls in the field and the Boys 13-15 age division played Brown Deer Park GC on Wednesday and Dretzka Park GC on Thursday. Players in the Boys 16-18 division, including Beckman, played the courses in the opposite combination, and the champion thinks he caught a break.

“I think I got the benefit of the doubt,” Beckman said. “I think Brown Deer played a little easier yesterday than it did today, but I played really good golf.”

Beckman had to finish strong to stay ahead of fast-closing Jack Lutze of Brookfield, who opened with a 75 at Dretzka and closed with a 69 at Brown Deer to finish at 144. Jamozzy Skenadore of DePere finished third overall with scores of 74-71–145.

Baranczyk also avoided big numbers on her way to girls medalist honors, but that doesn’t mean she stayed out of trouble. Baranczyk was, by her own admission, “all over the place” in Thursday afternoon’s closing round at Dretzka, but she scrambled her way to a manageable 2-over 74 to go with her opening 71. She finished at 145 for an eight-stroke win.

“My game wasn’t that steady on the back nine today but I was able to make a few putts, so that was a good feeling,” Baranczyk said. “The par-5s are kind of short out here, and that’s usually to my advantage, but my driver (play) wasn’t letting me go for those par-5s in two. So a couple of those I was able to make par from not very good angles.”

Cassandra Psuik of Greenfield finished second, shooting 80-73–153, and Jessica Guiser of Hartland (80-74) and Mallory Swartz of Franklin (76-78) tied for third at 154.

Wisconsin PGA Junior champions traditionally earn spots in the national PGA Junior, which will be held in Connecticut this summer, so Beckman earned a spot in the championship Thursday.

Beckman, who was born in Boston and lived in New Jersey for eight years, said playing back home would be a big deal for him.

“It’s really special to win this,” he said. “To be able to go out to the East Coast and play that close to home – it’s just awesome. I’m so excited to go and represent Wisconsin in the national event.”

Berths are also given to the boys and girls champions at the Lake Arrowhead Invitational, which took place in Nekoosa last week. Since Baranczyk also won the girls title at Lake Arrowhead, the girls runner-up in Milwaukee gets the national invite. That girl is Psuik.

            Piercen Hunt of Hartland won the boys championship last week at Lake Arrowhead, so he joins Baranczyk, Beckman and Psuik as national qualifiers from Wisconsin.

            The boys and girls PGA Junior Championships will both be held at Keney Park GC in Hartford, Conn., but they will be contested separately. The girls championship is scheduled for July 9-12. The Boys championship is scheduled for July 30 through Aug. 2.

The championships will both be 72 holes of stroke play and have 144-player fields.

            WPGA Junior champions are also recognized in age divisions. Beckman also won the Boys 13-15 age group by a healthy 10 strokes. Ezekiel Boos of Waukesha (78-75–153) was second, and William Hemauer (81-78) and Hayden LeMonds (75-84), both residents of Wauwatosa, tied for third at 159.

            Lutze won the Boys 16-18 division, followed by Jamozzy Skenadore. There was a three-way tie for third at 146 among Zak Kulka of Beaver Dam (76-70), Benjamin Pausha of Delafield (75-71) and Austin Erickson of Sparta (73-73).

            Psuik won the Girls 13-15 age group, followed by Guiser. Skye Two Hawks Skenadore of DePere (80-78) and Sarah Balding of Brookfield (77-81) tied for third at 158.

            The Girls 16-18 division was won by Baranczyk, and Swartz finished second. Caylie Kotlowski of Stoughton (82-74) and Rachel Kauflin of Wauwatosa tied for third at 156.