Kaylor Steger and Ricky Kuiper showed Tuesday how deep the high school golf talent pool is in Racine County.
Steger, a Sturtevant resident who plays for Oak Creek High School, shot a final-round 2-over-par 74 and won the Division 1 individual title at the WIAA State Tournament at University Ridge Golf Course in Verona.
Steger finished with a two-day total of 142 and a one-shot victory over Kuiper. The Case junior shot a final-round 71 and finished at 143, tied with Bennett Hutson of Onalaska for second place.
In the Division 1 team competition, Waterford, which was tied for third after the first round, shot 321 to finish seventh with 634, and Case had 334 and was 11th with 660.
In Division 3, St. Catherine’s and Prairie flip-flopped positions on the leaderboard, with the Angels shooting 321 to move up from fourth to third with 651. The Hawks shot a 333 to slip into fourth with 659.
Steger, who shot a 4-under 68 Monday, shot 40 on the front nine Tuesday, then had another bogey on the par-4 10th hole before good fortune intervened. On the par-5 11th hole, he chipped in for par from just off the green, something he’s done on that hole before.
“For whatever reason, I always hole a long putt or chip in on 11,” Steger said. “That got me some motivation.”
After that, Steger caught fire. He made a 25-foot birdie putt on the par-3 12th hole, made a three-foot birdie on the par-4 13th and made a 12-foot, downhill-breaking birdie on the par-4 14th.
After a par on the 15th hole, he hit the flagstick on his second shot from 190 yards on the par-5 16th hole and got up and down from off the green for another birdie.
He had a three-putt bogey on the par-4 18th hole and thought he might have blown his chance to win.
Then came the waiting game. To pass the time, he watched some players come in, including Kuiper. When the last player with a chance to catch him, Charlie Maleki of Mequon Homestead, came in and made par, the title was Steger’s.
“It was very stressful,” Steger said of his long wait. “I didn’t hear a big cheer when Maleki came in and that’s when I knew I had it.
“I had one goal for this school year and it was (winning) state.”
Kuiper, who opened with an even-par 72 Monday, started on the back nine Tuesday and made birdies on 13 and 15 for a 34. Coming around the turn to play the front nine, Kuiper made bogey on the par-4 first hole, then added another bogey on the par-4 sixth hole.
Needing to finish his final three holes at 2-under to tie Steger and force a playoff, he missed a six-foot birdie putt on the par-4 seventh, but made a 15-foot uphill birdie putt on the par-3 eighth. Kuiper parred No. 9 to just come up short.
“I started off really well and had a solid first nine,” Kuiper said. “I didn’t know I needed a birdie on (No. 8) and after I made birdie, my coach (Jerry Kupper) said what I needed to do on the last hole.
“It was very close and I’m very satisfied. It was fun.”
Kuiper’s teammate, junior Eric Van Tubbergen, tied for 16th at 152.
Senior Zach Nash led Waterford, totaling 154 to tie for 22nd. Burlington’s representative, junior Brian Dankle, shot 82 for a total of 156, tied for 29th.
In Division 3, St. Catherine’s improved by nine shots over Monday and finished just one shot behind Osseo-Fairchild for second place.
“We had a great tournament,” Angels coach Pete Eitel said. “I was a little disappointed we lost (second place) by one shot, but it was a neat experience.”
St. Catherine’s was led by Adam Gabbey, who shot 79 Tuesday to finish 10th with 156. Prairie’s top player was senior Connor Cain, who shot 81 to finish 13th with 159.
Junior Jeff Stemper of Catholic Central shot 79 and tied for 16th with 164.