Marinette’s Abby Dufrane hits her approach shot during regional competition Oct. 2 at Mid Vallee Golf Course. Dufrane will compete at state Monday and Tuesday. <br><i>EagleHerald/Jody Korch</i>
Marinette’s Abby Dufrane hits her approach shot during regional competition Oct. 2 at Mid Vallee Golf Course. Dufrane will compete at state Monday and Tuesday.
EagleHerald/Jody Korch
MARINETTE - Timing and confidence can go a long way for a golfer.

Three weeks ago, Marinette's Abby Dufrane was off her game, searching for flaws in her golf swing.

Now, she's back to playing at a high level in time for state.

Dufrane will make her fourth appearance at the WIAA Division 2 state golf tourney Monday and Tuesday at University Ridge near Madison.

She has two top-10 finishes, including a tie for eighth last season.

"I think my goal is definitely top five," Dufrane said. "I'd love to be top three."

To contend, Dufrane will need to get off to a good start on the swayles and tiered greens at University Ridge.

"Once I get in a groove everything flows," Dufrane said. "I think my first three holes is how I get in a groove. It lets me calm down, and all the nerves release.

"It's all up in your mind."

It's been a roller coaster senior season for Dufrane. After being the top Bay Conference player the two previous seasons, she encountered stiff competition for medalist honors this year. She still made the all-conference first team, but an 88 in the conference tourney did not sit well with her.

"I've been working on my swing a lot this year, and everything has been changing," she said. "During some times in the season I could not trust it. It's a guessing game after that."

Dufrane has been working with a swing coach, Todd Wagner of Blackwolf Run. She regrouped from the disappointment of Marinette's six-year conference title dynasty being snapped. Dufrane shot a 73 at regionals and qualified for state with a 78 at the Denmark Sectional.

"My swing is much better now than it was at the beginning of the season," according to Dufrane. "I do have confidence right now. That's what gets me excited because having confidence helps me a lot. It gets me in a groove."

Last year's state tourney was moved to Madison's Cherokee Country Club due to construction at University Ridge. Dufrane is much happier playing at the spectacular University Ridge.

For the first time since 2004, someone other than sisters Lindsay and Casey Danielson will win the Division 2 title. Sienne Chapman of The Prairie School took third at state last season. She edged Dufrane by three shots at sectionals.

"I've beaten her multiple times, so I know I can do it again," Dufrane said.

Xavier's Mikayla Smith, who placed fifth at state last year, finished five strokes behind Dufrane at sectionals. Edgewood's Caroline Lake and Tess Hackeworthy are also state title contenders.

Dufrane will tee off at 9:08 a.m. Monday, and will play 18 holes each day.

"I think it needs to be low-70s," she said of her 18-hole scores. "If I could put two mid-70 rounds together, that would be close."

Dufrane isn't eagerly awaiting the end of her outstanding prep golf career.

"I guess it's almost bittersweet," she said. "I think I'm going to miss my teammates the most."