OREGON — The wind blew hard enough long enough Friday at The Legend at Bergamont Golf Club to blow a person into the middle of next week.
Ernest Kocs was just glad he found a way to breeze into Monday.
Two eagles helped Kocs offset a triple-bogey and shoot even-par 72 during pre-qualifying for next week's American Family Insurance Championship as the former Delavan-Darien golfer who now calls Madison home shared medalist honors with two other golfers. It also earned hime one of five spots in Monday's open qualifying for the final four spots in the fourth annual PGA Tour Champions event, which starts Friday at University Ridge Golf Course.
Britt Pavelonis of Harrisburg, Illinois, and Mike Woodcock of Chatham, Ont., joined Kocs in the tie for first. Steve Pleis of Wentzville, Missouri, and Gary March of Arlington Heights, Ill., shot 73s to grab the final two berths in the field at Bergamont.
Madison's Pat Gorman, who played with Kocs in the second group of the day, shot 75 and finished eighth. Sturtevant's Charlie Brown shot 77 and tied for 12th while Waukesha's Eddie Terasa (79), Mosinee's Kelly Berger (80) and Sherwood's Glenn Fischer (81) finished back in the pack 34-player field.
"I was hoping to shoot sub-70, but after I holed out for a par 4 on (No.) 18, I had a feeling 72 would get me through the pre-qualifier to Monday," Kocs wrote in a text message to Wisconsin.golf. "The wind was brutal starting from about 10:00 (Friday) morning. The greens dried out some and putting was tough."
Kocs said he hit only one poor shot all day — "A 4-iron on the fourth hole (that) hit the cart path; I lost the ball," he wrote of a bad break that led to a triple-bogey 6. But he bounced back with the first of his two eagles on No. 5, one of three par-5s he hit in two. He birdied the second (No. 9) and eagled the third (No. 11) to get to 2-under only to have bogeys at Nos. 16 and 17 drop him to even.
"I've played more golf in Europe over the last seven years since turning 50, but only a few tournaments per year," wrote Kocs, who has played in several European Senior Tour Qualifying School stages. "So I m not used playing in 'big' events."
Monday will be one of the biggest.
The 37-player field will include 2016 AmFam Championship runner-up Mike Goodes; Esteban Toledo, who shot an opening-round 63 that same year; and Shaun Micheel, who won the 2003 PGA Championship. Bob May, who lost in a three-hole playoff to Tiger Woods at the 2000 PGA Championship, will be there. So will Madison native Jim Schuman, the reigning Wisconsin State Senior Open champion who played in the first two AmFam Championships.
"If the weather is nice on Monday, it’ll probably take a score of 5- or 6-under to get into the AmFam," Kocs wrote. "(I) hope to have you interview me Monday afternoon."
|T1||Ernest Kocs Madison, WI||F||E||72|
|T1||Britt Pavelonis Harrisburg, IL||F||E||72|
|T1||Mike Woodcock Chatham, ON||F||E||72|
|T4||Steve Pleis Wentzville, MO||F||+1||73|
|T4||Gary March Arlington Heights, IL||F||+1||73|
|DID NOT QUALIFY|
|T6||David Cooke Vestavia Hills, AL||F||+2||74|
|T6||Chad Proehl Urbandale, IA||F||+2||74|
|8||Pat Gorman Madison, WI||F||+3||75|
|T9||Stephen Mondshine Sugarland, TX||F||+4||76|
|T9||Dennis Hendershott Paris, ON||F||+4||76|
|T9||E.A. Tischler Munster, IN||F||+4||76|
|T12||Charlie Brown Sturtevant, WI||F||+5||77|
|T12||Clayton Devers Shawnee, KS||F||+5||77|
|T14||Brian Fogt Wildwood, MO||F||+6||78|
|T14||Darrel Holden (a) Shawnee, KS||F||+6||78|
|T14||Dan Zimmerman (a) Wichita, KS||F||+6||78|
|T14||Skip Taylor Flat Rock, NC||F||+6||78|
|T14||Scott McGihon Indian Wells, CA||F||+6||78|
|T19||Eddie Terasa Waukesha, WI||F||+7||79|
|T19||Mike Grob Billings, MT||F||+7||79|
|T19||Jayson Ray North Fork, CA||F||+7||79|
|T19||David Noto Clarkesville, GA||F||+7||79|
|T19||Tom Rasmussen Roswell, GA||F||+7||79|
|T24||Kelly Berger Mosinee, WI||F||+8||80|
|T24||John Connelly Perrysburg, OH||F||+8||80|
|T24||Mark Caffee (a) Wildwood, FL||F||+8||80|
|T27||David Plumb Bowling Green, KY||F||+9||81|
|T27||Glenn Fischer Sherwood, WI||F||+9||81|
|29||Christopher Pond Jackson, MI||F||+10||82|
|30||James Connolly Houston, TX||F||+11||83|
|31||Thomas Edwards Suwanee, GA||F||+12||84|
|32||Steve Bevilacqua (a) Oswego, IL||F||+13||85|
|33||Anthony McMullin Mason, OH||F||+15||87|
|34||Victor Hudson (a) San Carlos, CA||F||+22||94|