Dustin Schwab beer

Dustin Schwab, left, winner of the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship, shares a celebratory beer with defending champion Joe Weber, center, and 2007 winner Garrett Jones. 

JANESVILLE – The college kids have been tough to beat in the Wisconsin State Amateur lately – the last eight winners have been 22 or younger – but the birdie-fest better known as the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship has become the domain of the mid-amateur.

That point was underscored Sunday when 34-year-old champion Dustin Schwab hoisted a celebratory beer with defending champion Joe Weber and 2007 winner Garrett Jones behind the clubhouse at Janesville Riverside Golf Course. Weber is 37 and Jones is 36.

Schwab, a former Marquette University golfer, beat 18-year-old Cameron Huss, a rising sophomore at the University of Wisconsin, on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff after the two had tied at 20-under 268 in regulation in the Wisconsin Public Links Association’s premier event.

Usually, it’s better to be long off the tee than long in the tooth, but experience matters at Janesville Riverside, a 6,500-yard course with tree-lined fairways, sharp doglegs and fast, sloping greens. Counting Schwab, the last five Fischer champs have been mid-ams who know when to throttle back, where to miss and how to take spin off their wedges.

“The younger kids might be able to hit it farther, but the experience of playing here going on almost 15 years helps,” Schwab said. “Knowing the golf course, knowing how to control the ball, I think that’s the biggest key. You have to be able to control your wedges going into those greens.”

Before Schwab birdied the first playoff hole to win – more on that later – the leaderboard was in a constant state of flux over the 36-hole finale Sunday.

Jones, 36, coming off a victory Thursday in the WSGA Match Play Championship, had a three-stroke lead at the start of the day but shot 37 on his back nine in the morning round and fell off the pace with a 72. Even par is good in a lot of tournaments, but it will get you lapped in the Fischer.

Tony Romo, 41, the Burlington native and CBS’ lead color commentator for its NFL games, fired a 64 in the morning round – his lowest-ever competitive round – and took the lead before Schwab played the final four holes in 4-under with an eagle and two birdies to fire a 65 and get in the clubhouse at 16-under 200. Romo was a shot back at 201.

Romo stumbled out of the gate in the final round, however, making a double-bogey on the par-4 second hole after hooking his drive into the trees, punching into a greenside bunker and blading the bunker shot 30 yards over the green. He followed with a bogey on the par-3 fourth hole and never threatened the lead after that, though he did play the final 15 holes in 5-under, shot a closing 70 and finished T-3.

RF Tony Romo

Tony Romo hits out of a bunker on the second hole of the final round on Sunday at the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship. Romo finished the tournament tied for third place.

“Making a double-bogey out here just kills you,” Romo said. “You get the momentum going and everything, and then from there I was fighting an uphill battle. Every putt was so huge from that point on, it felt like, and obviously you’re pressing a little bit.”

Jack Schultz, who won the Fischer back-to-back in 2017 and ’18, did his thing at Riverside, shooting 67-66 and moving up into a tie for third with Romo at 17-under 271. Over the last five years, Schultz is a cumulative 83-under at the Fischer and has finished 1-1-3-13-3. His scoring average over that span is an impressive 67.63.

“I’m OK with it,” he said of his finish. “I had some moments that were really good. There are some holes here that really fit me because I can hit the fade whenever I want. Also, I hit a couple (drives) pretty far out there and that always helps.”

As the day wore on, though, the Fischer evolved into a two-man battle between Schwab and Huss.

After a morning 65 left him three shots off the lead, Huss made a big move early in the final round with five consecutive birdies on Nos. 3-7. As he walked off the sixth green, new UW men’s golf coach Mike Wilson introduced himself to Huss. They’d spoken on the phone, but never met.

“I saw a couple pictures of him, so I recognized him,” Huss said. “He had the Badger gear on. It was just real brief. Shook his hand and he introduced himself. We’re all very excited to have him.”

RF Cameron Huss

Cameron Huss of Kenosha hits a tee shot during the final rounds Sunday of the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship. Huss lost a playoff to Dustin Schwab for the title.

After Huss’ run of birdies, he and Schwab pretty much traded places at the top or were tied the rest of the way.

Huss finished first, having put up a pair of matchings 65s – no bogeys and seven birdies in each. He birdied Nos. 4, 5, 6 and 7 in both rounds. Stellar.

Schwab, playing in the final foursome, bogeyed the 16th hole to fall one shot behind Huss but birdied the short par-4 17th to draw even again. He hit the green in regulation on the 415-yard 18th and, with Huss watching greenside, barely missed an 18-foot birdie attempt that would have been the winner. He hadn’t checked the live scoring on his phone all day.

“I actually didn’t look at a leaderboard,” he said. “I was kind of in a zone. I normally do look at leaderboards, but I decided I was just going to play as well as I could. Joe (Weber) gave me a little tip on that last putt, saying, ‘You should make this one.’ I knew where he was coming from.”

The playoff started, and ended, on the 491-yard par-5 10th hole. Huss’ drive leaked to the right and rolled to a stop directly behind a tree. He couldn’t advance the ball and had to chip out sideways. Then he hit a 7-iron from 180 yards to 30 feet below the pin – a long putt, but makeable.

Schwab, meanwhile, hit a perfect drive but his second shot was long and left of the green. He then hit a superb chip, which trickled slowly down the slope and finished six feet below the hole.

Huss barely missed his birdie attempt and Schwab then rolled his putt into the middle for the victory.

“Cameron caught a bad break,” Schwab said. “He hit a good drive. It just got right up against a tree.”

It was Schwab’s first victory as an amateur since the 2008 WSGA Match Play Championship, though he won a few minitour events before being reinstated.

“It’s been a while,” he said. “I won a few small events back in my professional days, but nothing big. It feels really good.”

Adam Miller of Nekoosa and Ethan Wilkins of Sussex finished in a tie for fifth at 16-under 272 and the group at 15-under included Jones, Nate Thomson of Greendale and Matt Tolan of Eau Claire, who finished second to Jones in the Match Play on Thursday.

Tolan opened with a 74 – hitting three drives out of bounds – but then shot 67-65-67, and his morning round Sunday included a hole-in-one with a pitching wedge on the 136-yard eighth hole.

“It’s been a heck of a week of golf, to say the least,” he said.

Schwab works at Madison-based Laser Link Golf and doesn’t have a big summer tournament schedule mapped out. He didn’t even sign up for qualifying for the State Amateur.

“I haven’t played in that in a bunch of years,” he said.

However, the Fischer victory does give him an exemption into the State Open in August.

“I guess I’ll have to play in that,” he said with a laugh.

The victory tasted pretty sweet. So, too, did the beer.

POS
 
PLAYER
TOTAL
THRU
TODAY
R1
R2
R3
R4
STROKES
 
1
Arrow Up
 2
Dustin Schwab  Lodi, WI (p)-20F-465706568268 
2
Arrow Up
 8
Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI-20F-766726565268 
T3
Arrow Up
 8
Jack Schultz  Whitefish Bay, WI-17F-667716766271 
T3
Arrow Up
 3
Tony Romo  Dallas, TX-17F-270676470271 
T5
Arrow Up
 10
Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI-16F-569706667272 
T5
Arrow Up
 6
Ethan Wilkins  Sussex, WI-16F-466726668272 
T7
Arrow Up
 17
Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WI-15F-574676567273 
T7
Arrow Down
 3
Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI-15F-166706671273 
T7
Arrow Down
 6
Garrett Jones  Fitchburg, WI-15F-365677269273 
T10
Arrow Up
 20
Matthew Raab  Hartland, WI-14F *-764786765274 
T10
Arrow Down
 6
Joe Weber  Onalaska, WI-14F-167696771274 
12
Arrow Up
 3
Ricky Kuiper  Racine, Wisconsin-13F-168716571275 
T13
Arrow Up
 2
Sam Cianciola  Nekoosa, WI-11F-470697068277 
T13
Arrow Up
 42
Ryonen Faris  Fond Du Lac, Wisconsin-11F *-773726765277 
T15
Arrow Up
 9
Owen Butler  Stoughton, WI-10F-370716869278 
T15
Arrow Up
 9
R.J. Schwalbach  Bolingbrook, IL-10FE69726572278 
T15
Arrow Up
 3
Dominic Kieffer  Madison, WI-10F-372686969278 
T18
Arrow Up
 22
Joe Forsting  Edgerton, WI-9F *-676677066279 
T18-Jakob Schroeckenthaler  Cottage Grove, WI-9F+169716673279 
T18
Arrow Up
 29
Christopher Colla  Fond Du Lac, WI-9F *-270746570279 
T18
Arrow Down
 7
Max Pasher  Mequon, WI-9F-568707467279 
T18
Arrow Down
 9
Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI-9F-168707071279 
T23
Arrow Up
 1
Cory Aune  Lake Geneva, WI-8F-369727069280 
T23
Arrow Down
 5
Steven Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI-8F-269717070280 
T23
Arrow Down
 5
Derrick Meier  Waunakee, WI-8F-270707070280 
T23
Arrow Down
 17
Maxwell Schmidtke  Sheboygan, WI-8F+363746875280 
T27
Arrow Up
 13
Matthew Davidson  Mcfarland, WI-7F *E73706672281 
T27
Arrow Down
 9
Matt Behm  Valders, WI-7F+173676873281 
T27
Arrow Down
 25
Nathan Daugherty  Lake Villa, IL-7F+567686977281 
T30-Jed Baranczyk  Green Bay, WI-6F-469737268282 
T30-Tyler Cleaves  Kaukauna, Wisconsin-6F *-470727268282 
T30
Arrow Up
 10
Ben Resnick  Rice Lake, WI-6F *-471727168282 
T33
Arrow Down
 3
Mike D. Mueller  Whitefish Bay, WI-4FE69737072284 
T33
Arrow Down
 9
Jacob Beckman  Middleton, Wisconsin-4FE67747172284 
T33
Arrow Down
 3
Kevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI-4F-171717171284 
T33
Arrow Up
 7
Austin Gaby  Verona, WI-4F *-270737170284 
T33
Arrow Up
 22
Matthew Buckley  Nekoosa, WI-4F *-275706970284 
T33
Arrow Down
 27
Braeden Resnick  Rice Lake, WI-4F+470677176284 
T39
Arrow Up
 1
Kirk Leitzen  Brodhead, WI-3F *E70737072285 
T39
Arrow Down
 15
Bruce Henning  Brookfield, WI-3F-168737371285 
T39
Arrow Up
 8
Derick Disch  Greenfield, Wisconsin-3F *+171736873285 
T39
Arrow Down
 28
Andrew Morrison  Edgerton, WI-3F+267717374285 
T39
Arrow Up
 16
Mark Noonan  Vernon Hills, IL-3F *+473726476285 
T39
Arrow Up
 28
Derek Hilmershausen  Wausau, WI-3F *-170766871285 
T45
Arrow Down
 5
Robert Gregorski  Menasha, WI-2F *+173707073286 
T45
Arrow Up
 2
Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA-2F *-371737369286 
T45
Arrow Up
 10
Robert Hughes  Wauwatosa, WI-2F *-472737368286 
T48
Arrow Down
 18
Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI-1F *+171717273287 
T48
Arrow Down
 18
Jason Jochem  Cambridge, WI-1F+168747273287 
T48
Arrow Up
 7
Danny Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI-1F *-371747369287 
T48
Arrow Up
 19
Brett Tautges  Germantown, WI-1F *+170766873287 
T52
Arrow Down
 5
John Blair  Wauwatosa, WIEF *-473717668288 
T52
Arrow Up
 3
Liam More O'Ferrall  River Hills, WIEF *E77687172288 
T54
Arrow Down
 7
Michael Oellerich  Brodhead, WI+1F *+269757174289 
T54
Arrow Up
 1
Thomas Hemphill  Madison, WI+1F *E70757272289 
T54
Arrow Up
 13
Christopher Dupuis  Naperville, IL+1F *+272746974289 
T54
Arrow Up
 13
Tom Halla  Colgate, WI+1F *E76707172289 
T54
Arrow Up
 13
Noah Kirsch  Lancaster, WI+1F *-171757271289 
T59
Arrow Down
 29
Nick Corban  Madison, WI+2F+368747375290 
T59
Arrow Down
 4
Michael Masik Jr  Mount Pleasant, WI+2F *+371747075290 
T59
Arrow Down
 4
Nathan Schwarz  Mooresville, NC+2F *+471746976290 
T59
Arrow Down
 4
Travis Pronschinske  Oconomowoc, WI+2F *E73727372290 
T59
Arrow Up
 8
Daniel Ozga  Edgerton, WI+2F *+371756975290 
64
Arrow Down
 17
Dylan Brown  Reedsburg, WI+3F *+172727473291 
T65
Arrow Down
 35
Tom Schoewe  Sun Prairie, WI+4F+569737377292 
T65
Arrow Down
 18
James Gilmore  Middleton, WI+4F *+272727474292 
T65
Arrow Down
 10
Austin Erickson  Sparta, WI+4F *-269767770292 
T68
Arrow Down
 50
Connor Brown  Racine, WI+5F+669717578293 
T68
Arrow Down
 21
Samuel Nielsen  Fond Du Lac, WI+5F *+572727277293 
T68
Arrow Down
 13
Ramiro Romo  Burlington, WI+5F *+475707276293 
T68
Arrow Down
 1
James DeBoer  Onalaska, WI+5F *E70767572293 
72
Arrow Down
 42
Chip Summers  Richfield, WI+6F+367757775294 
T73
Arrow Down
 6
Andy Grinwald  Watertown, WI+8F *+172747773296 
T73
Arrow Down
 6
Zach Dybul  Big Bend, Wisconsin+8F *+375717575296 
75
Arrow Down
 35
Brock Hlinak  Kaukauna, WI+10F *+468757976298 
76
Arrow Down
 9
Joseph Immekus  Greendale, WI+18F *+1170767783306

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