Owen Butler was having so much fun matching playing partners Matt Tolan and Jack Schultz birdie-for-birdie Sunday that the Stoughton golfer didn't want the menacing clouds that were approaching Janesville Riverside Golf Course to do anything to ruin the rhythm the final group of the Ray Fischer State Amateur Tournament was enjoying during its third-round shootout.
Later, Butler was just being honest when he said he wasn't heartbroken after the ensuing delay forced the 72-hole tournament to be reduced to 54 holes.
"I can't say how much fun I had and how excited I was to not have to hold Matt and Jack off 18 more holes," Butler wrote via text to Wisconsin.golf.
Fortunately for Butler, he took care of business coming out of the latest delay in a weather-plagued weekend and didn't have to. He birdied Nos. 5, 6 and 7 and finished off a 9-under-par 63 with a pair of pars to reach the 54-hole mark at 19-under 197, three strokes ahead of Tolan, the third-round leader, and five ahead Schultz, the two-time defending champion. Both shot 67.
And that's where the tournament stopped. The threat of more storms led Wisconsin Public Links Association officials to declare it a 54-hole event.
"I figured when they blew the horn to delay that we would only be playing 54 holes," Butler wrote. "When playing 36 holes, if you get any delay that really makes it challenging to stay a 72-hole event. When we went back out I knew exactly where we stood, that I was one up on Matt and two clear of Jack."
And that wasn't the result of simple math.
The leaders combined to make 11 birdies and an eagle (Schultz holed out for a 2 on No. 17) before even making the turn. Tolan, who led Butler by one shot at the start of the day, was still up one on Butler and Schultz at the turn before Butler made his first move.
He birdied three of the first four holes on the front nine before the horns sounded and play was suspended for two hours. Tolan and Schultz, meanwhile, mustered just one birdie each and had fallen behind the new leader.
"It truly was a shootout," Tolan said. "But (I've) got to give credit where credit is deserved and Owen played a phenomenal round of golf."
The best was yet to come.
After grabbing lunch and a sense for where he stood, Butler came out and put the tournament away. His birdies at Nos. 5 through 7 stretched his birdie binge to five in a row and six of his first seven on the front nine.
"I didn't feel too much pressure when he was birdieing all the time, which maybe meant I wasn't thinking correctly," Schultz wrote in a text to Wisconsin.golf, impressed with how effortlessly Butler pulled away. "Doing everything well and making it look natural is a great way to play."
Afterward, Butler felt fortunate to emerge from a group that played the third round in a combined 19-under.
"Those two are special players and it was enjoyable to play with the both," Butler said. "Starting the day, I knew it would be a shootout and about making birdies and it was. I am just so thrilled that I came out on top."
It was extra special for the Milton native to add his name to a trophy that includes the likes of PGA Tour stars Steve Stricker and Skip Kendall.
"It means a great deal to win this event," Butler wrote. "It’s certainly one of the featured events for the state of Wisconsin and, growing up down the road in Milton, to win here in Janesville is special."
|1||Owen Butler Stoughton, WI||-19||F *||-9||67||67||63||197|
|2||Matt Tolan Eau Claire, WI||-16||F *||-5||65||68||67||200|
|3||-||Jack Schultz Whitefish Bay, WI||-14||F *||-5||70||65||67||202|
|4||-||Michael Bielawski Waukesha, WI||-11||F *||-3||69||67||69||205|
|T5||Nate Thomson Greendale, WI||-10||F *||-5||71||68||67||206|
|T5||-||Travis Engle Kenosha, WI||-10||F *||-3||67||70||69||206|
|7||Tony Romo Burlington, WI||-9||F *||-6||69||72||66||207|
|8||-||Christopher Colla Fond du Lac, WI||-8||F *||-3||69||70||69||208|
|T9||Joe DuChateau Fond Du Lac, WI||-7||F *||-8||73||72||64||209|
|T9||Pete Kuhl Madison, WI||-7||F *||-3||69||71||69||209|
|T9||George Kneiser Oconomowoc, WI||-7||F *||-1||70||68||71||209|
|T12||Tyler Leach Spring Valley, WI||-6||F *||-5||67||76||67||210|
|T12||-||Michael Harris Brookfield, WI||-6||F *||-3||70||71||69||210|
|T12||Joe Weber Onalaska, WI||-6||F *||E||69||69||72||210|
|T15||Emmet Herb Middleton, WI||-5||F *||-5||71||73||67||211|
|T15||-||Adam Miller Adams, WI||-5||F *||-3||70||72||69||211|
|T17||Nick Robinson Madison, WI||-4||F *||-5||72||73||67||212|
|T17||Samuel Anderson Stoughton, WI||-4||F||-6||72||74||66||212|
|T17||Phillip Johnson Colgate, WI||-4||F *||-3||72||71||69||212|
|T17||Ben Skogen Onalaska, WI||-4||F *||-4||72||72||68||212|
|T17||Jakob Garstecki Germantown, WI||-4||F *||-2||70||72||70||212|
|T17||Ricky Kuiper Racine, WI||-4||F *||-1||67||74||71||212|
|T23||Daniel Ozga Edgerton, WI||-3||F||-4||70||75||68||213|
|T23||Max Pasher Mequon, WI||-3||F *||-4||71||74||68||213|
|T23||Chris Wood Mount Pleasant, WI||-3||F *||-2||69||74||70||213|
|T23||Maxwell Schmidtke Sheboygan, WI||-3||F *||-1||73||69||71||213|
|T27||Sam Van Galder Janesville, WI||-2||F *||-3||71||74||69||214|
|T27||Dustin Schwab Hartland, WI||-2||F||-4||72||74||68||214|
|T27||Jack (John) Blair Wauwatosa, WI||-2||F *||-2||70||74||70||214|
|T27||Nathan Schwarz Hutto, TX||-2||F *||E||71||71||72||214|
|T27||Alan Thompson Watertown, WI||-2||F *||+2||71||69||74||214|
|T32||Blake Wisdom Lake Geneva, WI||-1||F||-3||69||77||69||215|
|T32||Kevin Van Rossum Hartland, WI||-1||F *||-1||74||70||71||215|
|T32||Brad Finger Waukesha, WI||-1||F *||-1||72||72||71||215|
|T35||Kevin Cahill Waukesha, WI||E||F *||-1||75||70||71||216|
|T35||Zachary Nash Waterford, WI||E||F||-2||71||75||70||216|
|T35||Drew Sagrillo Mequon, WI||E||F||-2||71||75||70||216|
|T35||Jakob Schroeckenthaler Cottage Grove, WI||E||F||-3||72||75||69||216|
|T35||Jacob Michel Lodi, WI||E||F *||E||71||73||72||216|
|T35||Tom Halla Colgate, WI||E||F *||+1||74||69||73||216|
|T35||Andrew Morrison Edgerton, WI||E||F||-4||71||77||68||216|
|T35||Kirk Leitzen Brodhead, WI||E||F||-5||77||72||67||216|
|T35||Clayton Tribus Madison, WI||E||F||-5||71||78||67||216|
|T44||Nathan Boltz Elkhorn, WI||+1||F *||E||78||67||72||217|
|T44||Geoff Pirkl Oconomowoc, WI||+1||F||-1||74||72||71||217|
|T44||Jeremy Wesemann Merton, WI||+1||F *||+1||77||67||73||217|
|T44||Michael Bastian Milwaukee, WI||+1||F||-2||73||74||70||217|
|T44||Patrick Sicula Whitefish Bay, WI||+1||F *||+3||73||69||75||217|
|T49||Dawson Hinz Middleton, WI||+2||F||E||72||74||72||218|
|T49||Tyler Beeck Sheboygan Falls, WI||+2||F||E||75||71||72||218|
|T49||Brady Sarauer Fond du Lac, WI||+2||F *||+1||74||71||73||218|
|T49||Eric Goldapske Sun Prairie, WI||+2||F||-1||75||72||71||218|
|T49||Dylan Brown Reedsburg, WI||+2||F||-2||76||72||70||218|
|T49||Logan Kranz Madison||+2||F||-3||76||73||69||218|
|T55||Alexander Haas Hartford, WI||+3||F||E||73||74||72||219|
|T55||Jacob Mayer Delafield, WI||+3||F||E||75||72||72||219|
|T55||Ben Gilles Madison, WI||+3||F||-1||72||76||71||219|
|T55||Matt Behm Valders, WI||+3||F||-1||74||74||71||219|
|T59||Mike Mueller Whitefish Bay, WI||+4||F *||+3||73||72||75||220|
|T59||Christopher Dupuis Chicago, IL||+4||F||+2||72||74||74||220|
|T59||Jacob Beckman Middleton, WI||+4||F||+2||75||71||74||220|
|T59||Jason Zahradka New Richmond, WI||+4||F||+2||75||71||74||220|
|T59||Bentley Glass Fort Atkinson, WI||+4||F||+1||76||71||73||220|
|T59||Nick Corban Madison, WI||+4||F||E||76||72||72||220|
|T65||Charles Maleki Mequon, WI||+5||F||+2||75||72||74||221|
|T65||R.J. Schwalbach Bolingbrook, IL||+5||F||+1||73||75||73||221|
|T65||Jonathan Duggan, Jr. Lake Geneva, WI||+5||F||E||71||78||72||221|
|68||Michael Oellerich Brodhead, WI||+6||F||+1||75||74||73||222|
|T69||Burke Barsamian Lake Geneva, WI||+7||F *||+6||70||75||78||223|
|T69||Nick Hagen Beloit, WI||+7||F||+3||73||75||75||223|
|T71||Colton Duwe Oconomowoc, WI||+8||F||+4||70||78||76||224|
|T71||Eric Ross Onekama, MI||+8||F||+4||75||73||76||224|
|T71||Bennett Swavely Hudson, WI||+8||F||+3||74||75||75||224|
|T74||Bill Crinzi New Berlin, WI||+9||F||+6||73||74||78||225|
|T74||Joseph Ploch Oconomowoc, WI||+9||F||+4||75||74||76||225|
|T74||Jack Anderson Brookfield, WI||+9||F||+4||75||74||76||225|
|77||Charles Buhrow Brookfield, WI||+11||F||+6||74||75||78||227|
|T78||Tom Schoewe Sun Prairie, WI||+13||F||+9||74||74||81||229|
|T78||Jackson Rehm Franklin, WI||+13||F||+8||75||74||80||229|