GREEN BAY – What an interesting journey it’s been for Mick Smith, who at one time was among Australia’s top amateur golfers and on Tuesday won the Wisconsin PGA Professional Championship at Green Bay Country Club – 16 time zones and more than 9,000 miles from his hometown of Sydney.
Stops along the way included junior college in America, a six-month stint at Division II Columbus State in Georgia, a return to Australia, where he turned pro and played on the Australian PGA Tour, and a move back to the United States in 2000, this time for good.
He played – and won – on just about every minitour in every corner of the country.
“I’ve always been a decent player,” he said.
While he never made it to the game’s highest level and eventually decided to take the teaching route as a PGA of America Class A professional, Smith is still quite capable, even at 47, of playing superlative golf.
On Tuesday, he hit 15 greens in regulation in the wind and fired a 4-under 68 – only one other player in the field of 68 broke par – to win the WPGA Professional Championship, two years after winning the Section’s assistants title.
“I hit the ball very solid,” Smith said. “I putted very well. I had a lot of fun and the course is in great condition. Everything looks nicer when it goes your way, right?”
Smith, who lives in Summit and teaches at the Moorland Road Golf Center, finished with a 1-under 143 total for 36 holes and earned $4,000 from the purse of $27,350. David Roesch, who teaches at Storms Golf Range, birdied the 18th hole for a 73, finished solo second at 144 and earned $3,000.
Timothy Schroyer of Pine Hills CC in Sheboygan shot a 71 – joining Smith as the only players to break par in the final round – and finished third at 146. First-round leader Mark Voeller, the head professional at Golf Galaxy in Brookfield, struggled on the greens, shot a 79 and finished fourth at 147.
Smith, one of the most popular players in the Wisconsin Section, made six birdies and two bogeys.
“I was just hitting the ball really solid,” he said. “Obviously, in the wind that helps a lot. Most of the birdie putts I made were in the 12- to 20-foot range. The only (par) save I made was on 16. I made like a 20-footer there.”
Before he moved to Wisconsin, Smith caddied at Medinah Country Club in suburban Chicago, then worked as an assistant pro and later as the head pro at Twin Lakes Golf Course in Palatine, Ill.
Told that he “won a bunch” after he recounted his minitour exploits, Smith laughed and said, “Yeah, but compared to who?”
Roesch, the 2015 WPGA champion, made two birdies against a lone bogey in the first 12 holes and had the lead alone. That, despite a five-foot birdie putt on No. 10 that went in the right side of the hole, circled the cup counterclockwise and came back at him for a nasty lip-out.
“What are the odds of that?” he said.
Then his putter betrayed him on Nos. 13 and 14 – a three-putt from the fringe followed by a four-putt in which he missed a 4-footer and a 3-footer.
“I thought I hit decent first putts, too,” he said. “That four-putt, the first putt was tough because it went up the ridge and then it went back down the ridge. And then the second putt, I did hit it a little too hard and it caught the top lip. It wasn’t a tough third putt. I take ownership for that.
“I think if my putter was just a little bit better, it would probably be a different story. But obviously, Mick went out and shot 4-under in unbelievable conditions, which is phenomenal.”
The top five finishers earned spots in the national PGA Professional Championship, scheduled to be played in April 2021 at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Fla. Thomas Burton of Hidden Glen at Bentdale Farms in Cedarburg won a five-man playoff to claim the fifth spot.
Roesch, however, isn’t sure he’ll go.
“I haven’t had much success there,” he said. “Certainly, that could change, but we’re going in April. How many rounds do you think you’d get in before you go? Three to five? I’m coming out of winter, I haven’t done much other than teach, and then to go play high-level competitive golf, it’s tough.
“I don’t have to make the decision today. I guess we’ll see.”
Michael Crowley, who won the Wisconsin State Senior Open last week, finished in a tie for 13th.
|1||Mick Smith Moorland Road GC||-1||F||-4||75||68||143||$4,000|
|2||David Roesch Storm's Golf Range||E||F||+1||71||73||144||$3,000|
|3||Timothy Schroyer Pine Hills CC||+2||F||-1||75||71||146||$2,220|
|4||Mark Voeller Golf Galaxy - Brookfield||+3||F||+7||68||79||147||$1,760|
|T5||Thomas Burton Hidden Glen||+4||F||+1||75||73||148||$1,055|
|T5||Joe DeRosa La Crosse CC||+4||F||+1||75||73||148||$1,055|
|T5||Kraig Joy Ridgeway CC||+4||F||+2||74||74||148||$1,055|
|T5||Jon Zellmer Lake Ripley CC||+4||F||+3||73||75||148||$1,055|
|T5||Jeffrey Kaiser TaylorMade Player Dev Center||+4||F||+5||71||77||148||$1,055|
|T10||Ryan Helminen Ridgeway CC||+6||F||+2||76||74||150||$670|
|T10||Charlie Brown Geneva National GC||+6||F||+3||75||75||150||$670|
|T10||Jim Schuman Blue Mound G&CC||+6||F||+4||74||76||150||$670|
|T13||Andrew Troyanek Rivermoor GC||+8||F||+6||74||78||152||$508|
|T13||Brett Weber Delbrook GC||+8||F||+6||74||78||152||$508|
|T13||Jason Rasmussen Ozaukee CC||+8||F||+6||74||78||152||$508|
|T13||Michael Crowley Morningstar GC||+8||F||+6||74||78||152||$508|
|T17||Andy Hansen University Club||+9||F||+6||75||78||153||$425|
|T17||Jason Samuelian Meadowbrook CC||+9||F||+8||73||80||153||$425|
|T19||Kyle Kunash Grand Geneva||+10||F||+5||77||77||154||$377|
|T19||Eddie Terasa North Hills CC||+10||F||+7||75||79||154||$377|
|T19||Craig Czerniejewski Washington County GC||+10||F||+9||73||81||154||$377|
|T22||Joe Leonard Kestrel Ridge GC||+11||F||+4||79||76||155||$330|
|T22||Tyler Siech Ozaukee CC||+11||F||+5||78||77||155||$330|
|T22||Josue Reyes Whistling Straits GC||+11||F||+6||77||78||155||$330|
|T25||John Gaschke Nakoma GC||+12||F||+7||77||79||156||$285|
|T25||Kurt Mantyla Naga-Waukee GC||+12||F *||+3||81||75||156||$285|
|T25||Erik Stenseth University Ridge GC||+12||F *||+3||81||75||156||$285|
|T28||Bryan Brotchie Rivermoor GC||+13||F||+6||79||78||157||$250|
|T28||Dan Hastreiter Blackwolf Run||+13||F *||+4||81||76||157||$250|
|T30||Chad Behrends Western Lakes GC||+15||F||+8||79||80||159||$216|
|T30||Matt Goodson Hawks Landing GC||+15||F *||+7||80||79||159||$216|
|T30||Paul Kostelac Door Creek GC||+15||F||+10||77||82||159||$216|
|T30||Matthew Kersten Janesville CC||+15||F||+10||77||82||159||$216|
|T30||Brad Munn First Tee of S.Central WI||+15||F||+11||76||83||159||$216|
|T35||Daniel Hoffman Tour Edge||+16||F *||+8||80||80||160||$0|
|T35||Matt Taken Tuckaway CC||+16||F||+12||76||84||160||$0|
|T37||Will Young North Shore CC||+18||F||+11||79||83||162||$0|
|T37||Justin Nishimoto Thornberry Creek @ Oneida||+18||F *||+10||80||82||162||$0|
|39||Peter Krause Wisconsin Club||+19||F *||+11||80||83||163||$0|
|T40||John Freeman Edgewood GC||+20||F *||+12||80||84||164||$0|
|T40||Doug Cheever Wausau CC||+20||F *||+12||80||84||164||$0|
|T40||Michael Miezin X - Golf Brookfield||+20||F *||+12||80||84||164||$0|
|T40||Dave Spengler NorthBrook Golf & Grill||+20||F *||+10||82||82||164||$0|
|T40||Jamie Christianson Horseshoe Bay GC||+20||F *||+7||85||79||164||$0|
|T45||Tim Grogan Fore Milwaukee||+21||F||+14||79||86||165||$0|
|T45||Matt Sabol Sand Valley Resort||+21||F *||+12||81||84||165||$0|
|T45||Doyle Harris Wausau CC||+21||F||+17||76||89||165||$0|
|T48||Rich Tock Erin Hills||+22||F *||+14||80||86||166||$0|
|T48||Matthew Reel Koshkonong Mounds CC||+22||F *||+11||83||83||166||$0|
|T48||Michael O'Reilly Blackwolf Run||+22||F *||+10||84||82||166||$0|
|T48||Matthew Stottern Peninsula State Park GC||+22||F *||+7||87||79||166||$0|
|T52||Gunnar Stapp North Shore CC||+23||F *||+16||79||88||167||$0|
|T52||Andrew Barrett Brown Deer Park GC||+23||F||+17||78||89||167||$0|
|T54||Mark Becker Irish Waters GC||+24||F *||+14||82||86||168||$0|
|T54||Ryan Wieme University Ridge GC||+24||F *||+7||89||79||168||$0|
|T56||William Peters Old Hickory GC||+25||F *||+16||81||88||169||$0|
|T56||Victor Jacinto Tuckaway CC||+25||F *||+16||81||88||169||$0|
|T58||Scott Mowatt Lake Windsor||+26||F *||+16||82||88||170||$0|
|T58||Keith Buntrock Tuckaway CC||+26||F *||+9||89||81||170||$0|
|60||Jason Tipton Westmoor CC||+29||F *||+20||81||92||173||$0|
|T61||Greg Adlington Retired Member||+31||F *||+21||82||93||175||$0|
|T61||Peter Nomm WPGA Member||+31||F *||+17||86||89||175||$0|
|T61||Jeff Ellingson Edelweiss Chalet CC||+31||F *||+15||88||87||175||$0|
|64||Nick Tarasoff Kettle Hills GC||+34||F *||+13||93||85||178||$0|
|65||Patti Marquis WPGA Member||+35||F *||+13||94||85||179||$0|
|T66||Evan Hewes Hawthorne Hills GC||+41||F *||+29||84||101||185||$0|
|T66||Brian Jensen Oliphant Golf Management||+41||F *||+17||96||89||185||$0|
|68||Joel Weitz Vitense Golfland||+57||F *||+37||92||109||201||$0|
|DID NOT FINISH|
|WD||Jim Gaugert Harris Golf Cars||+11||8||+4||79||36||115||$0|
|WD||Gregory Dick University Club||$0|
|WD||Dave Kemnitz Minocqua CC||$0|