Michael Crowley | 2020 sr open

Michael Crowley hits a drive on Wednesday during the final round of the Senior Open. Crowley, from Fox Point, captured the championship thanks to birdies on his final two holes.

MADISON – After the first round of a rain-plagued, waterlogged Wisconsin State Senior Open, Michael Crowley said he “loved playing in the mud and the slop.”

OK, but this was getting ridiculous. The weather for the final round Wednesday was no better, and probably worse. The rain was at turns misty, drizzly and downright nasty, the wind blew and gusted and the air was see-your-breath chilly. Puddles formed in the fairways at Nakoma Golf Club.

How bad was it? Thirty-two players surrendered and withdrew at various stages of the tournament.

Jim Schuman | 2020 golf cart

With his cart outfitted for the day-long rains, Jim Schuman glances out of an opening as he searches for his golf ball on Wednesday at the Senior Open.

And Crowley? He backed up his words, playing the final six holes in 3-under par – an incredible feat, given the conditions – and rolling in birdie putts on Nos. 17 and 18 to overtake two-time defending champion Jim Schuman and claim the title by one shot.

“Well, in the beginning I didn’t like the weather so much,” said Crowley, a Fox Point resident and the head PGA professional at Morningstar Golfers Club. “I kept making bogeys (on Nos. 2, 4, 6 and 7). But I kept having fun and smiling.”

Crowley, who turned 50 in January and was playing in his first State Senior Open, shot a 73 and finished at 3-over 143.

“It’s got to be the biggest (victory) so far in my career,” he said. “I won the (state) assistants championship one year, but this is by far the biggest. I got in my cart and I just kind of lost it a little bit.”

Schuman, the director of instruction at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club, also shot a 73 and finished at 144. Since 2015, when he won the first of his three State Senior Open titles, Schuman has never finished worse than second. His line reads 1-2-2-1-1-2.

“Mike played great,” said Schuman, who worked in the bag room at Nakoma while he attended Madison Edgewood High School. “Mike’s a good player and it’s a good thing seeing these ‘young’ 50-year-olds get out and play, and play well, and win some golf tournaments.”

Kurt Mantyla of Wauwatosa, the PGA teaching professional at Naga-Waukee War Memorial Golf Course, was tied for the lead with Crowley going into the final round and was tied with Crowley, Schuman and Charlie Brown of Sturtevant with nine holes to play.

Kurt Mantyla | 2020 sr open

Kurt Mantyla of Wauwatosa lines up his putt Wednesday during the final round of the Senior Open.

Mantyla could have taken the lead on No. 15, but failed to convert an 8-foot birdie putt after a splendid recovery shot from the trees. He shot a 75 and finished third at 145. Brown, the head professional at Geneva National Resort & Spa, also closed with a 75 and finished fourth at 146.

“I had some chances,” Mantyla said. “If I could have made that putt (on 15) after the punch-out, it would have been a game-changer.”

Crowley fell two shots behind Schuman and one behind Mantyla when he double-bogeyed the 10th hole, the result of an errant tee shot that sailed left and out of bounds.

“I stood on that tee and I didn’t want to hit driver but I felt like I needed to,” Crowley said. “I’m like, ‘You know, I’m hitting it good. Go ahead and hit it.’ I just stopped (turning) and pulled it. I haven’t hit one left all week like that. After that, I just tried to hang in there because the elements weren’t getting any better. I just tried to keep making pars and hopefully a couple putts would fall, and they finally did.”

Did they ever. He got up and down for par on Nos. 11 and 12, rolled in a short birdie putt on the par-3 13th and saved par again after missing the green on No. 15.

Schuman, meanwhile, kept plodding along, making seven consecutive pars – including four saves – to start the back nine.

“The golf course was a little deteriorated in the end,” he said, “but everybody played in it.”

With two holes to go, Mantyla and Schuman were tied for the lead and Crowley was one back.

The 184-yard par-3 17th was the pivotal hole. Schuman and Mantyla found the left greenside bunker and Crowley hit an excellent shot, 8 feet above the hole.

“I hit a really good shot (Tuesday) on 17,” Crowley said. “It was the same line, just one more club. I’m like, ‘Just hit that same shot,’ and I did.”

Michael Crowley | 2020 sr open

Michael Crowley of Fox Point hits out of a fairway bunker on the 11th hole Wednesday at Nakoma GC.

Mantyla blasted out to 8 feet. Schuman made an uncharacteristic error, leaving his first shot in the bunker. But he made up for it by holing his next shot for an unlikely par.

“I mean, what a shot,” Crowley said. “Unbelievable. And you don’t expect anything less from him, either. The first one was an oops, but the second one, you know it’s going in.”

After watching that, Crowley gathered himself and rolled in his birdie putt to tie Schuman for the lead. Mantyla missed his par putt, had to settle for a bogey and fell one behind.

Crowley smashed his drive on the 490-yard, par-5 18th and was some 50 yards ahead of Schuman, whose second shot finished in the rough short and right of the green. Crowley hit his second shot into a greenside bunker.

Then Schuman made another mistake, pitching his 40-yard shot some 45 feet above the hole. With plenty of green to work with, Crowley blasted out to 6 feet.

“Jim is standing over that putt on 18 and I’m like, ‘He makes this all the time. All the time, he makes this on me,’ ” Crowley said.

Not this time. Schuman’s putt slid harmlessly past the cup, but he rolled in the nervy 7-foot comebacker for par.

Now it was up to Crowley.

“I didn’t know where I stood, but I kept telling myself I have to make it either way,” he said. “I didn’t know what anybody else did (ahead) of me. I told myself, ‘Just get it on line and do what you’ve been doing and roll it in.’ ”

That’s exactly what happened, and Crowley was the champion. He’d one-putted six of the last eight greens and birdied Nos. 13, 17 and 18 in the pouring rain.

Schuman and Mantyla didn’t lose this tournament. Crowley won it.

“I’m happy for Mikey,” Mantyla said. “I mean, I would have been happier for me. But he finished birdie-birdie. He took it on the last two holes.”

1Michael Crowley (p)  Fox Point, WI+3F+37073143 
2Jim Schuman (p)  Scottsdale, AZ+4F+37173144 
3Kurt Mantyla (p)  Wauwatosa, WI+5F+57075145 
4Charlie Brown (p)  Sturtevant, WI+6F+57175146 
T5John Kestly  Pewaukee, WI+9F *+37673149 
T5Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+9F+67376149 
T5Jeff Lister  Greendale, WI+9F+77277149 
T8John Freeman (p)  Muskego, WI+10F+17971150 
T8Jim Doing  Verona, WI+10F+77377150 
T8Brian Liddy  Green Bay, WI+10F+97179150 
T11Brian Buss  Eau Claire, WI+12F+37973152 
T11Jeff Bisbee (p)  Green Bay, WI+12F *+57775152 
T11JT Johnson  Eden Prairie, MN+12F+87478152 
T14Mike Smith  Pewaukee, WI+13F+47974153 
T14Mike Murphy  Fitchburg, WI+13F+77677153 
T14Kelly Berger (p)  Mosinee, WI+13F *+77677153 
T14Steve Krause (p)  Waterford, WI+13F+87578153 
T14Jason Zahradka  New Richmond, WI+13F *+67776153 
T14Paul Zarek  Burlington, WI+13F+97479153 
T20Paul Schwarz  Appleton, WI+14F *+77777154 
T20John Aufderhaar  Watertown, WI+14F+117381154 
T22Mike Aumann  Blue Mounds, WI+15F+97679155 
T22Chuck Garbedian  Waukesha, WI+15F+107580155 
T22Paul Williamson  Holmen, WI+15F+127382155 
25Rich Tock (p)  Mequon, WI+16F+48274156 
T26Brian Brugger  Franklin, WI+17F+127582157 
T26Jeffrey Budd  Waupun, WI+17F+127582157 
T28Jim Humbert  Waukesha, WI+18F+88078158 
T28Dave Spengler (p)  Sobieski, WI+18F+137583158 
T28Kevin Schoppe (p)  Mosinee, WI+18F+147484158 
T28Brad Peck (p)  Madison, WI+18F *+107880158 
T28Bruce Henning  Brookfield, WI+18F *+107880158 
T28Jim Gaugert (p)  Lake Geneva, WI+18F *+107880158 
T28Mark Dalebroux  Madison, WI+18F *+97979158 
T35Bob Pyle  Green Bay, WI+19F+78277159 
T35Paul Borek  Greenville, WI+19F *+117881159 
T37Tom Chambers  Union Grove, WI+20F+108080160 
T37Eddie Terasa (p)  Waukesha, WI+20F *+137783160 
T39Steve Schreck  New Berlin, WI+21F+127982161 
T39Sterling Haumont (p)  Williams Bay, WI+21F+127982161 
T39Michael Drugan  Holmen, WI+21F *+137883161 
T42Daniel Moore  Nekoosa, WI+22F+108280162 
T42Tim Torkelson  Delavan, WI+22F+108280162 
T42Mark Krause (p)  Franklin, WI+22F+137983162 
T42Doug Cheever (p)  Schofield, WI+22F *+167686162 
T42Jamie Young  Pleasant Prairie, WI+22F *+147884162 
47Steve Scheel (p)  Sun Prairie, WI+23F *+88578163 
T48Bill Crinzi  Milwaukee, WI+24F *+108480164 
T48Darin Saari (p)  Plymouth, WI+24F+138183164 
T48Peter Krause (p)  Milwaukee, WI+24F *+167886164 
T51Randy Warobick  Muskego, WI+25F *+118481165 
T51John Wallrich (p)  Sheboygan, WI+25F *+108580165 
53Jeff Knudtson  Delafield, WI+26F+138383166 
T54Timothy Christensen  Brookfield, WI+27F *+128582167 
T54Mike Landry  Waukesha, WI+27F+178087167 
T56Mike Peterson  New Richmond, WI+29F+168386169 
T56Steve Nibbe  Madison, WI+29F *+158485169 
58Robert Elliott (p)  Delafield, WI+30F+188288170 
T59Evan Hewes (p)  Cedarburg, WI+32F+218191172 
T59Steve Babcock  Brodhead, WI+32F *+138983172 
61Didier Ibar  New Berlin, WI+33F *+158885173 
62Jeffrey Campbell (p)  Sturgeon Bay, WI+34F *+188688174 
T63Keith Luedtke  South Milwaukee, WI+35F *+218491175 
T63Scott Semingson  Strum, WI+35F *+208590175 
T65Todd Cook  Beaver Dam, WI+36F *+198789176 
T65Michael Wemmert  West Bend, WI+36F *+198789176 
67Mark Knackert  Brookfield, WI+37F *+179087177 
68Eric Popovich (p)  Beaver Dam, WI+38F *+149484178 
69Bryan Schreck  Brookfield, WI+45F *+169986185 
70Bill Walter  Wind Lake, WI+47F *+229592187 
71Scott Price (p)  Milwaukee, WI+48F *+209890188 
72Martin Cherney  Brookfield, WI+52F *+299399192 
WDRon Hyde  Waukesha, WI+7  77 77 
WDRobert Gregorski  Menasha, WI+7  77 77 
WDRichard Rasmussen (p)  Oconomowoc, WI+8  78 78 
WDTimothy Kramer  Suamico, WI+8  58 58 
WDPat Gorman (p)  Madison, WI+9  79 79 
WDKevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI+9  79 79 
WDScott Lauerman  Menominee, MI+9  62 62 
WDRichard Regenberg  Madison, WI+10  80 80 
WDTom Mcclintock  Onalaska, WI+10  80 80 
WDClark Eichstedt (p)  Kewaskum, WI+10  69 69 
WDMark Basch  Sturgeon Bay, WI+10  59 59 
WDRamiro Romo  Burlington, WI+11  81 81 
WDJim Rollefson  Franklin, WI+11  68 68 
WDTim Grogan (p)  Milwaukee, WI+12  82 82 
WDChris Goodwick (p)  West Bend, WI+12  61 61 
WDMatthew Stottern (p)  Fish Creek, WI+12  62 62 
WDThomas Halla  Colgate, WI+13  83 83 
WDJim Sigel  Sussex, WI+13  83 83 
WDJohn Wittkowske  Shorewood, WI+13  83 83 
WDKevin Walsh  Oshkosh, WI+13  83 83 
WDMichael ONeil  Muskego, WI+13  83 83 
WDTim Johnson  Beloit, WI+13  83 83 
WDFred Weigandt  Lake Geneva, WI+15  85 85 
WDEric Peter  Elm Grove, WI+16  86 86 
WDGregory Dick (p)  Glendale, WI+16  86 86 
WDRobert Feller (p)  Reedsburg, WI       
WDMarshall Gavre (p)  Fairfield, IA       
WDMark Hansen (p)  Mequon, WI       
WDMike Muranyi (p)  Monroe, WI       
WDPJ Murphy  Middleton, WI       
WDTodd Schaap  Kenosha, WI       
WDDan Stahlkopf  Oak Creek, WI       

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