Thomas Longbella | 2020 state am 3rd rd

Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls hits his drive on the 10th hole Wednesday. Longbella has a six-shot lead heading into Thursday’s final round.

RIVER HILLS – Thomas Longbella has knocked on the door so many times in the Wisconsin State Amateur, he’s worn out a spot with his knuckles. Three times in the last four years, he’s had good chances to win. Three times, he couldn’t quite get the job done.

In 2016, he shot 67-67 in Rounds 2 and 3 and took a one-stroke lead into the final round at North Shore Golf Club, but stumbled to a 73 and finished three shots behind Nick Nelson. In 2018, he bogeyed the 72nd hole at Minocqua Country Club and then lost to Harrison Ott on the eighth hole of a sudden-death playoff. Last year, he played his way into the final group at Lawsonia, but shot a 75 and tied for sixth.

A couple things are different this time around.

First, Longbella, of Chippewa Falls, has a six-shot lead going into Thursday’s final round of the 119th State Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club, where no one has taken it deep. There have been only 10 subpar rounds through 54 holes – Longbella has three of them – and no score lower than 67. It’s unlikely a pursuer is going to put up a ridiculous number.

Second, Longbella has learned from his close calls that he doesn’t have to change what has worked.

“I’m just going to go play the golf course,” he said. “I think that’s something I struggled with in the past in this situation. I did one thing the first three days, loved it, got myself in the lead and then the final day, something changed. For me, tomorrow, I just want to go out with the same game plan and whatever happens, happens.”

Longbella, who will be a fifth-year senior at the University of Minnesota, bounced back from a triple-bogey on the fifth hole Wednesday to shoot a 1-under 69 and was at 5-under 205. He is the only player in the field to break par in all three rounds.

His lead went from four shots to six when playing partner Nick Thomson of Greendale, a member of the University of Toledo golf team, lost a ball on the 18th hole and made a double-bogey. Thomson shot a 74 and was at 1-over 211.

“That’s golf,” Thomson said. “I hit one left off the tee. We didn’t think it was that bad. There were four or five guys up there and they heard it, but they didn’t see it. It was OK, though. Overall, I’m alright with how I played. Can’t be too mad about it.”

He was tied for second with Marquette University golfer Tyler Leach of Spring Valley, who shot a 70 despite a double-bogey on the par-4 10th hole, a converted par-5.

“That’s just a pin, you can’t go long there,” Leach said. “I thought I hit a good shot and it took a really firm bounce on the green and went over. When you’re in between clubs, you almost have to go with the shorter club. Even if you’re 40 feet short, that’s better than long.”

After two-putting for a birdie on the par-5 third hole to get to 5-under and extend his lead to four shots, Longbella had his own mini-disaster. He’d made just three bogeys in the first 40 holes, but the wheels temporarily came off on the 433-yard fifth.

“I hit my driver left and I was stuck behind some trees, but I had a lane up and over,” he said. “I was only 120 (yards) out, but I didn’t want to go over that green. I kind of just stupidly didn’t hit it hard enough. Ended up plugging in the bunker, took relief and then just started getting cute with it, trying to hit that perfect shot. I was trying to chunk one and roll it back there, then I chunked it short, then I launched it over, then I flopped it on.

“I knew I could do something like that out there. It’s easy to do. But I had steered clear of the big number. If I missed a green, I chipped it to 15 feet and, you know, take my bogey. It got the best of me today. A little mental error.”

The good news was that even after the triple-bogey, Longbella still had a one-shot lead.

“I told myself that I just needed to pull myself out of it,” he said. “I was still leading at the time. Nothing changed. Just get back to my roots and make better decisions. I wasn’t happy about it, but I was confident I was going to be able to get it back. I felt like I was swinging it great.”

Sure enough, Longbella rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on No. 9, the drivable 270-yard par-4, and added birdies on Nos. 11 and 15 to get back to under par for the day.

In order for Thomson or Leach to have a chance Thursday, they’re probably going to have to break par and hope Longbella comes back to them.

“I’m playing pretty good,” Thomson said. “Just stick to the game plan and see what happens.”

Said Leach, “I think tomorrow, if I can go out and make no bogeys and stick to the process, stay disciplined, I’ll like where I am.”

Matt Tolan of Eau Claire and the University of South Dakota was at 213 after a 73. The 2017 State Amateur champion is in fourth place alone, but trails Longbella by eight shots.

Zach Place of Roselle, Ill., a rising sophomore at Northern Illinois University, shot a 75 and was in fifth place at 215, but at 10 strokes back his chances are remote, at best.

This is Longbella’s tournament to lose. He can’t get ahead of himself, but after three close calls he can be excused for thinking about how satisfying it would be to finally break through.

“Oh, it would be awesome,” he said. “It would kind of be that, oh, yeah, I finally was able to get it done.”

POS
 
PLAYER
TOTAL
THRU
TODAY
R1
R2
R3
R4
STROKES
 
1-Thomas Longbella  Chippewa Falls, WI-5F-1696769 205 
T2
Arrow Up
 3
Tyler Leach  Spring Valley, WI+1FE677470 211 
T2-Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI+1F+4696874 211 
4
Arrow Down
 1
Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WI+3F+3697173 213 
5
Arrow Down
 2
Zach Place  Roselle, IL+5F+5726875 215 
T6
Arrow Up
 9
Kevin Paek  Glenview, IL+6FE757170 216 
T6-Nick Nelson  Milwaukee, WI+6F+2717372 216 
8
Arrow Up
 15
Josh Teplin  Mequon, WI+7FE707770 217 
T9
Arrow Up
 6
Garrett Jones  Madison, WI+8F+2747272 218 
T9
Arrow Up
 6
Austin Erickson  Sparta, WI+8F+2737372 218 
T9-Jack Schultz  Whitefish Bay, WI+8F+3707573 218 
T9-John Kryscio  Lake Forest, IL+8F+3707573 218 
T9-Carl Christiansen  Naperville, IL+8F+3747173 218 
T9
Arrow Down
 3
Travis Engle  Kenosha, WI+8F+4737174 218 
T15
Arrow Up
 8
Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI+9F+2777072 219 
T15-Jimmy Morton  Sugar Grove, IL+9F+3737373 219 
T15
Arrow Up
 8
Michael Mattas  Streamwood, IL+9F+2747372 219 
T15-Jordan Less  Elmhurst, IL+9F+3727473 219 
T15
Arrow Down
 6
Samuel Anderson  Stoughton, WI+9F+4727374 219 
T20
Arrow Up
 34
Christopher Colla  Fond du Lac, WI+10F-2787468 220 
T20
Arrow Up
 10
Jack (John) Blair  Wauwatosa, WI+10F+2747472 220 
T20
Arrow Down
 11
David Brock  Mequon, WI+10F+5757075 220 
T23
Arrow Up
 24
William Nummy  Winnetka, IL+11FE797270 221 
T23
Arrow Up
 7
Eddie Wajda  Windermere, FL+11F+3737573 221 
T23-Aidan Lafferty  Downers Grove, IL+11F+4717674 221 
T23-Emmet Herb  Middleton, WI+11F+4697874 221 
T23
Arrow Down
 8
Brady Sarauer  Fond du Lac, WI+11F+5727475 221 
T23
Arrow Down
 8
Johnny Decker  Madison, WI+11F+5747275 221 
T29
Arrow Up
 7
Jacob Beckman  Middleton, WI+12F+2737772 222 
T29
Arrow Down
 6
Joe Weber  Onalaska, WI+12F+5747375 222 
T29
Arrow Down
 6
Kevin Van Rossum  Hartland, WI+12F+5727575 222 
T29
Arrow Down
 20
Ben Skogen  Onalaska, WI+12F+7757077 222 
T29
Arrow Down
 23
Evan Myers  Northbrook, IL+12F+8747078 222 
34
Arrow Down
 2
Michael Bielawski  Waukesha, WI+13F+4757474 223 
T35
Arrow Up
 29
Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI+14F+1787571 224 
T35
Arrow Up
 12
Lukas Heckmann  Middleton, WI+14F+3797273 224 
T35
Arrow Up
 1
Owen Butler  Stoughton, WI+14F+4737774 224 
T35
Arrow Up
 1
Chris Hoff  Hartland, WI+14F+4777374 224 
T35
Arrow Up
 1
Kevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI+14F+4747674 224 
T35
Arrow Down
 3
Isaac Prefontaine  New Franken, WI+14F+5747575 224 
T41
Arrow Up
 29
Jacob Mayer  Delafield, WI+15F+1797571 225 
T41
Arrow Up
 13
Billy McKay  Milwaukee, WI+15F+3737973 225 
T41
Arrow Down
 5
Danny Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI+15F+5777375 225 
T41
Arrow Down
 9
Matt Polivka  Muskego, WI+15F+6717876 225 
T41
Arrow Down
 9
Gabe Dahl  Green Bay, WI+15F+6757476 225 
T46
Arrow Up
 24
Pete Kuhl  Madison, WI+16F+2797572 226 
T46
Arrow Up
 18
Benjamin Pausha  Delafield, WI+16F+3757873 226 
T46
Arrow Up
 1
Ty Mueller  Mequon, WI+16F+5777475 226 
T49
Arrow Up
 21
Zak Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+17F+3748073 227 
T49
Arrow Up
 5
Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA+17F+5737975 227 
T49
Arrow Up
 5
Max Pasher  Mequon, WI+17F+5757775 227 
T49
Arrow Up
 5
Joe DuChateau  Fond Du Lac, WI+17F+5777575 227 
T49
Arrow Down
 2
George Botts  Madison, WI+17F+6757676 227 
T49
Arrow Down
 2
Travis Meyer  River Falls, WI+17F+6777476 227 
T49
Arrow Down
 13
Derek Fiestadt  Kaukauna, WI+17F+7767477 227 
T49
Arrow Down
 13
Ricky Kuiper  Racine, WI+17F+7797177 227 
T49
Arrow Down
 13
Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+17F+7777377 227 
T58
Arrow Up
 12
Cal Meyers  Milwaukee, WI+18F+4777774 228 
T58
Arrow Up
 12
Aaron Gavin  South Milwaukee, WI+18F+4777774 228 
T58
Arrow Down
 4
Ty Kretz  Marinette, WI+18F+6807276 228 
T58
Arrow Down
 11
Kyle Wille  Edgerton, WI+18F+7737877 228 
T58
Arrow Down
 22
P.J. Clemins  Cedarburg, WI+18F+8757578 228 
T63
Arrow Up
 7
Jamozzy Skenandore  De Pere, WI+19F+5767875 229 
T63
Arrow Up
 1
Jeff Glisch  Middleton, WI+19F+6777676 229 
T63
Arrow Down
 9
Michael Kerns  Milwaukee, WI+19F+7757777 229 
T63
Arrow Down
 16
Nick Satina  Madison, WI+19F+8747778 229 
T63
Arrow Down
 27
Phillip Johnson  Colgate, WI+19F+9787279 229 
T63
Arrow Down
 27
Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI+19F+9747679 229 
69
Arrow Down
 54
Matthew Bachmann  Sheboygan, WI+20F+14727484 230 
T70-Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI+21F+7787677 231 
T70
Arrow Down
 6
Zach Dybul  Big Bend, WI+21F+8747978 231 
T70
Arrow Down
 6
Chip Savarie  Madison, WI+21F+8807378 231 
T73
Arrow Down
 3
Cole Stark  Eau Claire, WI+22F+8767878 232 
T73
Arrow Down
 19
Shaun Borre  La Crosse, WI+22F+10757780 232 
T73
Arrow Down
 19
Todd Schaap  Kenosha+22F+10777580 232 
T73
Arrow Down
 19
Matthew Buckley  Elmhurst, IL+22F+10718180 232 
77
Arrow Down
 7
Jim Doing  Verona, WI+24F+10748080 234 
78
Arrow Down
 14
Michael Bastian  Milwaukee, WI+26F+13757883 236 

119th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship: Final-round pairings

Time Players
8:00 AM Matthew Buckley, Elmhurst, IL; Jim Doing, Verona, WI; Michael Bastian, Milwaukee, WI
8:10 AM Cole Stark, Eau Claire, WI; Shaun Borre, La Crosse, WI; Todd Schaap, Kenosha
8:20 AM Cameron Huss, Kenosha, WI; Zach Dybul, Big Bend, WI; Chip Savarie, Madison, WI
8:30 AM Phillip Johnson, Colgate, WI; Jason Jahnke, Kewaskum, WI; Matthew Bachmann, Sheboygan, WI
8:40 AM Jeff Glisch, Middleton, WI; Michael Kerns, Milwaukee, WI; Nick Satina, Madison, WI
8:50 AM Kyle Wille, Edgerton, WI; P.J. Clemins, Cedarburg, WI; Jamozzy Skenandore, De Pere, WI
9:00 AM Cal Meyers, Milwaukee, WI; Aaron Gavin, South Milwaukee, WI; Ty Kretz, Marinette, WI
9:10 AM Derek Fiestadt, Kaukauna, WI; Ricky Kuiper, Racine, WI; Rocky Sperka, New Berlin, WI
9:20 AM Joe DuChateau, Fond Du Lac, WI; George Botts, Madison, WI; Travis Meyer, River Falls, WI
9:30 AM Zak Kulka, Beaver Dam, WI; Ryan Smith, Eatonton, GA; Max Pasher, Mequon, WI
9:40 AM Pete Kuhl, Madison, WI; Benjamin Pausha, Delafield, WI; Ty Mueller, Mequon, WI
9:50 AM Danny Sanicki, Menomonee Falls, WI; Matt Polivka, Muskego, WI; Gabe Dahl, Green Bay, WI
10:00 AM Isaac Prefontaine, New Franken, WI; Jacob Mayer, Delafield, WI; Billy McKay, Milwaukee, WI
10:10 AM Owen Butler, Stoughton, WI; Chris Hoff, Hartland, WI; Kevin Cahill, Waukesha, WI
10:20 AM Michael Bielawski, Waukesha, WI; Adam Garski, Wauwatosa, WI; Lukas Heckmann, Middleton, WI
10:30 AM Kevin Van Rossum, Hartland, WI; Ben Skogen, Onalaska, WI; Evan Myers, Northbrook, IL
10:40 AM Johnny Decker, Madison, WI; Jacob Beckman, Middleton, WI; Joe Weber, Onalaska, WI
10:50 AM Aidan Lafferty, Downers Grove, IL; Emmet Herb, Middleton, WI; Brady Sarauer, Fond du Lac, WI
11:00 AM David Brock, Mequon, WI; William Nummy, Winnetka, IL; Eddie Wajda, Windermere, FL
11:10 AM Samuel Anderson, Stoughton, WI; Christopher Colla, Fond du Lac, WI; Jack (John) Blair, Wauwatosa, WI
11:20 AM Jimmy Morton, Sugar Grove, IL; Michael Mattas, Streamwood, IL; Jordan Less, Elmhurst, IL
11:30 AM Carl Christiansen, Naperville, IL; Travis Engle, Kenosha, WI; Adam Miller, Nekoosa, WI
11:40 AM Austin Erickson, Sparta, WI; Jack Schultz, Whitefish Bay, WI; John Kryscio, Lake Forest, IL
11:50 AM Nick Nelson, Milwaukee, WI; Josh Teplin, Mequon, WI; Garrett Jones, Madison, WI
12:00 PM Matt Tolan, Eau Claire, WI; Zach Place, Roselle, IL; Kevin Paek, Glenview, IL
12:10 PM Thomas Longbella, Chippewa Falls, WI; Tyler Leach, Spring Valley, WI; Nate Thomson, Greendale, WI

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