Tyler Leach, Spring Valley/Marquette University

Tyler Leach of Spring Valley and Marquette University shot a 2-under 67 to take the lead after the first round of the 119th Wisconsin State Amateur at Milwaukee CC.

RIVER HILLS – Even with Hunter Eichhorn, Harrison Ott and Piercen Hunt missing from the field, the leaderboard after the first round of the 119th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship had the look and feel of an invitational for the state’s top college players Monday.

Tyler Leach of Spring Valley, just weeks from starting his redshirt junior season at Marquette, fired a 3-under 67 at renowned Milwaukee Country Club to take a two-stroke lead over four others: Matt Tolan (University of South Dakota), Emmet Herb (University of St. Thomas-Minnesota), Thomas Longbella (University of Minnesota) and Nate Thomson (University of Toledo).

Eichhorn, Leach’s teammate at Marquette and the defending State Amateur champion, is playing in the 118th Western Amateur this week, as are Vanderbilt’s Ott, who won the State Am in 2018, and Hunt, a University of Illinois recruit. The Western Amateur, a national invitational, gets under way Tuesday at Crooked Stick in Carmel, Ind.

Thomas Longbella

Thomas Longbella

“Obviously, it probably does dilute the field a little bit not having them here,” Leach said. “That’s the short answer. But at the same time, you still have to hit good shots and go out and play well if you want to win, it doesn’t matter what the field is. I think any of these players can win on any given week. It’s unfortunate they’re not here, but they’re playing in a national tournament, so I don’t blame them.”

On a day that started muggy and overcast, turned sunny and breezy and ended with Milwaukee CC playing firm and fast, the course held up its end of the bargain as arguably Wisconsin’s premier championship venue.

The Golden Age Colt-Alison design, tweaked in recent years by Tom Doak, is a demanding second-shot course, with slick greens protected by deep bunkers and run-offs.

In that way, it’s a lot like Augusta National, where it’s not just good enough to be somewhere on the green. A golfer must be in the correct portion of the green, depending on the hole location. Get careless or greedy on your approach and bogey becomes the goal, with double-bogey entering the equation.

“It’s definitely a second-shot course,” Herb said. “The fairways are super generous. But especially with some back pins, every green is kind of shaved down in the back. It makes it tough to be as aggressive as you want to be.”

Leach, who tied for 10th in the 2019 State Am and won the Crooked Stick Invitational last fall for his first collegiate victory, was masterful at controlling the flight and distance of his iron shots.

“I felt like I did a really good job of being disciplined and sticking to my routine on every shot,” he said. “I was able to pinpoint where exactly I wanted to land it on the green and pick specific targets, and I did a pretty good job of hitting those targets. I didn’t really get myself in trouble at all. It was pretty stress-free, to be honest.”

Leach made five birdies – tied for most in the field – against two bogeys. Starting on the back nine, he made a 15-footer on No. 11 and a 12-footer on No. 12 before bogeying the par-3 17th to make the turn in 34. Then he made three consecutive birdies starting on No. 3, where he hit the green in two on the par-5 and two-putted. A 7-iron that rode the wind on the par-4 fourth hole led to a 6-footer for birdie and he completed the run with another 6-footer on No. 5 to get to 4-under. He made his only other bogey on No. 6.

“Today, a lot of the pins were tucked,” he said. “I don’t know if it’s going to be like that tomorrow or the rest of the week. I’m going to try to stick to my process and analyze everything I need to before each shot and just kind of take what the course gives me.

“I didn’t force anything today, and I think if I can do that the next 54 holes, I like my chances at the end of the week.”

Matt Tolan

Matt Tolan

Tolan, of Eau Claire, led the morning wave with his 69. He won the State Am in 2017 and tied for second last year. He also tied for second in the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship last month, missing a playoff when he bogeyed the 72nd hole, and finished solo second in the 2018 Fischer.

“Mission accomplished,” Tolan said. “Fairways and greens out here are really important. That’s the ticket, hitting a lot of the middle of greens and two-putting for pars. You’re not going to (lose ground) with pars. It’s definitely a hard golf course.”

Like Tolan, Longbella and Herb will return to their respective college teams this fall, taking advantage of the extra year of eligibility the NCAA awarded spring sports athletes whose 2020 seasons were canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.

Herb, a three-time NCAA Division III All-American from Middleton, plans to turn pro after he graduates in December and will try to qualify for the PGA Tour’s MacKenzie Tour-Canada in the spring. Longbella’s plan, for now at least, is to play for the Gophers in both the fall and spring seasons.

Thomson, a semifinalist in the WSGA Match Play Championship earlier this year, was alone in second place at 2-under until he bogeyed the 325-yard ninth hole, his 18th.

“I saw the scores earlier today and I saw there weren’t very many low scores,” he said. “I have never played out here. I think I played out here when I was 13 for a junior event, but I didn’t play a practice round. It was good just to play conservative today and putt toward the pins from the middle of the greens. I’m really happy with it.

“The bogey on nine, I thought I hit a good shot and that pin is just crazy today.”

Four players were tied for sixth place with even-par 70s: Josh Teplin of Mequon; Jack Schultz of Whitefish Bay; Marquette’s Aidan Lafferty; and John Kryscio of Lake Forest, Ill., one of nearly two dozen qualifiers from Illinois who entered the Wisconsin State Amateur because the Chicago District Golf Association canceled or postponed all of its 2020 tournaments.

“I feel great,” said Kryscio, 20, who is transferring from Miami of Ohio to Fordham University, where he’ll try out for the golf team. “I got it to 3-under. I was playing really good and then I made a double on the par-5 (third hole). But overall, I’m really happy with my round. I’m right in there.”

Teplin, 18, a Homestead High School graduate, switched his focus from soccer to golf as a freshman and has made rapid strides. He will attend the University of Wisconsin this fall and has talked to UW coach Michael Burcin about trying to walk on to the golf team.

“He said they’re at roster maximum right now,” Teplin said. “But I would love to try to have a chance to at least walk on or get a tryout.”

1Tyler Leach  Spring Valley, WI-3F *-367   67 
T2Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WI-1F *-169   69 
T2Emmet Herb  Middleton, WI-1F-169   69 
T2Thomas Longbella  Chippewa Falls, WI-1F *-169   69 
T2Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI-1F *-169   69 
T6Josh Teplin  Mequon, WIEF *E70   70 
T6Jack Schultz  Whitefish Bay, WIEF *E70   70 
T6John Kryscio  Lake Forest, ILEF *E70   70 
T9Aidan Lafferty  Downers Grove, IL+1F+171   71 
T9Matt Polivka  Muskego, WI+1F *+171   71 
T9Matthew Buckley  Elmhurst, IL+1F+171   71 
T9Nick Nelson  Milwaukee, WI+1F *+171   71 
T13Kevin Van Rossum  Hartland, WI+2F+272   72 
T13Brady Sarauer  Fond du Lac, WI+2F *+272   72 
T13Matthew Bachmann  Sheboygan, WI+2F+272   72 
T13Garrett Gosh  Wauwatosa, WI+2F+272   72 
T13Jordan Less  Elmhurst, IL+2F *+272   72 
T13Peter Flory  Glencoe, IL+2F *+272   72 
T13Samuel Anderson  Stoughton, WI+2F *+272   72 
T13Zach Place  Roselle, IL+2F *+272   72 
T21Billy McKay  Milwaukee, WI+3F+373   73 
T21Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA+3F+373   73 
T21Eddie Wajda  Windermere, FL+3F *+373   73 
T21Jimmy Morton  Sugar Grove, IL+3F+373   73 
T21Travis Engle  Kenosha, WI+3F+373   73 
T21Michael Fastert  Wheeling, IL+3F *+373   73 
T21Kyle Wille  Edgerton, WI+3F *+373   73 
T21Jacob Beckman  Middleton, WI+3F *+373   73 
T21Owen Butler  Stoughton, WI+3F+373   73 
T21Austin Erickson  Sparta, WI+3F *+373   73 
T31Jack (John) Blair  Wauwatosa, WI+4F+474   74 
T31Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI+4F *+474   74 
T31Zach Dybul  Big Bend, WI+4F *+474   74 
T31Zak Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+4F+474   74 
T31Joe Weber  Onalaska, WI+4F *+474   74 
T31Evan Myers  Northbrook, IL+4F *+474   74 
T31Nick Satina  Madison, WI+4F+474   74 
T31Johnny Decker  Madison, WI+4F *+474   74 
T31Kevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI+4F+474   74 
T31Garrett Jones  Madison, WI+4F *+474   74 
T31Michael Mattas  Streamwood, IL+4F+474   74 
T31Isaac Prefontaine  New Franken, WI+4F+474   74 
T31Carl Christiansen  Naperville, IL+4F *+474   74 
T31Jim Doing  Verona, WI+4F+474   74 
T45David Brock  Mequon, WI+5F *+575   75 
T45Riley Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+5F *+575   75 
T45Ryonen Faris  Fond du Lac, WI+5F+575   75 
T45Michael Kerns  Milwaukee, WI+5F *+575   75 
T45Michael Bielawski  Waukesha, WI+5F+575   75 
T45George Botts  Madison, WI+5F+575   75 
T45P.J. Clemins  Cedarburg, WI+5F+575   75 
T45Max Pasher  Mequon, WI+5F *+575   75 
T45Michael Bastian  Milwaukee, WI+5F+575   75 
T45Benjamin Pausha  Delafield, WI+5F *+575   75 
T45Shaun Borre  La Crosse, WI+5F+575   75 
T45Kevin Paek  Glenview, IL+5F *+575   75 
T45Ben Skogen  Onalaska, WI+5F *+575   75 
T45Gabe Dahl  Green Bay, WI+5F+575   75 
T59Jamozzy Skenandore  De Pere, WI+6F+676   76 
T59Jackson Bussell  Lincolnshire, IL+6F *+676   76 
T59Derek Fiestadt  Kaukauna, WI+6F *+676   76 
T59Tyler Reitz  Lombard, IL+6F+676   76 
T59Brian Eitel  Racine, WI+6F+676   76 
T59Joe Forsting  Edgerton, WI+6F *+676   76 
T59Ryan Schmus  Brookfield, WI+6F+676   76 
T59Hunter Pipik  New Berlin, WI+6F *+676   76 
T59PJ Murphy  Middleton, WI+6F+676   76 
T59Cole Stark  Eau Claire, WI+6F+676   76 
T59Tim Ertmer  Orono, MN+6F+676   76 
T70Danny Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Ty Mueller  Mequon, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Cal Meyers  Milwaukee, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Travis Pronschinske  Oconomowoc, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Chris Hoff  Hartland, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Tom Drill  Sheboygan, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Paul Koszarek  Waterford, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Joe DuChateau  Fond Du Lac, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Ben Resnick  Rice Lake, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Brad Finger  Waukesha, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Christopher Weinfurt  Waukesha, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Gregory Wagner  Cambridge, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Larry Blatt  Chicago, IL+7F+777   77 
T70Brian Morris  Shorewood, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Travis Meyer  River Falls, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Brian McCall  Middleton, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Todd Schaap  Kenosha+7F+777   77 
T70Jeff Glisch  Middleton, WI+7F *+777   77 
T70Aaron Gavin  South Milwaukee, WI+7F+777   77 
T70Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI+7F+777   77 
T91Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI+8F+878   78 
T91Phillip Johnson  Colgate, WI+8F *+878   78 
T91Conner O'Neil  Green Bay, WI+8F *+878   78 
T91Jakob Schroeckenthaler  Cottage Grove, WI+8F+878   78 
T91Christopher Colla  Fond du Lac, WI+8F+878   78 
T91Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI+8F *+878   78 
T91Brian Markle  Verona, WI+8F *+878   78 
T98Nicholas Malahy  Wauwatosa, WI+9F *+979   79 
T98Ryan Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+9F *+979   79 
T98Cory Aune  Lake Geneva, WI+9F+979   79 
T98Lukas Heckmann  Middleton, WI+9F *+979   79 
T98Jacob Mayer  Delafield, WI+9F+979   79 
T98Mike Roznowski  Leawood, KS+9F *+979   79 
T98William Nummy  Winnetka, IL+9F *+979   79 
T98Ricky Kuiper  Racine, WI+9F+979   79 
T98Pete Kuhl  Madison, WI+9F *+979   79 
T98Tommy Mohs  Madison, WI+9F+979   79 
T98Jon Higley  Strum, WI+9F+979   79 
T109Joseph Mazurek  Germantown, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Daniel Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Benjamin Shafer  Brookfield, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Logan Larrabee  Lake Mills, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Mason Gardner  Waupaca, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Sean Murphy  Middleton, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Terry Flesch  Fond du Lac, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Sam Cianciola  Nekoosa, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Alex Okray  Stevens Point, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Tom Halla  Colgate, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Paul Zarek  Burlington, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Braden Mork  Madison, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Daniel Ozga  Edgerton, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Ty Kretz  Marinette, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109John Triller  Green Lake, WI+10F+1080   80 
T109Chip Savarie  Madison, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Thomas Wettstein  Milwaukee, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T109Kris VanSickle  Peshtigo, WI+10F *+1080   80 
T127Greg Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+11F *+1181   81 
T127Adam Fazio  Wauwatosa, WI+11F+1181   81 
T127Mason Polivka  Muskego, WI+11F *+1181   81 
T127Mike McDonald  West Bend, WI+11F *+1181   81 
T127Matthew Raab  Hartland, WI+11F *+1181   81 
T132Daniel Romano  Darien, WI+12F *+1282   82 
T132Russell Dettmering  Merrill, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Marc Shanks  Madison, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Timothy DeMaster  Berlin, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Michael Sierakowski  Sheboygan Falls, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Adam McDonald  Waukesha, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Bennett Swavely  Hudson, WI+12F+1282   82 
T132Collin Schroeder  Appleton, WI+12F *+1282   82 
T140Pat Boyle  Greendale, WI+13F *+1383   83 
T140Owen Covey  New Richmond, WI+13F+1383   83 
T140Ryan Hurab  Oconomowoc, WI+13F+1383   83 
T140Tom Schoewe  Sun Prairie, WI+13F *+1383   83 
T144Brian J. Kopinski  Chicago, IL+14F+1484   84 
T144John Uekert  West Bend, WI+14F+1484   84 
T144Robbie Morway  Mequon, WI+14F *+1484   84 
T147Chad Brennan  Eleva, WI+15F+1585   85 
T147Trey Hewuse  Tomah, WI+15F+1585   85 
T147Josh Kirkham  Hinsdale, IL+15F+1585   85 
T147Eric Christensen  Amery, WI+15F+1585   85 
T151Alexander Ho  Milwaukee, WI+16F *+1686   86 
T151Mike Murphy  Fitchburg, WI+16F+1686   86 
153Dylan Karvala  New Berlin, WI+17F *+1787   87 
154Chris Kostrewa  Wales, WI+19F *+1989   89 
155Scott Erickson  Sparta, WI+23F *+2393   93 
WDDrake Wilcox  Sheboygan, WI+9        

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