Round of the day
Sam Anderson, Stoughton. The rising junior at the University of Wisconsin had seven birdies and three bogeys in an opening-round 68 on The Links Course at the Golf Courses at Lawsonia in Green Lake, giving him a one shot lead at the 118th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship and putting him in the thick of the chase after 18 holes for the third year in a row. A year ago, Anderson opened with a 67 at Minocqua Country Club to trail Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls by one shot and eventually tied for seventh place. Two years ago at Oconomowoc Golf Club, Anderson shot a 69 in the opening round and was three shots behind co-leaders Phillip Johnson and Ben Skogen before finishing the 72-hole event 69-71-72 and tying for sixth place.
Shot of the day
Tyler Leach, Spring Valley. The rising sophomore at Marquette University made one of 12 eagles on Day 1, but the only one recorded on a par-4. He holed an 8-iron from 159 yards on the 436-yard, par-4 for a 2. He shot a 74. "I was on a downhill lie and I knew the ball would come out low," Leach said. "I caught it a little thin but it stayed below the wind. I saw it land on top of the hill (on the green) and roll down the hill. I couldn't see it go in, but some people around the green threw their hands in the air. It was an OK shot and a great result."
Jeremy Wesemann, Cal Meyers & Jakob Garstecki. The front nine on the Links Course was much more forgiving, especially early in the day, than the back was and this threesome of underdogs took full advantage. Garstecki, 24, a former Missouri-Kansas City golfer from Germantown, and Meyers, 23, a former Slinger High School and Bentley University golfer from Richfield, shot bogey-free 33s on the front and each owned the lead standing on the 10th tee. Jeremy Wesemann, 38, a former Cardinal Stritch men's basketball player from Watertown, also went out in 3-under, but had to work for it, bogeying No. 2, bouncing back with birdies at Nos. 4 and 6 and an eagle at No. 9.
Michael Harris, Brookfield & Jacob Beckman, Middleton. Harris, a former University of Michigan golfer who played on the Canadian and what was then known as the Nationwide Tour before regaining amateur status, got off to a great start with birdies at Nos. 2 and 3 only to give them back with bogeys at Nos. 4 and 7. He wasn't nearly as charitable on the back, where he birdied Nos. 11, 15 and 17 for a 3-under 33 and the only bogey-free back nine of anyone in the top 10 until the 15-year-old Beckman — the reigning Wisconsin PGA Junior champion from Middleton playing in the fifth-to-last group of the day — birdied the 18th hole to match him with a 3-under 33. Their twin 69s earned them a share of second place after one round with Badgers golfer Pete Kuehl and Wesemann, one shot behind UW's Samuel Anderson.
Former University of Wisconsin golfer Johnny Decker, who opened with a 2-under 70, on taking the week off from his job at UW Health, "My sister is getting married next weekend so I took a week off of work and I'm celebrating this weekend ... hopefully, with a trophy and a new brother-in-law."
Crossing the tees
Reigning champion Harrison Ott of Brookfield, a Vanderbilt University golfer who won a record eight-hole playoff over University of Minnesota golfer Thomas Longbella a year ago at Minocqua Country Club, is not defending his title title as he and his Commodore teammates focus on a national schedule this summer. Ott shot 76-69-70 over the weekend at The Players Amateur in Okatie, S.C., and missed the 54-hole cut by four strokes. ... There were only four former champions in the field: 2017 champion Matt Tolan, a University of South Dakota golfer from Eau Claire, 2011 winner Mike McDonald of West Bend and two-time champions Pat Boyle of South Milwaukee (2000, 2004) and Bob Gregorski of Menasha (1995 and 1998), who — at 1-under 71 — was the only one among the four to break par in Round 1. ... The average score on opening day was 77.51. ... The hardest hole was the 375-yard, par-4 17th hole, which played to a 4.89 average, had 20 double-bogeys (second only to the 21 on No. 6) and a Day 1-high 16 "others," easily the only hole in double-figures in that category. . ... The easiest hole in the opening round was the 535-yard, par-5 11th hole, which played to a 4.73 average, which edged the 560-yard, par-5 ninth hole (4.78) for that distinction. The five eagles made on No. 11 were the most of any hole as were its 62 birdies. Between Nos. 9 and 11, there were only 10 scores worse than bogey among the 155 golfers. ... First-round leader Sam Anderson's seven birdies were the most on Day 1, but three golfers opened with six — Pete Kuhl (69), former UW-Green Bay golfer Jimmy Albright (72) and West De Pere High School golfer Jamozzy Skenandore (73). And it was every bit as feast or famine for Albright and Skenandore, who combined to make six bogeys, two doubles (both by Albright) and a triple (by Skenandore) to offset the great work they did elsewhere on the course. ... The top 70 and ties advance to the final 36 holes starting Wednesday. ... Erin Hills, the 2017 U.S. Open venue, announced that it will play host to the 2023 State Amateur. It last played host to the event in 2015 when former UW golfer Eddie Wajda III won the title.