Thomas Longbella | 2020 state am 2nd rd

Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls watches the action during the second round Tuesday of the Wisconsin State Amateur at Milwaukee CC. Longbella is the leader heading into Wednesday’s third round.

RIVER HILLS – Played on a course that demands patience and discipline and punishes impudence and bravado, the 119th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship is looking, at the halfway point, a lot like a U.S. Open.

Milwaukee Country Club, a carpet of perfection laid over a foundation of treachery, demands a golfer’s full attention for four-plus hours, especially on shots into, around and on the greens. A momentary lapse in concentration, a poor decision or a miscalculation of wind or yardage brings swift retribution.

Only three players broke par Tuesday, and after 36 holes just two in the starting field of 156 were under par for the championship, while 88 failed to break 75 in either round. The average score in the second round was 77.42, or nearly 7½ strokes over par on the nearly century-old Harry Colt-C.H. Alison masterpiece. There have been no eagles, and 14-over made the 36-hole cut.

“I know, for me, I’m just kind of staying positive, honestly,” said Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls, who grinded out a 67 and was the leader at 4-under 136. “If I do hit it in a bad spot where I have to chip it to 15 feet, that’s what I’m going to do and I’m going to try to make those putts. I think a lot of guys get upset. As soon as you start firing at pins out here, you’re going to make big numbers.”

Longbella, headed back to the University of Minnesota for a fifth year of eligibility after the spring season was cut short by the coronavirus pandemic, made four birdies in an eight-hole stretch from No. 6 to No. 13, but the highlight of his round was spectacular par saves on the final two holes.

On the 230-yard par-3 17th, he missed the green right and was short-sided, but hit a superb flop shot to within 3 feet. On the 18th, his 7-iron from 200 yards finished well right of the green. With the pin on the far left and the green sloping away from him, he hit a good pitch some 15 feet past the hole and made the putt coming back.

“Those saves were massive,” he said. “Massive. That was honestly kind of the polar opposite of yesterday, when I was giving myself so many opportunities and the momentum was always with me. Today, I was just grinding. I did not hit my driver well. It was good to see that I can still put up a number without hitting it well.”

Tom Halla, one of Longbella’s playing partners the first two days, concurred.

“In the wind yesterday, he didn’t miss a fairway,” Halla said. “Today, calm, he hit it all over the place off the tee. But he’s a very confident swinger of the golf club and he putts exceptionally well. He’s got a great disposition. He looks like he’s having fun when he’s playing. Maybe I learned something.”

If Longbella is having fun, he doesn’t have much company. Frivolity is not the first word that comes to mind at Milwaukee CC. In the second round, eight pins were just four paces from the left or right edge of the green and four more were five paces from the edge. Shades of Shinnecock Hills.

Nate Thomson | 2020 state am 2nd rd

Nate Thomson, right, of Greendale shares at fist bump with playing partner Zach Place after the two competed the second round Tuesday at the Wisconsin State Am. Thomson sits in second place and Place, from Roselle, Ill., is in a tie for third.

“There’s no reason to go for them, honestly,” said Nate Thomson of Greendale, who shot a 68 and trailed Longbella by one stroke at 3-under 137. “The pins are so tucked that if you miss on the wrong side, you’re definitely going to be penalized at least one stroke, if not two.

“I’ve been playing really conservative and just trying to hit the middle of greens and putt from the middle out. It’s been working really well so far.”

Longbella, a two-time State Amateur runner-up, and Thomson, a member of the University of Toledo golf team, were the only players under par for the championship.

Zach Place of Roselle, Ill., a rising sophomore at Northern Illinois University, matched Thomson’s 68 and was tied for third with Matt Tolan of Eau Claire at even-par 140. Place led a contingent of Illinois qualifiers who entered the State Amateur after the Chicago District Golf Association canceled or postponed all of its 2020 tournaments because of COVID-19.

Matt Tolan | 2020 state am 2nd rd

Matt Tolan of Eau Claire hits the drive to begin his second round at the 2020 Wisconsin State Amateur.

“This course is unreal,” Place said. “It looks like a U.S. Open course. All the pins are tucked, which they should be. It’s a good test. I’m just trying to hit to the middle of the green and hopefully you make the putt. Get it in the fairway first, then get it 25 feet from the hole and see if you can make it.”

Tolan, a University of South Dakota golfer and the 2017 State Amateur champion, opened with a 69 but went backward on the front nine Tuesday with bogeys on Nos. 6, 8 and 9. He was frustrated walking to the 10th tee and credited his father and caddie, Dan Tolan, for calming him down.

“Walking off nine, my caddie told me to regroup and get a couple pars together,” Matt Tolan said. “He’s got some knowledge on the bag and knows my game. He basically calmed me down.”

He made three consecutive pars, then rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the 13th and followed it with a 5-footer on No. 14 and a 7-footer on No. 15. The little run put him back in a good frame of mind and he finished with a 71, despite a bogey on the long par-3 17th.

“I feel like I’m in a great position,” Tolan said. “I really haven’t looked at the leaderboard. I’m not a big leaderboard watcher. I don’t like to get those numbers in my head. I kind of just like to go play golf and have fun. I’m hitting the ball great and I feel like I’m in a good position going into the last 36 holes.”

Tyler Leach | 2020 state am 2nd rd

Tyler Leach, the leader after the first round of the Wisconsin State Amateur, putts on the 18th green on Tuesday at Milwaukee CC. Leach dropped to fifth place heading into Wednesday’s third round.

Tyler Leach of Spring Valley, the first-round leader with a 67, made a pair of double-bogeys en route to a 74 and was alone in fifth place at 1-over 141. The Marquette University golfer said he hit the ball well, but got a bad break or two and misjudged the wind on a couple of shots.

“I actually played better than I did yesterday,” he said. “If I play this well tomorrow, I’ll be fine.”

The third round promises to be interesting. Bill Linneman, director of rules and competitions for the Wisconsin State Golf Association, set up the course so that the ninth hole will play as a 270-yard, drivable par-4, and the 17th will be a 268-yard, uphill par-3.

“Par is really irrelevant,” said Hartland’s Kevin Van Rossum, tied for 23rd at 147. “Everyone is going to play basically two similar holes.”

As for Longbella, his game plan is simple: wash, rinse, repeat.

“I’m going to try to keep doing the same thing,” he said. “That’s the goal. Get the driver straightened out for tomorrow, hit some more fairways. I’m just thinking about playing the golf course and just plodding my way around it.”

1-Thomas Longbella  Chippewa Falls, WI-4F-36967  136 
2-Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI-3F-26968  137 
T3-Zach Place  Roselle, ILEF-27268  140 
T3-Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WIEF+16971  140 
5-Tyler Leach  Spring Valley, WI+1F+46774  141 
T6-Evan Myers  Northbrook, IL+4FE7470  144 
T6-Nick Nelson  Milwaukee, WI+4F+37173  144 
T6-Travis Engle  Kenosha, WI+4F *+17371  144 
T9-Ben Skogen  Onalaska, WI+5FE7570  145 
T9-Samuel Anderson  Stoughton, WI+5F+37273  145 
T9-Carl Christiansen  Naperville, IL+5F+17471  145 
T9-David Brock  Mequon, WI+5FE7570  145 
T9-Jack Schultz  Whitefish Bay, WI+5F+57075  145 
T9-John Kryscio  Lake Forest, IL+5F+57075  145 
T15-Kevin Paek  Glenview, IL+6F+17571  146 
T15-Johnny Decker  Madison, WI+6F+27472  146 
T15-Garrett Jones  Madison, WI+6F+27472  146 
T15-Austin Erickson  Sparta, WI+6F+37373  146 
T15-Brady Sarauer  Fond du Lac, WI+6F+47274  146 
T15-Matthew Bachmann  Sheboygan, WI+6F *+47274  146 
T15-Jordan Less  Elmhurst, IL+6F+47274  146 
T15-Jimmy Morton  Sugar Grove, IL+6F *+37373  146 
T23-Emmet Herb  Middleton, WI+7F *+86978  147 
T23-Michael Mattas  Streamwood, IL+7F *+37473  147 
T23-Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI+7F *E7770  147 
T23-Josh Teplin  Mequon, WI+7F+77077  147 
T23-Kevin Van Rossum  Hartland, WI+7F *+57275  147 
T23-Joe Weber  Onalaska, WI+7F+37473  147 
T23-Aidan Lafferty  Downers Grove, IL+7F *+67176  147 
T30-Jack (John) Blair  Wauwatosa, WI+8F *+47474  148 
T30-Eddie Wajda  Windermere, FL+8F+57375  148 
T32-Gabe Dahl  Green Bay, WI+9F *+47574  149 
T32-Isaac Prefontaine  New Franken, WI+9F *+57475  149 
T32-Michael Bielawski  Waukesha, WI+9F *+47574  149 
T32-Matt Polivka  Muskego, WI+9F+87178  149 
T36-Jacob Beckman  Middleton, WI+10F+77377  150 
T36-Ricky Kuiper  Racine, WI+10F *+17971  150 
T36-Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+10F *+37773  150 
T36-Kevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI+10F *+67476  150 
T36-Owen Butler  Stoughton, WI+10F *+77377  150 
T36-Danny Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI+10F *+37773  150 
T36-Chris Hoff  Hartland, WI+10F+37773  150 
T36-Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI+10F+67476  150 
T36-Derek Fiestadt  Kaukauna, WI+10F+47674  150 
T36-P.J. Clemins  Cedarburg, WI+10F *+57575  150 
T36-Phillip Johnson  Colgate, WI+10F+27872  150 
T47-Lukas Heckmann  Middleton, WI+11F+27972  151 
T47-William Nummy  Winnetka, IL+11F+27972  151 
T47-Nick Satina  Madison, WI+11F *+77477  151 
T47-Travis Meyer  River Falls, WI+11F+47774  151 
T47-Ty Mueller  Mequon, WI+11F *+47774  151 
T47-George Botts  Madison, WI+11F *+67576  151 
T47-Kyle Wille  Edgerton, WI+11F+87378  151 
T54-Matthew Buckley  Elmhurst, IL+12F *+117181  152 
T54-Christopher Colla  Fond du Lac, WI+12F *+47874  152 
T54-Todd Schaap  Kenosha+12F *+57775  152 
T54-Ty Kretz  Marinette, WI+12F+28072  152 
T54-Michael Kerns  Milwaukee, WI+12F+77577  152 
T54-Billy McKay  Milwaukee, WI+12F *+97379  152 
T54-Joe DuChateau  Fond Du Lac, WI+12F+57775  152 
T54-Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA+12F *+97379  152 
T54-Max Pasher  Mequon, WI+12F+77577  152 
T54-Shaun Borre  La Crosse, WI+12F *+77577  152 
T64-Jeff Glisch  Middleton, WI+13F+67776  153 
T64-Chip Savarie  Madison, WI+13F+38073  153 
T64-Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI+13F *+57875  153 
T64-Zach Dybul  Big Bend, WI+13F+97479  153 
T64-Benjamin Pausha  Delafield, WI+13F+87578  153 
T64-Michael Bastian  Milwaukee, WI+13F *+87578  153 
T70-Jacob Mayer  Delafield, WI+14F *+57975  154 
T70-Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI+14F+67876  154 
T70-Pete Kuhl  Madison, WI+14F+57975  154 
T70-Cole Stark  Eau Claire, WI+14F *+87678  154 
T70-Jim Doing  Verona, WI+14F *+107480  154 
T70-Aaron Gavin  South Milwaukee, WI+14F *+77777  154 
T70-Cal Meyers  Milwaukee, WI+14F *+77777  154 
T70-Jamozzy Skenandore  De Pere, WI+14F *+87678  154 
T70-Zak Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+14F *+107480  154 
MC-Hunter Pipik  New Berlin, WI+15F+97679  155 
MC-Brian McCall  Middleton, WI+15F+87778  155 
MC-Jackson Bussell  Lincolnshire, IL+15F+97679  155 
MC-Joe Forsting  Edgerton, WI+15F+97679  155 
MC-Brad Finger  Waukesha, WI+15F *+87778  155 
MC-Cory Aune  Lake Geneva, WI+15F *+67976  155 
MC-Larry Blatt  Chicago, IL+15F *+87778  155 
MC-Logan Larrabee  Lake Mills, WI+15F *+58075  155 
MC-Jakob Schroeckenthaler  Cottage Grove, WI+16F *+87878  156 
MC-Tom Halla  Colgate, WI+16F+68076  156 
MC-Paul Zarek  Burlington, WI+16F *+68076  156 
MC-Riley Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+16F+117581  156 
MC-Ryonen Faris  Fond du Lac, WI+16F *+117581  156 
MC-Tom Drill  Sheboygan, WI+16F+97779  156 
MC-Peter Flory  Glencoe, IL+16F+147284  156 
MC-Ryan Schmus  Brookfield, WI+16F *+107680  156 
MC-Brian Morris  Shorewood, WI+16F+97779  156 
MC-Owen Covey  New Richmond, WI+17F *+48374  157 
MC-Sean Murphy  Middleton, WI+17F+78077  157 
MC-Mike McDonald  West Bend, WI+17F+68176  157 
MC-Sam Cianciola  Nekoosa, WI+17F *+78077  157 
MC-Travis Pronschinske  Oconomowoc, WI+17F *+107780  157 
MC-Tyler Reitz  Lombard, IL+17F *+117681  157 
MC-Michael Fastert  Wheeling, IL+17F+147384  157 
MC-Mike Roznowski  Leawood, KS+18F+97979  158 
MC-PJ Murphy  Middleton, WI+18F *+127682  158 
MC-Collin Schroeder  Appleton, WI+18F+68276  158 
MC-Robbie Morway  Mequon, WI+18F+48474  158 
MC-Ryan Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+18F+97979  158 
MC-Christopher Weinfurt  Waukesha, WI+18F *+117781  158 
MC-Garrett Gosh  Wauwatosa, WI+18F *+167286  158 
MC-Alex Okray  Stevens Point, WI+19F+98079  159 
MC-Braden Mork  Madison, WI+19F *+98079  159 
MC-Josh Kirkham  Hinsdale, IL+19F *+48574  159 
MC-John Triller  Green Lake, WI+19F *+98079  159 
MC-Russell Dettmering  Merrill, WI+19F *+78277  159 
MC-Adam Fazio  Wauwatosa, WI+19F *+88178  159 
MC-Mason Polivka  Muskego, WI+19F+88178  159 
MC-Conner O'Neil  Green Bay, WI+19F+117881  159 
MC-Adam McDonald  Waukesha, WI+20F *+88278  160 
MC-Bennett Swavely  Hudson, WI+20F *+88278  160 
MC-Paul Koszarek  Waterford, WI+20F+137783  160 
MC-Brian Eitel  Racine, WI+20F *+147684  160 
MC-Benjamin Shafer  Brookfield, WI+20F *+108080  160 
MC-Tommy Mohs  Madison, WI+21F *+127982  161 
MC-Matthew Raab  Hartland, WI+21F+108180  161 
MC-Greg Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+21F+108180  161 
MC-Marc Shanks  Madison, WI+21F *+98279  161 
MC-Ben Resnick  Rice Lake, WI+21F+147784  161 
MC-Mason Gardner  Waupaca, WI+22F+128082  162 
MC-Brian Markle  Verona, WI+22F+147884  162 
MC-Daniel Ozga  Edgerton, WI+23F *+138083  163 
MC-Jon Higley  Strum, WI+23F *+147984  163 
MC-Kris VanSickle  Peshtigo, WI+23F+138083  163 
MC-Nicholas Malahy  Wauwatosa, WI+24F+157985  164 
MC-Daniel Romano  Darien, WI+24F+128282  164 
MC-Chad Brennan  Eleva, WI+25F *+108580  165 
MC-Michael Sierakowski  Sheboygan Falls, WI+25F *+138283  165 
MC-Tom Schoewe  Sun Prairie, WI+25F+128382  165 
MC-Eric Christensen  Amery, WI+25F *+108580  165 
MC-Thomas Wettstein  Milwaukee, WI+25F+158085  165 
MC-Joseph Mazurek  Germantown, WI+25F *+158085  165 
MC-Daniel Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+25F *+158085  165 
MC-Gregory Wagner  Cambridge, WI+25F+187788  165 
MC-Mike Murphy  Fitchburg, WI+26F *+108680  166 
MC-Ryan Hurab  Oconomowoc, WI+26F *+138383  166 
MC-Pat Boyle  Greendale, WI+26F+138383  166 
MC-John Uekert  West Bend, WI+26F *+128482  166 
MC-Terry Flesch  Fond du Lac, WI+27F *+178087  167 
MC-Timothy DeMaster  Berlin, WI+28F *+168286  168 
MC-Brian J. Kopinski  Chicago, IL+28F *+148484  168 
MC-Alexander Ho  Milwaukee, WI+29F+138683  169 
MC-Scott Erickson  Sparta, WI+29F+69376  169 
MC-Trey Hewuse  Tomah, WI+30F *+158585  170 
MC-Dylan Karvala  New Berlin, WI+30F+138783  170 
MC-Chris Kostrewa  Wales, WI+34F+158985  174 
WD-Drake Wilcox  Sheboygan, WI+9        
WD-Tim Ertmer  Orono, MN+14        

119th Wisconsin State Amateur: Wednesday's pairings

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

More from this Section