Longbella fist bump | state am final

Thomas Longbella, right, fist bumps with Tyler Leach after winning the Wisconsin State Amateur on Thursday. Nate Thomson is back center. Leach and Thomson tied for second at the championship played at Milwaukee Country Club.

RIVER HILLS – It doesn’t get much more anticlimactic in golf than a tap-in for bogey to win a tournament by 10 shots.

Don’t blame Thomas Longbella of Chippewa Falls, though, for sucking all the suspense out of the 119th Wisconsin State Amateur. It wasn’t the University of Minnesota golfer’s fault that he was just that much better than everybody else.

“I mean, he just played a different golf course than the rest of us,” said Nate Thomson of Greendale, who tied for second place. “Hat’s off to him. He played great.”

Longbella took a six-shot lead into the final round at Milwaukee Country Club on Thursday, shot a 1-under 69 – the only sub-par round among the top 17 finishers and one of just three on the day – and steadily built his lead to 11 before the bogey on 18.

When informed that he missed tying the record for biggest victory margin since the State Am went to stroke play in 1971 – Tom Strong won by 11 in 1994 – Longbella let out a groan. Still, he joined just four others who have won the tournament by at least six strokes and became the fifth golfer to win both the WSGA Junior title and the State Amateur in the last 50 years, joining Bob Gregorski, Steve Stricker, Mark Wilson and Hunter Eichhorn.

Longbella broke par in all four rounds (69-67-69-69) for a 6-under 274 total, one shot off the State Am record for lowest winning score. There were only nine other sub-par rounds in the entire tournament.

Perhaps most importantly, he was able to push past the stigma of coming up short three times in this championship, including an eight-hole playoff loss to Harrison Ott in 2018, after he bogeyed the 72nd hole. He also finished second in 2016, after taking a one-shot lead into the final round.

Longbella told himself that he’d built a comfortable lead over the first 54 holes by playing the course his way, and there was no reason to change anything. That’s something he admittedly struggled with in the past. If he had a few fleeting thoughts of déjà vu before the round, they quickly disappeared.

“I was 2-under through five holes (after birdies on Nos. 3 and 5) and I was on cruise control,” he said. “Those feelings went away. I knew I was in control. I think I had that mindset, that I’m playing this golf course with my golf game.”

His pursuers were going to have to make birdies on a Milwaukee CC course that wasn’t in a giving mood and hope Longbella faltered, and neither happened. He turned in 1-under and his playing partners, Tyler Leach of Spring Valley and Thomson, were 1- and 2-over, respectively. Thomson double-bogeyed the 10th hole and Leach doubled No. 14, and that was that.

Leach, a member of the Marquette University team, resigned himself to the fact that he was playing for second place after he made the double.

“I never want to give up,” he said. “But (the realization) probably settled in on 14. I three-putted there, made a pretty dumb double-bogey, and he rolled in a nice birdie putt there. That’s kind of when I knew. Up until then I was fighting, just trying to make as many birdies as I could, but with the pins where they were, it was tough.”

Leach birdied the final hole for a 73 and joined Thomson, who also shot a 73, as co-winners of the B Flight. They finished at 4-over 284.

“I’m really happy with how I played,” said Thomson, a member of the University of Toledo golf team. “I’m content. Thomas played a different game than everybody else. Except for him, everything was pretty bunched up.”

Matt Tolan of Eau Claire and the University of South Dakota also shot a 73 and finished fourth alone at 286. He won the 2017 State Amateur and tied for second last year.

Zach Place of Roselle, Ill., led a contingent of 11 Illinois golfers who made the 36-hole cut, closing with a 74 and finishing fifth at 289, a distant 15 shots back.

Longbella never wavered from the pole position. He bogeyed the par-3 12th from a greenside bunker but quickly showed that the bleeding was nothing more than a paper cut. He gorilla-ripped his drive to within 20 feet of the green on the 385-yard 13th and then made back-to-back birdies on Nos. 14 and 15.

Take that, MCC.

“I mean, I hit 16 greens today,” he said. “I was aiming like I was all week. It was the same thing, honestly. A couple of mistakes, but overall, it was middle-of-the-green and then see how many 20-footers I could get to go in. I feel like I could have shot better today and every other day.”

He failed to save par from the left greenside bunker on No. 18 and marked his bogey putt before carefully tapping in, which only delayed the trophy presentation by a few seconds.

“I stuck to my routine,” he said with a laugh.

On a more serious note, Longbella proved to himself that he’s got what it takes to win at the highest level of amateur golf in Wisconsin.

“It means a lot,” he said. “It’s more of a confidence booster than anything. I haven’t really won any big amateur tournaments. I played really good junior golf and kind of got used to winning and then out here I’ve gotten close a bunch. Eight-hole playoff, lost in that. Lost down the stretch in another State Am. It feels good to kind of have a game plan this week. I just played better than everybody else.”

Of that, there was no doubt.

POS
 
PLAYER
TOTAL
THRU
TODAY
R1
R2
R3
R4
STROKES
 
1-Thomas Longbella  Chippewa Falls, WI-6F-169676969274 
T2-Tyler Leach  Spring Valley, WI+4F+367747073284 
T2-Nate Thomson  Greendale, WI+4F+369687473284 
4-Matt Tolan  Eau Claire, WI+6F+369717373286 
5-Zach Place  Roselle, IL+9F+472687574289 
T6
Arrow Up
 9
Samuel Anderson  Stoughton, WI+10F+172737471290 
T6-Nick Nelson  Milwaukee, WI+10F+471737274290 
T8
Arrow Up
 12
Christopher Colla  Fond du Lac, WI+11F+178746871291 
T8
Arrow Up
 7
Jordan Less  Elmhurst, IL+11F+272747372291 
T8
Arrow Up
 1
Travis Engle  Kenosha, WI+11F+373717473291 
T8
Arrow Up
 7
Adam Miller  Nekoosa, WI+11F+277707272291 
T8
Arrow Up
 1
Jack Schultz  Whitefish Bay, WI+11F+370757373291 
13
Arrow Down
 4
Carl Christiansen  Naperville, IL+12F+474717374292 
T14
Arrow Up
 1
Jimmy Morton  Sugar Grove, IL+13F+473737374293 
T14
Arrow Down
 5
Austin Erickson  Sparta, WI+13F+573737275293 
T14
Arrow Down
 5
John Kryscio  Lake Forest, IL+13F+570757375293 
T14
Arrow Down
 8
Kevin Paek  Glenview, IL+13F+775717077293 
18
Arrow Up
 23
Billy McKay  Milwaukee, WI+14F-173797369294 
T19
Arrow Up
 10
Kevin Van Rossum  Hartland, WI+15F+372757573295 
T19
Arrow Up
 10
Evan Myers  Northbrook, IL+15F+374707873295 
T19
Arrow Up
 4
Emmet Herb  Middleton, WI+15F+469787474295 
T19
Arrow Down
 10
Garrett Jones  Madison, WI+15F+774727277295 
23
Arrow Down
 3
David Brock  Mequon, WI+16F+675707576296 
T24
Arrow Up
 32
Cal Meyers  Milwaukee, WI+17F-177777469297 
T24
Arrow Up
 17
Matt Polivka  Muskego, WI+17F+271787672297 
T24
Arrow Up
 11
Adam Garski  Wauwatosa, WI+17F+378757173297 
T24
Arrow Down
 1
William Nummy  Winnetka, IL+17F+679727076297 
T28
Arrow Up
 13
Danny Sanicki  Menomonee Falls, WI+18F+377737573298 
T28
Arrow Up
 1
Joe Weber  Onalaska, WI+18F+674737576298 
T28
Arrow Down
 5
Brady Sarauer  Fond du Lac, WI+18F+772747577298 
T28
Arrow Down
 8
Jack (John) Blair  Wauwatosa, WI+18F+874747278298 
T32
Arrow Up
 3
Lukas Heckmann  Middleton, WI+19F+579727375299 
T32
Arrow Down
 9
Johnny Decker  Madison, WI+19F+874727578299 
T32
Arrow Down
 3
Jacob Beckman  Middleton, WI+19F+773777277299 
T32
Arrow Down
 9
Aidan Lafferty  Downers Grove, IL+19F+871767478299 
T32
Arrow Down
 17
Michael Mattas  Streamwood, IL+19F+1074737280299 
T32
Arrow Down
 24
Josh Teplin  Mequon, WI+19F+1270777082299 
38
Arrow Up
 18
Ty Kretz  Marinette, WI+20F+280727672300 
T39
Arrow Down
 4
Kevin Cahill  Waukesha, WI+21F+774767477301 
T39
Arrow Down
 16
Eddie Wajda  Windermere, FL+21F+1073757380301 
T41
Arrow Up
 6
Travis Meyer  River Falls, WI+22F+577747675302 
T41
Arrow Up
 6
Ryan Smith  Eatonton, GA+22F+573797575302 
T41
Arrow Down
 6
Isaac Prefontaine  New Franken, WI+22F+874757578302 
T41
Arrow Down
 7
Michael Bielawski  Waukesha, WI+22F+975747479302 
T45
Arrow Up
 11
Aaron Gavin  South Milwaukee, WI+23F+577777475303 
T45
Arrow Up
 2
Max Pasher  Mequon, WI+23F+675777576303 
T45
Arrow Down
 4
Jacob Mayer  Delafield, WI+23F+879757178303 
T48
Arrow Up
 27
Jim Doing  Verona, WI+24FE74808070304 
T48
Arrow Up
 19
Matthew Bachmann  Sheboygan, WI+24F+472748474304 
T48
Arrow Up
 8
P.J. Clemins  Cedarburg, WI+24F+675757876304 
T48
Arrow Down
 1
Zak Kulka  Beaver Dam, WI+24F+774807377304 
T48
Arrow Down
 13
Chris Hoff  Hartland, WI+24F+1077737480304 
T53
Arrow Up
 8
Nick Satina  Madison, WI+25F+674777876305 
T53
Arrow Down
 6
George Botts  Madison, WI+25F+875767678305 
T53
Arrow Down
 8
Ty Mueller  Mequon, WI+25F+977747579305 
56
Arrow Up
 5
Phillip Johnson  Colgate, WI+26F+778727977306 
T57
Arrow Down
 10
Rocky Sperka  New Berlin, WI+27F+1077737780307 
T57
Arrow Down
 12
Benjamin Pausha  Delafield, WI+27F+1175787381307 
T57
Arrow Down
 22
Owen Butler  Stoughton, WI+27F+1373777483307 
T57
Arrow Down
 28
Ben Skogen  Onalaska, WI+27F+1575707785307 
61
Arrow Down
 14
Ricky Kuiper  Racine, WI+28F+1179717781308 
62
Arrow Up
 6
Cameron Huss  Kenosha, WI+29F+878767778309 
T63
Arrow Up
 8
Cole Stark  Eau Claire, WI+30F+876787878310 
T63
Arrow Down
 2
Jeff Glisch  Middleton, WI+30F+1177767681310 
T63
Arrow Down
 16
Derek Fiestadt  Kaukauna, WI+30F+1376747783310 
T66
Arrow Up
 5
Matthew Buckley  Elmhurst, IL+31F+971818079311 
T66
Arrow Up
 5
Todd Schaap  Kenosha+31F+977758079311 
T66
Arrow Down
 10
Kyle Wille  Edgerton, WI+31F+1373787783311 
69
Arrow Down
 8
Michael Kerns  Milwaukee, WI+32F+1375777783312 
T70
Arrow Down
 2
Zach Dybul  Big Bend, WI+33F+1274797882313 
T70
Arrow Down
 2
Chip Savarie  Madison, WI+33F+1280737882313 
T70
Arrow Down
 23
Joe DuChateau  Fond Du Lac, WI+33F+1677757586313 
T73
Arrow Down
 2
Shaun Borre  La Crosse, WI+34F+1275778082314 
T73
Arrow Down
 12
Jason Jahnke  Kewaskum, WI+34F+1574767985314 
75
Arrow Up
 1
Michael Bastian  Milwaukee, WI+39F+1375788383319 
76
Arrow Down
 15
Jamozzy Skenandore  De Pere, WI+40F+2176787591320 
MISSED CUT
MC-Hunter Pipik  New Berlin, WI+15  7679  155 
MC-Brian McCall  Middleton, WI+15  7778  155 
MC-Jackson Bussell  Lincolnshire, IL+15  7679  155 
MC-Joe Forsting  Edgerton, WI+15  7679  155 
MC-Brad Finger  Waukesha, WI+15  7778  155 
MC-Cory Aune  Lake Geneva, WI+15  7976  155 
MC-Larry Blatt  Chicago, IL+15  7778  155 
MC-Logan Larrabee  Lake Mills, WI+15  8075  155 
MC-Jakob Schroeckenthaler  Cottage Grove, WI+16  7878  156 
MC-Tom Halla  Colgate, WI+16  8076  156 
MC-Paul Zarek  Burlington, WI+16  8076  156 
MC-Riley Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+16  7581  156 
MC-Ryonen Faris  Fond du Lac, WI+16  7581  156 
MC-Tom Drill  Sheboygan, WI+16  7779  156 
MC-Peter Flory  Glencoe, IL+16  7284  156 
MC-Ryan Schmus  Brookfield, WI+16  7680  156 
MC-Brian Morris  Shorewood, WI+16  7779  156 
MC-Owen Covey  New Richmond, WI+17  8374  157 
MC-Sean Murphy  Middleton, WI+17  8077  157 
MC-Mike McDonald  West Bend, WI+17  8176  157 
MC-Sam Cianciola  Nekoosa, WI+17  8077  157 
MC-Travis Pronschinske  Oconomowoc, WI+17  7780  157 
MC-Tyler Reitz  Lombard, IL+17  7681  157 
MC-Michael Fastert  Wheeling, IL+17  7384  157 
MC-Mike Roznowski  Leawood, KS+18  7979  158 
MC-PJ Murphy  Middleton, WI+18  7682  158 
MC-Collin Schroeder  Appleton, WI+18  8276  158 
MC-Robbie Morway  Mequon, WI+18  8474  158 
MC-Ryan Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+18  7979  158 
MC-Christopher Weinfurt  Waukesha, WI+18  7781  158 
MC-Garrett Gosh  Wauwatosa, WI+18  7286  158 
MC-Alex Okray  Stevens Point, WI+19  8079  159 
MC-Braden Mork  Madison, WI+19  8079  159 
MC-Josh Kirkham  Hinsdale, IL+19  8574  159 
MC-John Triller  Green Lake, WI+19  8079  159 
MC-Russell Dettmering  Merrill, WI+19  8277  159 
MC-Adam Fazio  Wauwatosa, WI+19  8178  159 
MC-Mason Polivka  Muskego, WI+19  8178  159 
MC-Conner O'Neil  Green Bay, WI+19  7881  159 
MC-Adam McDonald  Waukesha, WI+20  8278  160 
MC-Bennett Swavely  Hudson, WI+20  8278  160 
MC-Paul Koszarek  Waterford, WI+20  7783  160 
MC-Brian Eitel  Racine, WI+20  7684  160 
MC-Benjamin Shafer  Brookfield, WI+20  8080  160 
MC-Tommy Mohs  Madison, WI+21  7982  161 
MC-Matthew Raab  Hartland, WI+21  8180  161 
MC-Greg Bauman  Crystal Lake, IL+21  8180  161 
MC-Marc Shanks  Madison, WI+21  8279  161 
MC-Ben Resnick  Rice Lake, WI+21  7784  161 
MC-Mason Gardner  Waupaca, WI+22  8082  162 
MC-Brian Markle  Verona, WI+22  7884  162 
MC-Daniel Ozga  Edgerton, WI+23  8083  163 
MC-Jon Higley  Strum, WI+23  7984  163 
MC-Kris VanSickle  Peshtigo, WI+23  8083  163 
MC-Nicholas Malahy  Wauwatosa, WI+24  7985  164 
MC-Daniel Romano  Darien, WI+24  8282  164 
MC-Chad Brennan  Eleva, WI+25  8580  165 
MC-Michael Sierakowski  Sheboygan Falls, WI+25  8283  165 
MC-Tom Schoewe  Sun Prairie, WI+25  8382  165 
MC-Eric Christensen  Amery, WI+25  8580  165 
MC-Thomas Wettstein  Milwaukee, WI+25  8085  165 
MC-Joseph Mazurek  Germantown, WI+25  8085  165 
MC-Daniel Hughes  Cedarburg, WI+25  8085  165 
MC-Gregory Wagner  Cambridge, WI+25  7788  165 
MC-Mike Murphy  Fitchburg, WI+26  8680  166 
MC-Ryan Hurab  Oconomowoc, WI+26  8383  166 
MC-Pat Boyle  Greendale, WI+26  8383  166 
MC-John Uekert  West Bend, WI+26  8482  166 
MC-Terry Flesch  Fond du Lac, WI+27  8087  167 
MC-Timothy DeMaster  Berlin, WI+28  8286  168 
MC-Brian J. Kopinski  Chicago, IL+28  8484  168 
MC-Alexander Ho  Milwaukee, WI+29  8683  169 
MC-Scott Erickson  Sparta, WI+29  9376  169 
MC-Trey Hewuse  Tomah, WI+30  8585  170 
MC-Dylan Karvala  New Berlin, WI+30  8783  170 
MC-Chris Kostrewa  Wales, WI+34  8985  174 
WD-Drake Wilcox  Sheboygan, WI+9        
WD-Tim Ertmer  Orono, MN+14        
WD-Pete Kuhl  Madison, WI+16        
JWD-Gabe Dahl  Green Bay, WI+15        

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