Harrison Ott waited a long time for his breakout moment this summer at the Wisconsin State Amateur Championship, so what was eight more holes?
The Vanderbilt golfer from Brookfield authored one of the most memorable victories in the 117-year history of the state's premier amateur event at the northernmost venue ever to host the State Am. Ott birdied the eighth hole of the longest playoff in tournament history to end a seven-hour battle with Thomas Longbella, a University of Minnesota golfer from Chippewa Falls, to give Ott his first State Am title and the No. 5 story in Wisconsin.Golf's staff-chosen list of the top 18 of 2018.
The two collegiate stars battled for 26 holes on the final day of the 72-hole event, eight coming after the two survived 72 holes of regulation tied at 9-under-par 279 in between the raindrops on a cool day at Minocqua Country Club.
"That was special," Ott, 19, said of his seven-hour battle against Longbella, 20, who also finished second to Nick Nelson in 2016 in Menasha. "It's (rare) to have two players go almost a flawless eight holes of golf like that."
Ott nearly bowed out of the marathon playoff twice. He got up-and-down for birdie from under a tree on the sixth extra hole (the fourth time they played the 560-yard, par-5 first hole in the playoff) and then he nearly holed a shot from a greenside bunker for eagle on the 545-yard par-5 ninth hole the fourth time through during the playoff and the eighth time he played it for the week.
It was just the fifth playoff since the Wisconsin State Golf Association went to a stroke-play format for the State Am in 1971. Ben Bendtsen of Racine edged Danny Zimmerman of Middleton in a two-hole playoff to win in 2008 at Old Hickory Country Club in Beaver Dam. Pat Boyle (2004), Tom Schurman (1979) and John Pallin (1975) all won their State Am titles in one-hole playoffs.
Ott, who was runner-up to Whitefish Bay's Jack Schultz in the WSGA player-of-the-year race, rode the confidence of his epic State Am victory to a more prominent role with the Commodores. The No. 6 golfer on a team that finished ninth at the NCAA Division I Championship, Ott moved into the top five this past fall and compiled fourth-best scoring average (73.7 in 12 rounds played).
There is only one problem with spending a week in Wisconsin's mesmerizing Northwoods during …
Bob Gregorski has seen his share of eras in Wisconsin amateur golf since the 56-year-old from Menasha with two Wisconsin State Amateur champio…
Hunter Eichhorn is proud to be heading into the final two rounds of this 117th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship with a two-stroke lead.
At this point in his life, Johnny Decker probably feels at one with the pace of Wisconsin's famed Northwoods and he clearly had no trouble set…