Because the leaders made the flip at Riverside Golf Course on Sunday afternoon, I frantically smashed the refresh button on my cellphone’s internet browser.
For the primary time, the scores on the Ray Fischer Newbie Championship had been being up to date hole-by-hole. I wanted to see precisely the place issues stood with 9 holes to play.
About 45 minutes later, I began making a steady loop. From the 18th inexperienced at Riverside, throughout the sixth fairway over to the 16th inexperienced. Then stroll 17 with a gaggle that had a participant in competition for the title, observe a few of 18 after which again over to the 16th inexperienced.
100 5 days handed between the WIAA boys basketball sectional between Beloit Turner and Edgerton and the beginning of the Fischer on Friday. No stay sporting occasions throughout that span—save for possibly a small junior golf event, a neighborhood pickleball recreation, some digital operating races or a pickup basketball recreation.
And when the solar rose Sunday for the 36-hole finale of the Fischer, there was no scarcity of storylines.
At one level early Sunday morning, the highest three (and ties) of the leaderboard learn like a sports activities editor’s dream:
- Matt Tolan, of Eau Claire, making an attempt to steer the event from begin to end after ending second a yr in the past.
- Sam Van Galder, six-time Janesville males’s metropolis event champion, following up his Fischer-best 65 on Saturday with one other 65 within the third spherical to be proper in competition.
Matt Behm, five-time Janesville males’s metropolis champion and the 2006 Fischer winner, tied for third.
Edgerton’s Joe Forsting, who gained a WIAA Division 2 state boys golf title in 2019, additionally proper there.
And the final two Fischer winners—Owen Butler (2019) and Jack Schultz (2019), additionally lurking in a tie for third.
You’ll discover I didn’t point out Joe Weber. The 36-year-old dentist from Onalaska wasn’t on that leaderboard. He didn’t even actually take into account himself in competition—even when he shot an 8-under 64 within the third spherical Sunday morning. That’s as a result of Tolan had additionally shot 64 and appeared poised to run away with the victory.
However 36 holes over 9 or 10 hours is an extended day. Lots can occur.
Most of these names I discussed both pale again down the board or not less than by no means factored within the race on the again 9.
Even there, nobody gave the impression to be going low, and I believe everybody simply assumed Tolan would prevail.
Van Galder’s group had in all probability two dozen followers, and so they watched as his two taking part in companions posted the clubhouse lead at 18 below. Van Galder completed 12th at 12 below.
One group again, Weber and his taking part in companions had precisely zero followers once I noticed them on 17. I assume that’s what the professionals really feel like proper now with no spectators, nevertheless it nonetheless felt odd that not one had a spouse or guardian or girlfriend following alongside.
After seeing the course-record 62 tied within the third spherical, Weber’s 68 to shut out the event and submit 19 below felt stable however didn’t actually flip any heads.
Tolan had 4 holes to play and wanted to birdie one and par the remainder and he’d win. He’d had 23 birdies or higher and simply six bogeys as much as that time, so yet one more appeared lifelike. However then he burned the sting for birdie on Nos. 15, 16 and 17. A wayward drive on 18 had him scrambling to try to make par and pressure a playoff, although he mentioned he didn’t understand it on the time. This time it was a par putt that burned the fitting edge.
Weber, who had completed play about an hour earlier, was—considerably immediately and surprisingly—the winner.
And so although these attention-grabbing storylines early by no means got here to fruition, the event ended with drama, final highs and lows, a comeback, and one other veteran newbie golfer successful a event that till half a decade in the past was dominated by the school children.
A lot enjoyable. I stay to look at sports activities and to put in writing about them. In order that 105 days had been painful. We’ve achieved our greatest to get by, and there are definitely larger points on this nation than not having sports activities, however was thrilling to have sports activities again on the radar.
That mentioned, protecting an occasion additionally got here with a big selection of ideas and feelings.
As a lot as I need sports activities again, is now the fitting time? With COVID-19 numbers hovering in sure areas of the nation and not less than seeing an uptick round right here?
Was there sufficient social distancing happening? That’s not a query or a phrase I may have contemplated the final time I coated sports activities, however right here we’re. I nonetheless noticed a couple of handshakes and high-fives, and the teams that had followers, typically six ft aside was an afterthought. At instances, I even did some math in my head for myself and realized I in all probability wanted to make some extra distance.
The event itself was not with no optimistic check. Two gamers withdrew after the primary spherical as a result of one among them examined optimistic regardless of being asymptomatic and the opposite had been involved with the primary. Event officers appeared to deal with that in addition to attainable, letting the remainder of the golfers know of the optimistic check and thru a little bit of tracing confirming the contaminated participant had not been within the clubhouse or a cart and had minimal contact with different gamers, workers or spectators.
All of this—from the acquainted drama and feelings of competitors to the wariness and what-ifs of well being—shall be a part of no matter sports activities we’re going to have within the close to future, and possibly past.
The July sports activities schedule round right here is normally fairly mild, and this yr is perhaps even lighter. However the scheduled begin of highschool soccer apply is precisely 5 weeks from as we speak.
Will that occur? What’s going to college appear to be come fall? After which past that, what do sports activities appear to be? The Huge Eight Convention athletic administrators met nearly Monday and scheduled a July 21 assembly to speak about fall sports activities after getting additional steering from state and native authorities.
I need all of it again simply as a lot as anybody. I obtained to see the fun of victory and agony of defeat Sunday, and it solely fueled my hearth to look at stay sports activities and to inform their tales.
However security should be the No. 1 precedence. And in that regard, greater than 100 days later there are nonetheless so many coronavirus questions on the market.
And regardless of what number of instances I smash that refresh button, the solutions nonetheless aren’t there.