Write-Up provided by Rick Pledl (email@example.com) and the Wisconsin PGA staff
Cameron Huss pulled away this week to win the 103rd Suter Ward Group at Morgan Stanley Wisconsin State Open Championship at SentryWorld, a tournament that was extended to a fourth day due to inclement weather.
The leaderboard was tight all week – as was the tournament schedule after heavy rain soaked the Stevens Point area on Monday morning, causing close to a four-hour delay for unplayable course conditions.
Wisconsin PGA Section tournament officials tried to catch-up, but the fourth round still wasn’t completed on time Wednesday evening.
So Huss, a native of Kenosha, and his closest pursuer, professional Harrison Ott, still had four holes to play Thursday morning. The duo left the course Wednesday evening with Huss in the lead at 2-under-par, while Ott was three strokes behind at 1-over.
But Ott bogeyed his first hole, the par-4 15th, after the re-start Thursday morning, which placed him four back with three holes to play, allowing Huss to cruise on the final holes.
“It was definitely a different situation, having to come back in the morning for four holes,” Huss said. “But I knew four pars was going to get it done, and that’s what I tried to do.”
After the re-start Thursday morning, Huss did indeed record four pars to win the title. Each par was the product of solid ball-striking and makeable birdie putts that turned into routine two-putts.
For Ott the bogey on no. 15 kind of took the wind out of his sails, and although he knew he was basically playing for second place, it didn’t stop him from nearly holing out on the par-4 17th. From about 100 yards out the 2-time champion knocked it to the lip of the hole and came that close to cutting the lead to two. The great shot even came from within a divot.
It would put a little scare into Huss, but the Kenosha Tremper graduate knew he was playing too well to be beat. As he stood on the 18th tee box, he still had a comfortable three stroke lead, and that’s where it remained. Huss shot scores of 72-71-69-70 for the week to finish at 2-under-par 282 and win his first Wisconsin State Open Championship.
Huss, 21, is about to embark on his senior season on the University of Wisconsin golf team in a few weeks, so the timing of this win could not be better. This was his last tournament before heading back to Madison.
Earlier this summer, Huss won the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship in June and finished second at the Wisconsin State Amateur in July. Becoming the first player to win both the Ray Fischer and Wisconsin State Open in the same season.
“It feels really good,” Huss said of the win. “I’ve been knocking on the door all summer.”
Ott, a 24-year-old professional from Brookfield, shot 67-73-76-69 on the week to finish at 285, three strokes off the lead to finish runner-up. The finish helped deliver him the $14,000 prize check reserved for the low professional.
Unable to defend in 2022 due to a scheduling conflict with the PGA Tour Canada, it was the first chance for Ott to return to the State Open after his back-to-back victories in 2020 and ’21 as an amateur.
While the other contenders slipped up and down the leaderboard like they were wearing rolling skates over the final two rounds, Huss kept his cool and played steady golf. And his scores for the week reflected that steady play. He made just one double bogey in 72 holes, early in his first round on Monday.
Others were not so fortunate. Second-round leader Adam Miller of Nekoosa shot 83 in the third round. And Ott also fell back in the third round with a 76, but he rallied in the disjointed final round to shoot 69.
Huss, on the other hand, moved up in round three with a solid round of 69.
SentryWorld played to a par of 71 this week, as the ninth hole was changed to a par-4, just as it was during the U.S. Senior Open, which the course hosted in July.
And it was a stern test for Wisconsin’s best golfers, as Huss was the only player to finish under par for the week.
“We had some rain to begin with, but then the wind just seemed to increase all week,” Huss said of the course condition. “It blew pretty hard (Wednesday), and the greens got fast. Fairways were at a premium.”
Also playing consistent golf and tying for third at 3-over 287 were professionals Michael Crowley of Fox Point and George Kneiser of Oconomowoc. Crowley shot 71-73-71-72, while Kneiser put up scores of 72-73-72-70.
Former Michigan State golfer and new Wisconsin resident Sam Weatherhead shot 70-73-71-74–288 to finish fifth.
The defending champion, Daniel Mazziotta of Wisconsin Rapids, finished 22nd this year, shooting scores of 70-76-76-76–298.
Next year’s Wisconsin State Open heads to the northwoods, as it visits Minocqua Country Club on August 19-21, 2024.
The Wisconsin PGA would like to express our appreciation to the Suter Ward Group at Morgan Stanley for their continued support of the Wisconsin State Open. For seven straight years the financial advisory group has made a big difference in the championship. We are fortunate to have them as a title partner.
The WPGA would also like to thank our supporting partners, TaylorMade Golf and Sentry. They once again played a key role in the championship and we truly appreciate their contributions. For TaylorMade Golf 2023 marked the 21st straight year that they have partnered with the Wisconsin PGA on the State Open.
A big thank you also goes out to everyone at SentryWorld. The staff did a fantastic job, adapting to all the changes that were required with the weather altered schedule. To commit to host the U.S. Senior Open and the Wisconsin State Open in the same season is unprecedented and very impressive.
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