Write Up Provided By: Rick Pledl
In a development that should surprise no one, Jim Schuman won the Wisconsin State Senior Open Championship on Wednesday for the third time in five years.
Schuman, 55, won the State Senior Open at The Bog in Saukville by a comfortable six strokes, thanks mostly to a terrific round he put together in the first round Tuesday under extremely windy conditions. The result was a 4-under-par 68, which provided the only under-par round on the first day of the tournament. He closed with a 70 Wednesday to finish at 6-under 138.
Schuman, who spends his summers in Wisconsin – as a PGA teaching professional at Blue Mound G&CC – and his winters in Arizona, has garnered both Wisconsin PGA Section player of the year and senior player of the year honors the last two seasons.
That’s a tremendous accomplishment – one that had never before been accomplished – but Schuman may be on his way to turning the trick for a third time this season.
“Hopefully, knock on wood, we can make it three,” he said Wednesday. “You know, I would never have thought (I would do) it. I don’t know what to say about it except it’s a huge accomplishment. I’m blessed to be healthy, and I just enjoy getting out there and competing with these guys.”
Schuman, who finished third overall at the Morgan Stanley Wisconsin State Open in August, took a major step toward a third consecutive season as a double player of the year with his win at The Bog.
Schuman didn’t hit the ball as well in the second round as he did in the first, but he didn’t have to because he opened the day with that four-stroke lead over amateur Tom Chambers of Union Grove, who opened with a 72. The third member of the final threesome Wednesday was PGA professional Jeff Bisbee, one of five players who opened the tournament Tuesday with scores of 74.
“Today was OK,” said Schuman, who admitted he was feeling sick in the week leading up to the tournament. “I knew it was going to be tough – I wasn’t feeling great. Yesterday was a really difficult day, and today, I don’t know, maybe I was just low on energy.”
Schuman, recorded five birdies Wednesday, offset by three bogeys. One of the bogeys came on the short, but diabolical, 12th hole at The Bog, which features a rock-strewn hazard right in front of a shallow putting surface.
Schuman’s approach on No. 12 came up short of the green and bounced off a rock, flying back some 35 yards to a safe spot in the rough on the fairway side of the hazard. Ever the competitor, Schuman suggested that might have been a bad break for him because the ball could have bounced forward onto the green instead of in the other direction. Either way, it cost Schuman only one stroke when it could have been worse.
“It’s not an easy golf course – I don’t care what length they set it up at,” he said. “If you make a mistake, you just make a big number, that is what the issue is. It’s OK to make a couple bogeys, but you just have to stay away from double bogeys and triple bogeys.”
Schuman was the only member of the final threesome to shoot under-par in the final round, as Chambers shot 77 and Bisbee closed with a 76.
That left the door open for Jason Zahradka of New Richmond, who shot a final-round 69. Zahradka, who at 50 years old played in the State Senior Open for the first time, climbed all the way from a tie for ninth place into the runner-up position. Zahradka also finished as the low amateur.
Zahradka, who recorded three birdies and no bogeys in the final round, said he had low expectations coming into the event because he’d never played it before. He opened with a 75 and finished at even-par 144.
“I was just looking to compete and have a good time, so this is beyond my wildest expectations,” Zahradka said. “I actually hit the ball well, and I was never really in trouble. I have no complaints.”
PGA Professional Charlie Brown of Sturtevant finished third overall with scores of 74-71–145.
There was a tie for fourth place at 146 between PGA Professional John Freeman of Muskego (75-71) and amateur Jim Doing of Verona (74-72).
The Wisconsin State Senior Open was visiting The Bog for the second time ever this week (2004). In mid-July the club graciously stepped in as the host site. Originally set to be played at Nakoma Golf Club, the Madison club deferred hosting to a future year after approving a fall drainage project.
The Wisconsin PGA would like to express our appreciation to the two supporting partners of the Wisconsin State Senior Open. The Suter Group – Morgan Stanley and TaylorMade Golf provided all the support that was needed to help put together a great two days for the participants.
A great deal of gratitude also goes out to The Bog and their staff for all their efforts. The club embraced the opportunity to step in as the host site and made the transition happen seamlessly. The course was also well conditioned and provided a terrific playing field for the players.