Glen Murray knew it could be an interesting and possibly special day from the start when he was making his way to Waupaca CC on Monday for the WPGA Stableford Classic. The chief operating officer at Geneva National Resort spotted an albino doe on his drive over, and instantly sent out a picture text to multiple individuals indicating the rare sighting.
In Native American culture the sighting of an albino doe is very sacred and can represent prophecy and good fortune.
One those individuals that received that text was his playing partner for the day and fellow competitor, Michael Crowley.
After winning the last WPGA Classic of the season in June at The Club at Lac La Belle, it wouldn’t be a surprise if Crowley went out and did something special. However, this go around was a little different and would almost feature a once in a lifetime moment, twice.
Going along with the theme of rare occurrences for the day, the field of 34 professionals would be playing in a WPGA event on a nine-hole layout. Each player was set to play the hidden gem twice, to create their 18 holes of stableford. Players would experience different tee boxes from the first nine to the second nine, to add some challenge to the day. It would mark the first time the section had held a professional event on a nine-hole layout since visiting Waupaca CC back in 2000.
To add to the rare theme, the field would be playing stableford. Players would receive -1 pt for double bogey or worse, 0 pts for bogey, 1 pt for a par, 3 pts for a birdie, 5 pts for an eagle and 7 pts for a double eagle or better.
As the first group on the course, Crowley, Murray and Brad Lanning, would get the get the opportunity to set the pace. For Crowley the front nine was much like several others. Some ups and downs, as they learned the twists and turns of the layout.
He would get off to a great start with a birdie on no. 1, but back-to-back bogeys on no. 3 and 4 would halt his momentum. The Morningstar GC head professional would regain the momentum on no. 7 with another birdie.
When they arrived at the drivable 274-yard par-4 9th, the group almost witnessed that once in a lifetime moment. Crowley struck a beautiful drive up the hill that landed just short of the flagstick. The ball released perfectly and rolled by the stick. Barely missing a hole-in-one by inches. He’d go on to make birdie and at the turn he had accumulated 13 stableford points.
A misstep on the first hole of the back-nine would be the only bogey the rest of the way. Starting with the fourth hole on the back-nine he would rattle off three birdies in five holes. With an impressive score in sight the group once again approached the par-4 9th, for their 18th and final hole.
With plenty of good vibes and momentum on his side, Crowley once again took driver out. He would hit another piercing drive up the hill on a fantastic line. The ball would hit 15 feet short of the hole and release again. For the second time the ball would roll within a few inches of going in. This time around Crowley would knock in the eight-foot eagle putt, and as it hit the cup the group would celebrate with exuberance.
His impressive round featured six birdies and an eagle, piling up 31 stableford points. He came up just one shot short of the course record with his 5-under-par 65.
Finishing nine points off the pace in second with 22 points was Andy Hansen. The University Club of Milwaukee head professional was the only other player in the field to break par on Monday.
A big thank you goes out to TaylorMade Golf and Harris Golf Cars for their sponsorship of Monday’s event. We greatly appreciate everything each company does to support the section throughout the year.
We’d also like to express our gratitude to Waupaca CC. The course was in terrific shape and the layout was perfect for the stableford format.