The 2021 National Car Rental Wisconsin Assistant PGA Professional Championship came to a close early Monday evening. The twenty-nine professionals that were in the field had just faced the always grueling 36-hole day. With warm, sunny, and relatively benign conditions, it turned out to be quite an exciting day with plenty of birdies to go around.
Jumping out and setting the pace in the morning round was defending champion Blake Jens. The Blackhawk CC teaching professional was able to card seven birdies and an eagle on the way to an opening 66. The score would be good enough to lead by one shot over David Bach and two shots over Tyler Siech and Josh Grisa. Overall nine players were able to break par in the morning round and keep Jens within their sight.
Over the course of the next four hours a see-saw battle would play out with eight players getting into the mix and having a shot to win. The lead changes and momentum swings were happening so fast it was hard to keep track of where things stood.
One those players adding to the excitement was the runner-up from last year’s event, Joaquin Diaz. After an opening 2-under-par 70 the former Cardinal Stritch golfer got off to a hot start in the afternoon, which was followed up with three straight bogeys on his back nine, and finally a flurry of three birdies in his final four holes. The closing stretch of great play would propel him to 4-under-par 68 and a 138 total.
Matching Diaz’s 36-hole total was Bach. A similar theme would play out for the Whistling Straits assistant. He would birdie three of his first eight holes, followed by a stretch with of three bogeys, then close with two birdies on back-to-back par 5s.
“Starting the round, I told myself we had two scoring holes to finish the round,” Bach said. “So, no matter where you are on the leaderboard you really can make up some ground.”
“On no. 18 tee, my second to last hole, I knew I had to go birdie-birdie and luckily I did.”
Coming up just short of the playoff and tying for third was Josh Grisa and Sam Schlosser at 5-under-par 137.
With plenty on the line the duo would decide the victor by way of a hole-by-hole playoff. The 369-yard par-4 10th would be the start and end of the extra golf. For Diaz his second shot would be the difference maker. The North Shore CC assistant professional would knock a 50 degree wedge from 105 yards out to just three feet. After a near birdie miss by Bach from 15 feet, Diaz was able roll in his three-footer for the win.
In addition to the win Diaz was able to punch his ticket to the National Assistant PGA Professional Championship. An accomplishment that certainly made up for last year when he was ineligible to advance to the national event.
“I mean I’m very happy about it,” Diaz said. “This year was a little revenge for me.”
For Bach he was beat by a great golf shot, but as a consolation prize he was able to grab the second and final spot into the national event.
A big thank you goes out to National Car Rental, Hornung’s Golf Products, Cleveland/Srixon/XXIO/Asics and John Deere for their support of the WPGA Assistant Professional Championship.
The WPGA would also like to recognize and thank Morningstar GC for being a gracious host site.