(Vince Suter of the Suter Ward Group, Harrison Ott, & Caddie – Logan Suter)
Write-Up provided by: Rick Pledl
Two of Wisconsin’s top amateur players tried to make state golf history this week in the Sheboygan area, but on Wednesday afternoon it was the defending champion, Harrison Ott, who won the 101st Suter Ward Group at Morgan Stanley Wisconsin State Open Championship.
And he made history, aligning himself with state golf hall-of-famer Bob Brue as the only players to win consecutive State Opens as amateurs.
Ott, who lives in Brookfield and plays for Vanderbilt University, came from behind Wednesday during the State Open’s traditional 36-hole final day, played on the Meadow Valley’s Course at Blackwolf Run in Kohler.
Ott shot 68-68 in his two rounds Wednesday, allowing him to move from five strokes behind early leader Piercen Hunt to four strokes clear of runner-up Zach Burry. Ott finished the tournament at 12-under-par 275.
Ott, 22, said he didn’t want to make it a match between himself and the other members of the day’s final threesome, Hunt and Burry.
“I think it helped to just play my game and not get caught up in match play, because someone from behind could have caught up to us,” Ott said. “I was just trying to shoot the lowest score I could.”
Ott won this State Open – and likely last year’s, too – because he made fewer mistakes than the other players in contention. His steady barrage of fairways, greens and perfectly paced putts was tough to contend with when the tournament was on the line late Wednesday.
Ott, who finished the tournament by going 3 under par on his final six holes, admitted he did well just sort of plotting his way around, hitting his spots.
“On 18 was a good example,” he said, gesturing over his shoulder at the final green, hard against the Sheboygan River. “I hit it off the tee into a spot that was OK. And I hit it on the green in a spot that was OK. So I was just picking my spots to be aggressive, and then you stumble into a few, too.”
Ott stumbled into a couple birdies when he nailed birdie putts in the 20-25-foot range on Nos. 13 and 17.
The 19-year-old Hunt, a sophomore-to-be at Illinois this fall, was trying to become the first player since Brue to win the State Open and the Wisconsin State Amateur in the same season. He won the Amateur in July at Westmoor CC.
Hunt, a resident of Hartland, appeared to be cruising to victory on the back nine Wednesday morning, but then he arrived at the par-5 16th hole, and the tournament made a hard turn. Hunt went for the green in two with a 5-wood but he lost his ball right of the green in some fescue, had to go back to the fairway to replay the shot and then hit it right of the green a second time.
“Honestly, that did unsettle me for a few holes, and we had a pretty quick turnaround between the rounds today,” Hunt said. “I got to the first hole of the final round and my mind was still racing, and that’s something I have to work on controlling.”
Hunt finished the third round with a bogey on 18 to shoot 73, dropping him back to 8 under, tied after 54 holes with Ott and Burry.
On No. 1 in the final round, Hunt hit another ball right off the tee into the fescue, leading to another lost ball and a double bogey.
Afterward, Hunt couldn’t help but look back at three holes that cost him dearly, where he went a combined 9 over par, as he also made a quadruple bogey on the 12th hole in the afternoon 18.
“Aside from those three holes today, I think I was 5 under for the rest of the day,” he said. “So that’s good enough golf that if I play those three the way I should play them, I’m close to keeping pace with (Ott) and giving myself a chance. But I did make those mistakes, and that’s the reality.”
All of which presented Ott with a golden opportunity, and he took full advantage by going 8 under par on his final two rounds.
Ott made his one big error of the final round on the par-5 11th hole.
Ott hit it low and left off the tee on 11, landing in a long fairway bunker. He slipped in the sand on his second – he said he almost fell down – and his shot barely made it to the grass collar.
He couldn’t see the green from that spot, so he lined himself up by aiming for a blade of grass on the top of the sod the embankment right in front of him.
“I hit it barely right of the piece of grass,” Ott said with a laugh, “and next thing you know I’m 45-50 yards right of the fairway. That’s what I was so upset with myself about – I didn’t get lined up properly.”
Burry, a 25-year-old touring pro from Appleton, hung in there for a second place Wednesday with solid rounds of 71-72. That allowed Burry to claim the winner’s share of the pro purse, which was $12,000.
“I have Q-School this fall to pay off, so it’s just going to go toward more golf,” Burry said of his winnings. “It’s going to help a lot.”
Hunt ended up in a tie for third place at 5 under par with professional Samuel Anderson of Stoughton.
The first two rounds of the State Open were held on the Meadow Valleys Course and Pine Hills CC, a private club located a few miles away in Sheboygan. All competitors played one round at each facility prior to Tuesday afternoon’s 36-hole cut.
Amateur Mia Seeman of Milton accepted the State Open’s first-ever exemption for the Wisconsin State Women’s Open champion – a new wrinkle announced in spring by the WPGA Tournament Board. Seeman won this year’s Women’s Open on the Lawsonia Links in June.
Seeman, who plays at South Dakota State, shot 78-82 and missed the State Open cut.
The Wisconsin PGA would like to express our appreciation to the Suter Ward Group at Morgan Stanley for their terrific support of the Wisconsin State Open. It was the fifth straight season that the financial advisory agency has been aboard as the title sponsor of the event. The agency has helped elevate the purse to more than $70,000.
The WPGA would also like to thank our supporting partners, TaylorMade Golf and Sentry. With their important backing the WPGA was able to once again roll out a first class event. For TaylorMade Golf 2021 marked the 19th straight year that they have partnered with the Wisconsin PGA on the State Open.
A big thank you also goes out to our two host facilities, Blackwolf Run and Pine Hills. The clubs rolled out a terrific product for the players to enjoy. Both courses were in excellent shape. In addition the staff at each club provided all the support that was needed to help execute the WPGA’s first two-course State Open at two different venues.
Morgan Stanley Wealth Management, a global leader, provides access to a wide range of products and services to individuals, businesses and institutions, including brokerage and investment advisory services, financial and wealth planning, cash management, lending products and services, insurance, retirement and trust services. Vince Suter, a Family Wealth Advisor is well-positioned to have meaningful conversations about money; to help families set priorities, protect their family enterprise, practice impactful philanthropy and put estate plans in place. He takes great pride in connecting with the next generation to engage them in becoming educated about how family finances affect them. Vince has demonstrated a disciplined, diligent approach to understanding how family circumstances and dynamics can influence and impact short and long-term personal and financial goals. His ability to work with families to develop a framework for their financial future helps them achieve their financial goals.
Morgan Stanley and its Financial Advisors do not provide tax or legal advice, individuals should seek advice based on their particular circumstances from an independent tax advisor.