Write Up Provided By: Rick Pledl
Jim Schuman has gotten bit a few times in playoffs at the annual Wisconsin State Senior Open in recent seasons, but there would be none of that at Reedsburg CC on Thursday afternoon.
Schuman, a 54-year-old resident of Scottsdale who teaches at Blue Mound G&CC in the summertime, shot the lowest score in the first round Wednesday (67) and the lowest score in the second round Thursday (70) to finish at 7-under-par 137. Schuman won the title by a comfortable seven strokes and won $1,250 from the pro purse.
Tied for second at even-par 144 were two more professionals, Peter Krause of Milwaukee shot 72-72, while Charlie Brown of Sturtevant shot 71-73.
After winning the 2015 State Senior Open at The Legend at Bristlecone, Schuman lost sudden-death playoffs the last two years – first to John Freeman of Muskego in 2016 at Timber Ridge GC and last year to Waukesha’s Eddie Terasa at Tuckaway CC.
“It was nice to come out of this one without having to play any extra holes,” Schuman said Thursday with a laugh.
This year, Schuman took a four-stroke lead over five players into the final round, thanks to his immaculate opening round of 67, featuring five birdies and no bogeys. The wind came up for the final round, however, sending scores higher.
Schuman held a six-stroke lead at the turn after shooting 35 on the front nine Thursday, including an important par on the par-4 ninth hole. Competitors were bleeding strokes right and left on the slanted ninth green in the final round, which was exposed to the wind and swirling with fallen leaves.
On the back, Schuman hit only two of seven fairways but still recorded another 1-under-par 35 on the inward nine.
“It was tougher today than yesterday with the wind,” Schuman said, “but you just gotta grind it out.”
The leaderboard tightened up on the front nine for a time Thursday morning, as 50-year-old professional Kelly Berger of Mosinee made a run with three straight birdies on Nos. 4-6. However, he suffered a triple bogey on the par-4 eighth hole, which played dead into the wind.
“I was tooling along until we got to No. 8, and I took a big number there,” Berger said. “We made the turn, and then I got at least one of them back. I just wanted to get into the clubhouse with a decent number.”
Berger’s number Thursday was 74, allowing him to finish in a four-way tie for eighth place. He opened Wednesday with a round of 73.
Competitors where allowed to mark, lift, clean and place balls through the green for this year’s State Senior Open – an unusual concession by tournament officials because the Reedsburg/Baraboo area sustained major flooding in late August and early September. The tournament was originally scheduled for Sept. 4-5, then postponed until this week.
There was still water in a few bunkers Thursday, as well as some wet, soft turf here and there, leading to less-than-perfect tournament golf conditions. But the Wisconsin PGA Section was probably fortunate the tournament was played at all.
“As far as the golf course, it’s amazing we were even playing if you saw those pictures of what this place looked like after those rains came,” Schuman said afterward. “It’s a tribute to the superintendent, the golf professional and the members. This community has been through a ton. So it’s fun to be here but, honestly, playing golf should take a backseat to what happened to a lot of the people around here.”
There was a tie for low amateur honors among a couple of new State Senior Open players. Tom Chambers of Union Grove and Todd Schaap of Kenosha, both 50 and playing the event for the first time, finished with identical scores (71-74–145) in a tie for fourth place.
When asked to talk about their rounds Thursday, Chambers and Schaap each referenced the difficult conditions posed by windy, wet Reedsburg CC.
“I hit the ball better than (my) score, but it’s a challenging golf course,” Chambers said. “It can be hard to figure out what direction the wind is coming from. There’s a lot of crosswinds here.”
Schaap said: “I played well both days, but the golf course was wet, and it played long for me.”
Amateur Jeff Lister of Greendale recorded the only other under-par round on Thursday, aside from Schuman, with a 71. Lister made four birdies and three bogeys in the finale, allowing him to move into a tie for eighth place.
Terasa, the defending champion, tied for 12th place (73-75–148).
The Wisconsin State Open Series is proudly supported by the Vince Suter Group of Morgan Stanley and TaylorMade Golf. The WPGA would like to thank both entities for their partnership and support of the series throughout 2018. With their help the WPGA was able to once again roll out three fantastic events.
A great deal of gratitude also goes out to staff and membership at Reedsburg CC. After the severe flooding weeks ago the club and their maintenance staff worked at great lengths to prepare the golf course for the event. The extra effort is truly appreciated. In addition to the course preparation the club also did a very nice job of making sure all the other important aspects of hosting were covered properly.