Competitive golf made its return to the Wisconsin Section, PGA on Tuesday as the 2020 schedule got underway with the rescheduled Spring Pro-Pro Better Ball. It wasn’t business as usual but that was perfectly fine for the 84 participants that teed it up. For the field it was a chance to enjoy some time on the course, a little friendly competition, and to provide a short distraction from the daily news cycle.
Best practices, safety precautions and social distancing guidelines were in place, just as they have been since golf has returned during the Covid-19 pandemic. One of the biggest changes for the players was a paperless event featuring electronic scoring.
Once all those scores had been inputted in phones and tabulated, it was the dark horse duo of Foy Swenson and Daniel Romero coming out on top. The twosome put together a bogey free score of 8-under-par 63 in the better ball format. Their score featured eight birdies, including one on the closing hole that sealed the deal. The final birdie by Romero would provide them with a one shot win over John Gaschke and Ryan Helminen.
In addition to the Better Ball event the day also doubled as qualifying for the season long Four-Ball Match Play Championship. Earning the spots would be the top 16 and ties from eligible teams. The odd sized bracket was set up to avoid a playoff for the final spots and encourage players to depart the course after their round was over. All told 20 teams at even-par or better would find their way into the bracket.
Grabbing the early highlight of the day was Mark Voeller of Golf Galaxy, as he made his fifth career ace by using a six iron on the 178 yard second hole.
Our season opening event would not have been possible without the great support of our event partners. Just as the competition, the activation and sponsor recognition might have been a little different, but the appreciation level by the participants was unchanged. A big thank you goes out to Harris Golf Cars (Scott Harris & Jim Gaugert), Bushnell (Tracy Lick) and Complete Office of Wisconsin (Andrew Cain).
The WPGA would also like to recognize Meadowbrook CC and Head PGA Professional, Jason Samuelian for hosting. The traditional parkland golf course gave players an easy walk, and also provided a stress free venue for the staff to start working on the “new normal” of running events.