Another day under par gives Van Galder city title

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print
Eric Schmoldt
July 26, 2015

JANESVILLE—Sam Van Galder is no stranger to playing solid golf.

Perennially he’s a qualifier for the Wisconsin State Amateur Championship and a contender at the Ray Fischer State Medal Play Championship.

But in earning his fifth Men’s City Championship title, the 28-year-old might have played the best tournament of his life.

Van Galder shot a 1-under-par 71 in the final round of the event Sunday at the Janesville Country Club. He finished at 9 under overall and coasted to the championship, topping Sean Halverson by 12 shots. It’s Van Galder’s third city title in four years.

“That’s probably the best three days of golf I’ve ever played, to be honest,” Van Galder said. “I literally did not miss a shot today. On hole one, I aimed way away from the out-of-bounds just to get out there … and that was probably my worst shot.”

Van Galder had already taken the drama out of the tournament by the start of the third round. His 5-under 67 at Riverside in the first round gave him a two-shot lead that ballooned to seven shots after a 3-under 68 at Glen Erin on Saturday.

On Sunday, he bogeyed his first hole for the third straight day. But that was the lone blemish on his card, as he birdied the par-5 fourth and par-4 12th on the way to the day’s only under-par round in the 96-man field.

“I bogeyed the first hole every single day but shot under par every single day, so I don’t know how that works,” Van Galder said. “But after that, I might have missed two fairways all day and missed maybe one green.”

Halverson’s 4-under 31 on his second nine at Glen Erin on Saturday helped him carry some momentum into the final round. He shot the second-best round of the day, a 3-over 75 that also left him at 3 over total.

“Overall, my play was just consistent—nothing really flashy, but did some good things,” Halverson said. “You always hope to win, but it’s going to be pretty tough to beat Van Galder. He’s a better player. He was just super consistent. He was on cruise control.”

Michael Oellerich was third at 5 over. Ryne Clatworthy was fourth (7 over), followed by three-time city champ Brad Bohlman (8 over) and five-time champ Matt Behm (10 over).

In the First Flight, Dustin Richards edged Rick Berry on the second playoff hole after both players finished 24 over for the tournament. Steve Thurner captured the Second Flight at 35 over, while Wayne Hansen (54 over) won the Third Flight.

But the weekend belonged to Van Galder, who had just six bogeys in 54 holes to lead wire to wire in a runaway victory.

“I just hit it really solid. It was fun,” said Van Galder, who entered the city tourney coming off four rounds in as many days at the State Amateur at the 2017 U.S. Open venue, Erin Hills. “It was nice throwing it in there to 10 feet every time and having a look at birdie.”

Van Galder now must decide if he’ll attempt to carry that momentum into a bid to qualify for the Wisconsin State Open. The seventh and final qualifier is Wednesday at the Janesville Country Club.

Share on Facebook Comments Comments Print Print