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Van Galder leads city golf tournament

By Eric Schmoldt
July 24, 2015

JANESVILLE—Sam Van Galder was ready for a less stressful round of golf.

Janesville's Riverside Golf Course obliged.

Van Galder spent Monday through Thursday trekking around the 7,000-plus-yard Erin Hills course at the Wisconsin State Amateur Championship, where birdies came at a premium.

On Friday, he carded a pair of eagles to shoot 5-under 67 at Riverside in the Men's City Championship. The four-time city champ leads Ryne Clatworthy and Michael Oellerich by two shots heading into Saturday's second round at Glen Erin Golf Club.

“It was a breath of fresh air playing here,” Van Galder said. “It was a little different hitting 5-iron into a par 5 instead of hitting driver, 5-iron, 5-iron into a par 5.

“I never really set an actual number, but anything under par is what my goal is when I'm here. I missed probably three birdie putts inside 10 feet, so it could have been even lower.”

Van Galder was kicking himself after he made bogey on the par-4 first hole but rebounded quickly with a birdie at the second.

He shot a bogey-free 32 on the back nine.

Van Galder's pair of eagles represented 40 percent of the total on the day, as the rest of the 95-player field combined for just three.

“It was fun and nice to play a little more casual round,” Van Galder said. “It still has a tournament feel to it, but it was nice to step up on a tee and not be scared to miss the fairway. (At Erin Hills) if you missed the fairway, it was a bogey. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.”

He played alongside Oellerich, who matched him shot for shot through 17 holes. But a double bogey on 18 left him two shots back.

Clatworthy, who plays for UW-Parkside, birdied the tough par-4 16th and backed it up with another at 17 to also turn in a 3-under 69.

Three-time champion Brad Bohlman and Matt Kempfer were tied for fourth after each shot a 1-under 71.

Five-time and defending city champ Matt Behm opened with a 76.

In a change of format from previous years, the field will not be flighted until after today's second round. The top 25 percent of the field will comprise the championship flight, with the rest broken down into A, B and C flights for Sunday's final round at the Janesville Country Club.