Weber ready for three-peat try in Men's County Amateur

Older golfers often talk about the "young guns" playing in the La Crosse County Men's Amateur Golf Championship as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse.
A few may be intimidated by the younger players' length off the tee, precise approach shots or care-free swagger. But you can bet your favorite putter the veterans will try their best to silence those long-ball hitting kids of today when they hit the courses this weekend.
The Men’s County Am begins with 18 holes Saturday at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska, followed by 18 holes Sunday at Drugan’s Castle Mound Country Club in Holmen.  
Joe Weber (pictured), a 35-year-old dentist from Onalaska, proved he can play with – or better than - the youngsters when he won his second straight County Am title last year.
Weber fired birdie after birdie to the oohs and aahs of more than 100 spectators following the last group at Castle Mound. In the end, it was all Weber, who finished with a blistering 6-under par 64 and a County Am record 36-hole, 135 total to beat 20-year-old Tyler Church by three strokes. Jake Dunn, 30, finished third with 142, and then 22-year-old Ben Skogen fourth at 143.
Weber returns this year, along with all the young guns and more. Many more County Am veterans also return, hoping for that elusive sport coat or another title and traveling trophy.
Top contenders probably begin with Onalaska's Skogen. The former Hilltoppers' prep star and former member of the University of Wisconsin golf team tied for 13th place in last week's 117th Wisconsin State Golf Association State Amateur Championship. Weber tied for 25th place in the State Amateur after a disappointing 80 in his third round.
"in the State Am, I didn't play too bad, but I was extremely disappointed with my third round," Weber said Monday.
"Skogen is playing really well, and obviously (Josh) Dirks, too. I've heard that Church is not playing as much, but he's really good. And ‘Willie,’ you can never count him out," Weber added, referring to Paul Williamson, 62, the all-time County Am champion with seven titles. Williamson also has four Seniors championships under his belt and finished runner-up to Mike Bistodeau, 61, in last weekend's Seniors County Am at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse.
"Next week? Oh boy, those young kids are tough," said Williamson as he stowed golf clubs in his car trunk after last weekend's Seniors County Am. “We don't get any younger, do we?"
Don't count out Bistodeau, either.
"I'd love to win the Men's because I've never won it, but those younger kids, Tyler, Josh and all the others, they're such good players, and they're so long," Bistodeau said. "I played with Weber in the Lawn Care... man, can he hit the ball."
Bistodeau added that to win this weekend he must putt well, take advantage of scoring opportunities and hope no one goes low like Dirks did in his last round to win the recent Lawn Care Specialists Open at Castle Mound a few weeks ago.
Tom McClintock, 53, last year's Seniors County Am champ, also is wary of the younger players in this year's field, but he remains one of the top contenders for this year's Men's County Am title.
"It will probably take 4 to 5 under par. You can't do that at Cedar," he said about the first-day course where he is a member. "You just have to keep your head above water and then the second day, try to hit the mid to high 60s. Try to shoot around even par at Cedar and then try to get 4 to 5 under at Drugan's."
Meanwhile, Weber is busy at his dental practice this week after basically taking four days off last week for the State Amateur.
"I'm full, full with work. Besides, I was gone all week from my girls," he said of his wife, Christa, and two young daughters.
Although Weber said he won't play much this week, he said he just hopes to "roll a tater and get there."
"As long as I putt well, I'll be fine, but there are a lot of good players," he said when asked if he can three-peat. "That's the goal. That's the goal," he said.
Other winners last year were:
* First Flight: Trevor Schultz, a member at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse, 154.
* Second Flight: Tom Desjarlais, from The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska, 163.
* Third Flight: Monte Jacobson, Fox Hollow Golf Course in Barre Mills, 171.
* Fourth Flight: Joel LaPlount, Drugan's Castle Mound Country Club, 167.

Holmen's Bistodeau wins third Seniors County Am title

Mike Bistodeau is now a three-time winner of the Kwik Trip La Crosse County Seniors Amateur Golf Championship.
Bistodeau, from Holmen, posted a 1-under par 70 at historic Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse on Saturday to add another victory to his 2009 and 2012 titles.
"I putted so well today," he said moments after his victory. I must've made five or six putts from over 20 feet. The greens were running so smoothly."
Bistodeau (pictured) shot identical nines of 35-35 to nip four-time Seniors champ Paul Williamson by two strokes, Donald Colburn, making his first appearance in the Seniors County Am, finished third with 73.
Bistodeau, a longtime competitor in the 36-hole County Amateur Men's Championship next weekend, said he would like to add that first men's title to his resume, but admits, the competition will be stiff.
Those young kids hit the ball so far," he said, with a big smile. "It will be tough."
In other Seniors action, Herb Becker captured First Flight with 77, while Bob Schoen won Second Flight with 81. Bill Burke grabbed the Super Seniors title with a low gross 90 and low net 68.

2018 Kwik Trip Seniors County Amateur Golf Championship                        

Forest Hills Golf Course (par 71)                        
Final Results                        

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT                        
Mike Bistodeau 35-35 70        
Paul Williamson 38-34 72        
Donald Colburn 36-37 73        
Larry Peterson 36-39 75        
Michael Drugan 37-39 76        
Tom Walsh 39-38 77        
Bruce Simones  39-38 77        
Tom McClintock 39-38 77        
Chris Weiss 39-39 78        
Pete Kohnert 35-43 78        
Rahn Pischke 38-41 79        
Bill Feehan 39-40 79        
Bruce Lindseth 40-40 80        
Jim Socha 40-41 81        
Jim Jenkins 40-41 81        
Rick Stewart 44-39 83        
Tom Wilson 38-45 83        
Kelly DeMarino 45-42 87        

FIRST FLIGHT                        
Herb Becker 39-38 77        
Paul Bruha 38-41 79        
Steve Sjolander 40-40 80        
Randy Blank 41-41 82        
Thomas Grapes 42-41 83        
Robert Burns 40-44 84        
Tony Friedl 44-41 85        
Chuck Moore 40-46 86        
Scott Hackworth 45-44 89        
Greg Espenes WD        

SECOND FLIGHT                        
Robert Schoen 37-44 81        
Marv Davis 43-39 82        
James Freng 42-45 87        
Rich Schultz 42-46 88        
Felix Fernandes 46-42 88        
Bob Cagle 42-46 88        
Edward Przytarski 43-46 89        
Bob Roers 44-45 89        
Monte Jacobson 45-45 90        
Bob Sciborski 47-44 91        
Steve Crogan 47-45 92        
Tom Johnson 49-44 93        
Leon McNutt 43-59 102        

SUPER SENIORS                        
William Burke 48-42 90 68    
Ronald Puestow 47-43 90 69    
Jack Glennie 44-46 90 73    
Don Koepnick 45-41 86 74    
Michael DeYoe 44-47 91 77    
Marty Gora 47-49 96 78    
Richard Sater 47-50 97 82    


Onalaska's Hubbard preparing for Women's County Am

ONALASKA, WI - Sydney Hubbard (pictured) admits she was extremely nervous last year as she walked down the 18th fairway at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska.
"I was just so nervous the last hole. I realized I actually had a chance to win," she said.
Hubbard did win the first big tournament of her budding career - the 2017 La Crosse County Women's Amateur Golf Championship as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse. It wasn't easy as she nearly blew a four-shot lead on the final hole, but still finished with an impressive 76.“I ended with a quad (quadruple bogey), but I was able to hold on," said Hubbard, now 19 and a sophomore at the University of Sioux Falls.
Courtney Bergum finished one stroke behind Hubbard in the Championship Flight and probably has the best chance to dethrone the defending champ this year.
Sioux Falls, a member of the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference, is rebuilding, according to Hubbard, who played third, fourth or fifth on most days, but No. 1 and 2 on some days during her freshman year.
Hubbard said her first year at Sioux Falls was pretty good, but she realizes she must improve.
"I played really well in all events in the fall and spring, but had a lot better scores in the spring," she said. "In the conference tournament, I finished in the top 20 and had my low round the last day."
Hubbard also has been working to improve her game as the fall season approaches.
"I'm trying to get out quite a bit, practicing up for the season," she said. "Our coach is definitely expecting to get a lot out of us."
Hubbard said she also is working on the mental part of her game to be mentally strong through 18 holes rather than 17 holes, a lesson she learned from last year's County Am.
Hubbard's summer job finds her in the deli department at the Onalaska Festival Foods store after working in the golf shop at Cedar Creek last year when she met many members.
Barb Hegenbarth, who won her second straight Women's First Flight with 87, has moved up to Championship Flight this year. Hubbard, Hegenbarth and veteran Jo Bistodeau form the last group in the five-player flight.
"Jo Bistodeau and Barb Hegenbarth - I know them from Cedar," Hubbard said. "I'm excited. It's supposed to be a really nice day. It should be fun, although there's a little more pressure on me than last year."
Diane Pintz captured the 2017 Second Flight title with 91. It was her second women's title.Tee times begin at 7:32 a.m., with the final group leaving the tee at 8:12 a.m. Sixteen women are competing this year compared to 18 last year.

Onalaska's Hubbard wins Women's County Am second straight year

ONALASKA, WI - Sydney Hubbard (pictured) won her second straight La Crosse County Women's Amateur Golf Championship as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse on Saturday.
Onalaska's Hubbard, 19, and a sophomore at the University of Sioux Falls, shot 81 at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska.
Jo Bistodeau, a longtime veteran of the Women's County Amateur, finished one stroke behind. Courtney Bergum, last year's runner-up, grabbed third place with 84.
In other women's action, Krista Drewiske captured First Flight with 84, while Terry Ziegelbauer won Second Flight defeating Diane Pintz in a sudden death playoff. They tied with 92 in regulation play.

At The Golf Club at Cedar Creek - par 71
Onalaska, WI
Saturday, July 28, final results
Championship Flight
1. Sydney Hubbard 81
2. Jo Bistodeau 82
3. Courtney Bergum 84
First Flight
1. Krista Drewiske 84
2. Cathi Baus 87

Second Flight
1. Terry Ziegelbauer 92 (Won in Playoff)
2. Diane Pintz 92
3. Linda Payne 96

'Mac' returns to defend Seniors County Am title

Tom McClintock, also known as "Mac" or "Big Mac," hopes to extend his winning streak on Saturday in the Kwik Trip La Crosse County Seniors Amateur Golf Championship at Forest Hills Golf Course.
McClintock won last year's tournament - his first County Am victory in either the Men's or Seniors - saying it was special and that he would like nothing better than to make it two in a row on Saturday.
McClintock's game appears to be coming around after he won the Three Rivers Golf Association VPP Group/Big Sky Cattle Trempealeau Mountain Open last Sunday.McClintock toured the par-71 Trempealeau Mountain Golf Club layout in 5-over 76.
"It's the worst I ever played and won a tournament, if that's sounds right,” he said late Sunday night. “But they always say your best win is your last win because you never know when that last one is going to be."
Now he turns his attention to the Seniors County Am.
McClintock said his game is rusty, but he hopes to turn things around in a few days.
"I was cruising along at Trempealeau and then I lost my focus," he said. "It's between my ears. I just have to get my head together. Hopefully, I will right the ship."
McClintock also said it has been a strange year so far.
"It's been a topsy turvy year for me personally. It's definitely not where I normally am at this time of the year, but my back still bothers me every day," he said.
Last year's 18-hole Seniors County Am was moved from Forest Hills to The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska after more than 7 inches of rain just days before the event resulted in Forest Hills being unplayable. Thus, the switch to Cedar Creek, McClintock's home course. It may have helped, although the runner-up was longtime friend and Cedar Creek member Paul Williamson. McClintock finished with a 2-under 69. Williamson, or "Willie," who has four Seniors titles under his belt and is the all-time Men's tournament champion with seven, finished runner-up with 72.
Ironically, one year earlier, Williamson defeated McClintock in a sudden death playoff for the Seniors title at Forest Hills.
The tournament returns this year to Forest Hills, a historic, tree-lined course of which McClintock is wary.
"I haven't played Forest Hills that well. At Forest, I can't get the ball to the hole and drop in," he said.
Without suggesting the greens may be somewhat slower than what he is used to putting on at Cedar, he admitted he must improve other areas of his game, too.
"I have to be on with my wedges," said the former Mid-America race driver and regular at the La Crosse Fairgounds Speedway in West Salem for many years, adding that Forest Hills challenges him.
"It was the same at Rockford Speedway. I really struggled there. I had some good races, I had a couple of top fives, but never won a feature," he added.
Forest Hills, a relatively short course for Seniors playing to 5,729 yards from the white tees, demands accuracy, not length. However, it allows more players, especially those who can't hit the ball quite as far, a chance to win.
"Willie would be in agreement with me. Lots of guys can win there,” McClintock said, naming past champions Pete Kohnert, Bruce Simones, Williamson and newcomer Tom Walsh as among the favorites.
"Forest isn't overly long. It's a thinking man's course. It brings a lot of guys together. It's good competition," he added.
While McClintock said 2 to 3 under par is very feasible, he added a lot of guys can do that.
"It just depends if you get hot or not. However, you have to get the ball in the hole and I don't do that very well down there," he said.
Keith Stoll, Forest Hills PGA professional and general manager, believes the course will be in great shape for the 48-player field.
"Looking at the course conditions, maybe even 69 could win it this year," he said. "The greens are rolling beautiful. I know. I played it last night (Monday) and they are fine."
Stoll said the entire layout is in good shape. A few areas were affected by heat earlier this summer, but they have recovered well.
"The course conditions won't hinder anybody's play," Stoll said, adding that course superintendent Roy Janzen and staff have taken extra steps for the best seniors tournament in western Wisconsin.
"Roy and his crew certainly take pride in setting it up for this championship-type tournament. They have been working hard to set it up," Stoll said. "They are double cutting the greens all week to not only pick up speed but get truly consistent roll. By Saturday they will be as pure as we get."
In other flights last year, Paul Bruha defeated Randy Blank in a two-hole, sudden death playoff for the First Flight title. Bruha, who won his second straight First Flight title, and Blank finished regulation play with 78 each. Marty Gora captured Second Flight honors with 87, while Lloyd Payne won last year’s inaugural Super Seniors Flight for players 70 and older with a low net 62.