The four flight winners in the recent La Crosse County Men’s Amateur Golf Championship as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse are unique stories in their own right.
The gruelling 36-hole tournament was postponed by heavy rain and flooding when the host courses - Drugan’s Castle Mound Country Club in Holmen and The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska - were deemed unplayable on Aug. 7-8. It was the first time in the 31-year history of the revived tournament that it was postponed.
The event was eventually held Aug. 28-29 and had plenty of drama with Joe Weber grabbing his third Championship Flight title and the $750 gift card and plaque.
Brandon Uffelman won Fourth Flight, Eric Davidson Third Flight, Rahn Pischke Second Flight and Trevor Schultz First Flight. All four First through Fourth Flight champions won a $400 gift card and a plaque commemorating their titles.
Uffelman, 55, made his tournament return a memorable one with 87 on the final day for a two-round 85-87-172.
Uffelman believed he played in one previous County Am, probably 20 years ago.
“I was just hoping to be competitive going in. It felt great to win,” said Uffelman, adding that he certainly intends to return.
It was Davidson’s very first County Amateur as he came from behind to win with 91-80-171. Davidson’s 80 allowed him to move ahead of Keith Seidel and Andrew Lindseth, who were tied
after Day 1. Seidel (85-90, 175) and Kevin Drewiske (88-87, 175) tied for second, while Lindseth (85-93, 178) shared fourth with Leon McNutt (90-88, 178).
“It feels great to be a County Am champion,” Davidson said. ”I am humbled by the great level of competition I faced and it was just my day on Sunday. I was happy to rebound from the poor Saturday score on my home course at Drugan’s.”
Davidson, 50, also plans to return.
“I do plan on competing in future County Am tournaments and getting into some TRGA events next year. This was my second tournament ever, but I enjoy the competition,” he said.
“I really enjoyed meeting other golfers, and it is a good bunch of guys who enjoy golf and have a fun time playing… and a good sense of humor too,” Davidson added.
Pischke, a longtime entry, won First Flight in 2014 as well as finishing runner-up several times.
He also fared well in his first Kwik Trip Seniors County Amateur in 2014.
“I tied for first place in the Seniors Championship Flight, but lost in a playoff on the third hole,” he said.
Bruce Simones defeated Pischke.
“I have been playing in the County Am for many, many years and always enjoy the competition and camaraderie,” said Pischke, who is also a longtime sponsor with Pischke Motors. “Of course it is a great feeling to win and it is very satisfying, but it’s fun to have the pressure of competing with other great golfers.”
Pischke, 65, and Gavin Olson finished first and second, respectively, after holding those positions entering Sunday’s final round.
Pischke shot 84 for a two-round score of 160, while Olson finished at 164 after his 85.
“I had a three-shot lead after a good round of 76 at Drugan’s on Saturday, but Cedar was playing tough on Sunday and I shot a 44 on first nine while Gavin shot a 42,” said Pischke, recalling his final round. ”So, with a one-shot lead going into the second nine, I knew I had to do better. I got five pars on the first six holes and one bogey, faltered on 16 with a double bogey and bogeyed the last two holes to shoot a 40 which ended up being a four-shot lead in the end.”
Win or lose, Pischke is assured to return in 2022.
“Yes, I plan to keep playing in both the Seniors and regular County Amateurs for the foreseeable future,” he said.
Schultz built on his first-round lead by posting 77, which was tied for the low score in his flight.
Schultz’s two-round 73-77-150 total was six strokes lower than defending champion Mitch Gault, who also shot a 77 after carding a 79 on Saturday. It was Schultz’s second triumph in First Flight, having also won four years ago.
“It felt awesome to get to my second County Am title,” he said. “I played very solid golf and was proud of myself for mentally keeping it together and winning the tournament after having the Day 1 lead.”
The 27-year-old Schultz, who has played in eight County Amateurs now, is definitely planning on more.
“My goal is to compete in the Championship Flight,” he said.
Sixteen-year-old Ethan Kramer also made a successful County Am debut by winning the Low Junior Award in Championship Flight with 79-83-162.