Defending champ Weber among strong County Amateur field

The 32nd annual La Crosse County Men’s Amateur Golf Championship as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse is more like a “Who’s Who” in County Amateur history.
Past champions among the 41 players in the Championship Flight include Ryan Quinn of Bloomington, Ill., Mason Milner, from Burnsville, Minn., and Ross Willhelm, residing in Oklahoma City, Okla., along with Holmen’s Paul Williamson and Mike Drugan, and last year’s winner, Joe Weber (pictured).
This year’s two-day, 36-hole event, featuring a field of 101 golfers, is once again scheduled at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska and Drugan’s Castle Mound Country Club in Holmen, the host courses since the County Am was resurrected in 1991.  
“It’s going to be a golf reunion of sorts with players returning from around the United States,” said Bob Lamb, longtime tournament director. “And I can’t say enough about the total size of the field with 101 players. Wow.”
The left-handed Williamson is the all-time champion with seven titles under his belt. His nephew, the lefty Quinn, has won five, Weber three and Drugan (2005), Milner (2006) and Wilhelm (2009) one each.
“Geez, this is another strong Championship Flight,” said Drugan after winning his second Kwik Trip Seniors County Amateur last Sunday at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse. ”I heard Quinn is coming back, Wilhelm and Milner, too. Of course, there’s Willie and the rest of the boys around here, too.”
Weber returned from a three-year hiatus to capture last year’s championship to go along with the titles he collected in 2016 and 2017. Weber, a West Salem dentist, defeated Drew Schroeder by two strokes with rounds of 69-73-142.
Weber’s victory was highlighted by his shot of the day on the par-5, 17th hole. Deep in a fairway bunker 65 yards from the green, Weber hit a highlight reel shot to the green.
How far from the hole?
“Like an inch,” he chuckled.
Weber walked to the 18th tee with a three-shot lead over Schroeder but still wasn’t convinced he had sealed another title. Nonetheless, he won by two shots.
“Anytime you win a tournament is wonderful. They all rate the same equally,” he said at the time.
It’s anyone’s guess who could win this weekend, considering the strength of the field.
“The name that sticks out to me is Ryan Quinn,” Drugan said. “It sounds like he’s getting his game back together again, so he’s going to be tough. Me? I’m just going to do the best I can.”
Quinn turned pro after his 2003 County Amateur victory. He played on several mini-tours while attempting to qualify for his PGA Tour card. He eventually left the pro ranks and regained his amateur status.
Quinn entered last year’s County Amateur, but when torrential rain washed out both days, resulting in the first postponement in history, Quinn withdrew because of a scheduling conflict.
Weber faces a busy weekend, playing 72 holes in three days, including a 36-hole tournament Friday prior to the two-day County Am. He says he’s not having his best year and is not as sharp as he would prefer at this point of the summer.
“I haven’t played much since the State Am. I would really like to sharpen up a few things, but I don’t see that happening before Friday,” he said Wednesday morning.
“It doesn’t matter what other people do if I shoot 80,” Weber added. “I typically don’t care about the leader board until the last few holes on Sunday. Before that, I’m just trying to make pars and sprinkle in a few birdies. If that’s not good enough, then so be it.”  
The straightforward Weber also has a simple strategy for Saturday’s opening round at Cedar Creek.
“Just try not to have any penalties and make a lot of pars,” he said. “The tournament can't be won Saturday, but it can be lost.”
Returning the Championship Flight traveling trophy to his home and adding his fourth title is Weber’s prime goal. Can he accomplish that feat considering the strength of this year’s field?
“It would mean a lot,” he said. “Winning any tournament is hard and you never know when it will happen again, so I try to cherish each one. My kids are getting older and having them and my wife around when I get done is always special, whether I win or lose.”
In other men’s action last year, Trevor Schultz posted a 6-stroke victory in First Flight with 150. Rahn Pischke captured Second Fight honors with 160, while Eric Davidson, playing in his first County Am, won Third Flight with 171. Brandon Uffelman won Fourth Flight with 172.
Both Cedar Creek and Castle Mound will be used both days. On Saturday, Championship Flight and First Flight competitors play at Cedar Creek, with Second, Third and Fourth Flights at Castle Mound.
Championship Flight and First Flight finishes at Castle Mound on Sunday, while Second, Third and Fourth Flights wrap up at Cedar Creek.
The awards ceremony is scheduled in the Grand Norway Room at Castle Mound immediately after all rounds are completed. To accommodate players who finish at Cedar Creek and wish to attend the ceremony, tee times begin one-half hour later at Castle Mound than Cedar Creek on Sunday.
Spectators are welcome to attend the tournament and awards ceremony. There is no admission fee.


At Drugan’s Castle Mound Country Club in Holmen, WI, and The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska, WI.
Saturday, Aug. 6, pairings

At Drugan’s Castle Mound Country Club
8 a.m. - Mike Fortin, Steve Crogan, Patrick Rice.
8:08 a.m. - Larry Shingleton, Marv Davis, Robert Schoen.
8:16 a.m. - Dick Sater, Mike Huegel, Monte Jacobson.
8:24 a.m. - Boyd Grant, Ebe Bosse, Rod Kleinertz.
8:32 a.m. - Steven Hubbard, Eric Davidson, Greg Espenes.
8:40 a.m. - Jim Dolesy, Kyle Koske, Keith Seidel. 
8:48 a.m. - Curt McIlquham, Tyler Ritter, Joe Hunter.
8:56 a.m. - Daniel Breeden, Mark Millis, Chad Wynos.
9:04 a.m. - Michael Oldenburg, Brent Staff, Kyle Larkin.
9:12 a.m. - Bob Roers, Joel LaPlount, Damian Bork.
9:20 a.m. - Jeff Osgood, Jordan Rudolph, Scott Strozinsky.
9:28 a.m. - Leon McNutt, Brock Morris, John Munson.
9:36 a.m. - Gavin Olson, Paul Franke, Matt Euler.
9:44 a.m. - Brandon Amann, Bill Feehan, Jr., Robert Timm.
9:52 a.m. - Paul Bruha, Ethan Phelps, Rahn Pischke.

At The Golf Club at Cedar Creek    
7:32 a.m. - Jim Socha, Will Hundt, Sam Przywojski.
7:40 a.m. - Bob Newberry, Jeff Pigorsch, Mason Lee.
7:48 a.m. - Nick Dobbins, Tony Friedl, Nick Skibba.
7:56 a.m. - Joe Hightower, Bruce Lindseth, Dalton Hoffland.
8:04 a.m. - Mitch Gault, Alex Jackson, Jon Strangstalien.
8:12 a.m. - Noah Neil Nelson, Jared Gendron.
8:20 a.m. - Trevor Schultz. Jack Litsheim, Carson Reider.
8:28 a.m. - Kade Smith, Ben Korger, Sam Simones.
8:36 a.m. - Bjorn Berg, Bruce Simones, Marcus Williamson.
8:44 a.m. - Mason Milner, Brennan Dirks, Carter Gault.
8:52 a.m. - Jon Wilson, Montana Stewart, Cody Dirks.
9 a.m. - Jordan Graf, Mike Drugan, Sam Dobbins.
9:08 a.m. - Ethan Kramer, Tony Roberts, Mark Miller.
9:16 a.m. - Drew Schroeder, James DeBoer, Joel Preeshl.
9:24 a.m. - Eric Olson, Sam Evenson, Ryan Quinn.
9:32 a.m. - Aaron Bishop, Austin Roth, Nick Anderson.
9:40 a.m. - John Percy, Quinn Schultz, Ross Wilhelm.
9:48 a.m. - Paul Williamson, Shaun Borre, Carson Brock.
9:52 a.m. - Tom McClintock, Tyler Church, Joe Weber.