Janesville's Botts shares lead at Fischer

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Eric Schmoldt
Saturday, June 24, 2017

Erik Botts picked a good time for his best round ever at Riverside Golf Course.

The Janesville resident shot 5-under-par 67 during the first round of the 51st Annual Ray Fischer State Amateur Championship on Friday.

The score was one better than Botts' previous course-best and landed him in a four-way tie for the lead heading into today's second round.

"I just went in trying to hit each shot the best I could and tried to get some putts rolling in," Botts said. "That's really what happened, I was just making putts."

Watertown's Al Thompson, Middleton's Emmet Herb and Madison's Derek Pirkl were all also in at 67. Herb carded a pair of walks on his way to a share of the lead.

Botts strung together three straight birdies on holes 5-7 to jump start a round that included just one bogey.

"Those were three good putts, and from there I just tried to hit as many greens as possible," he said. "That's my best round out there ever, so I'm really happy about that."

Four players, including former Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo and Stoughton's Owen Butler were a shot behind.

Janesville's Aaron Coffey, part of a group of Fischer players along with Botts who play together a bit at the Janesville Country Club, was tied with two others after a 69.

"It was only my fourth round of the year. Maybe it was good to not have picked up any bad habits," Coffey said. "I think I one-putted my last six holes."

Coffey, who played in one of the first groups of the morning wave, expected to be more than two shots behind when the day was through. The course got an inch and a half of rain overnight, leading to somewhat soft greens early on. But winds picked up in the afternoon, making conditions a little tougher.

For now, Botts holds the bragging rights among his Janesville golfing buddies. But Andrew Morrison (71), Nick Hagen (72), Kevin Riley (72) and Sam Van Calder (73) were all still in the mix.

 "We're all rooting for each other," Botts said.

 After 18 holes today, the field will be cut to the top 70 players and ties for Sunday's 36-hole finale.

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