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Edgerton golfer forced to play the waiting game

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THOMAS J. MILLER
June 10, 2009
— Dan Ozga was forced to play the waiting game Tuesday in the WIAA state boys golf tournament at University Ridge golf course.

Unfortunately for him, the wait did not turn out as the Edgerton High junior had hoped.


Madison Edgewood senior Cody Strang shot a 2-under-par 70, including a 2-under 34 on the back nine to erase Ozga’s lead and win the Division 2 individual championship for the second straight year by three strokes.


Strang, a University of Wisconsin hockey recruit who is touted as one of the fastest skaters the Badgers have recruited, started the day three strokes behind Ozga.


Strang, who beat Edgerton senior Mike Hesselman in a playoff to win last year’s title, admitted he hadn’t forgotten that tussle.


“I was thinking about that the entire back nine,” Strang said.


Ozga shot a 4-over 76 to finish second at 147. That was the same total Hesselman and Strang shot last year to force a playoff.


Ozga shot a 1-under 71 to take the lead in Monday’s first round. With Strang’s Edgewood team playing for—and eventually winning—the Division 2 team title, the Crusader senior teed off a couple of hours after Ozga.


So when Ozga finished his round, the two were tied at 3 over. But Strang was just completing his front nine.


At 12:20 p.m., Ozga, Edgerton coach Drew Wellman and some friends gathered in the clubhouse, staring at the live scoring board on a large TV.


At 12:45, the group set sail for the back nine to watch Strang.


As they walked, the scoreboard flashed showed Strang at 2 over.


Strang added a birdie on No. 10, and finished with a curving 30-foot putt for another birdie on No. 18 and a three-stroke victory.


Ozga’s round soured on the back nine. After shooting a par 36 on the front, he had a double-bogey 6 on No. 10, a bogey 6 on No. 11 and a double-bogey 6 on No. 13.


“I wish I had played better on those three holes,” Ozga said. “I had two three-putts and took two shots to get out of a bunker.”


Strang said he did not know what score Ozga had put up, nor did he want to know. He admitted he heard Ozga had shot a 75, which was one stroke better than the Edgerton junior actually had.


“I knew I could make (the deficit) up if I just hit the ball well,” Strang said.


Ozga said he slept well as the tournament leader Monday night.


“I was pretty tired,” he said.


He opened the final round with a birdie on the par-4 first hole to go to 2 under. A bogey on No. 7 created his even-par front nine.


The series of “6s” on three of the first four holes on the back nine put him in a hole Strang would not let him escape from.


“I was pretty upset with myself after the third 6,” Ozga said. “But I knew if I parred out, I would be in pretty good shape, and I did that.”


Strang’s solid back nine did not let Ozga get within two strokes.


“I was really happy with the way I played,” said Ozga, who finished 19th here last year as a sophomore.


He plans to play in 10 to 15 tournaments this summer to prepare him for his senior year at Edgerton.


Next time, his waiting game could be just a bit more rewarding.



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