Van Galder birdies last two holes to win

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Christopher Heimerman
July 26, 2010
— Sam Van Galder knows Matt Behm. He’s all too aware he’s a three-time winner of the Janesville Men’s City Golf Tournament and would have been surprised had he not made a run in Sunday’s final round.

But Van Galder knew he had a pair of aces up his sleeve in the form of the 17th and 18th holes of the course he grew up playing, the Janesville Country Club.

Van Galder’s guile through the last two holes carried him to a final-round 1-over 73 for 212 total and two-stroke victory over Behm, who carded a 2-over 74 for a 214 finish.

On No. 16’s elevated green, Behm confidently walked after his 12-foot, left-to-right putt and snatched his ball from the hole moments after it—and the two-stroke lead Van Galder enjoyed just two holes prior—vanished.

“When I got to 16, I just knew I had to make that putt right now,” Behm said. “I made the best putt of the day on 16, and I thought all the pressure was back on him.”

On the contrary:

“I knew I birdie 17 and 18 almost half the time I play out here,” Van Galder said. “I knew I could make a couple birdies and maybe pull it out.”

What he pulled out was the whooping stick. With his ball perched on a neon green tee, Van Galder cut loose an electrifying drive on the 326-yard, dogleg right 17th hole that cleared the trees to the right of the fairway.

Van Galder’s bold tee shot came to rest just shy of the bunker guarding the right side of the green and he lofted a wedge to within 10 feet. He rolled home a birdie putt that slid from left to right.

“I was surprised he made the putt on 17. It was a slippery one,” said Behm, who played it safe off the tee and converted par. “He putted great today and all weekend.”

Van Galder, who hit the fairway in regulation in eight of the first 12 non-par-3s, missed the green again on No. 18, but once again was markedly closer to the dance floor than Behm. While Behm was about 40 yards from the pin, which sat atop a plateau on the back third of the green, Van Galder’s distance was about half that.

Nonetheless, Behm punched his approach within 10 feet of the cup. After a quick chat with his father (and caddy, Steve), Van Galder followed suit, leaving his ball about 8 feet and a two-putt away from greatness.

“We just wanted to make sure I got it up top and make (Behm) hit a birdie,” Van Galder said.

But it was Van Galder who read the subtle left-to-right break and buried his birdie putt to take his second title at age 23.

“It was cool to make the last putt,” Van Galder said. “I could’ve just lagged it up there and tapped it in. It was nice to roll one in and give the nod to the crowd.”

“It’s always fun to have one of those battles,” Behm said. “I didn’t lose it; he outplayed me. That’s a great feeling to not blow it. He went out and got it; I gotta tip my hat to him.”

Van Galder entered the final round with a one-stroke lead at 4-under 139. Behm got even when he buried a 10-foot birdie on the No. 3, 141-yard par-3.

“When he made the birdie on No. 3, he had his little walk-in, grabbing the ball as it was going in the hole,” Van Galder said. “I was like, ‘Oh boy, he’s got the putter rolling.’”

Van Galder could’ve easily slipped, as he hit just four of his first 14 greens in regulation and seven of 18 overall. But he had his short game going, and he followed a 2-over 38 on the front nine with a 1-under 35 on the back. Behm carded 37s on both nines.

Things were all square through 10 holes before Behm gave one away with a bogey despite hitting a solid drive on the par-5 No. 11 and endured another bogey on the par-4 14th.

But Van Galder quickly faltered with a bogey on the par-5 15th.

“I felt like I really gave him some moonlight with the 3-putt on 15,” Van Galder said. “He jumped all over it. I knew he would birdie 16. I just knew it. He saw the opening, and he took it.”

Three-time winner Brad Bohlman, who most recently won in 2008, was almost as exciting to track as the front-runners. Trailing Van Galder by eight strokes entering the final round, Bohlman bombed away with his driver throughout the back nine, muscling attempts to reach the green in one while his playing partners most often opted to hit conservative shots. But riverboat gambler wasn’t the only role Bohlman assumed; he also was a fan and fervent supporter.

“I was just out here as the third wheel,” Bohlman said, laughing. “I had the best seat in the house.”

The threesome combined for just two three-putts all day. Bohlman had neither of them and just 23 putts in total.

Bohlman carded the best round, an even-par 72, to finish seven shots behind Van Galder.

-- Flight winners: In First Flight, Aaron Leeder won over Jim Mead, 233-234. Each carded a final-round 78.

In Second Flight, Gary Merk fired a final-round 78 for a 229 total and an eight-stroke victory over Mike Mead.

In Third Flight, Scott Schadel carded a final-round 87 for a two-stroke victory over Michael Spiegler.

In Net Flight, Tony Jacobson finished at 213 with handicap to win by two strokes.

-- Best shot of the day: After somehow remaining composed enough to make par on the final hole, Michael Kletzien got down on one knee on the 18th green to propose to Kelsey Fraser.

“My knees were knocking extremely, extremely bad,” Kletzien said. “I was shaking so bad on 18, I couldn’t even hit a driver. I just had to knock it down the middle and chunk it in.”

Fraser, who needed some persuading to make the tournament after attending a bachelorette party in Wisconsin Dells the night before, said “yes” without hesitation.

At Janesville Country Club (Par 72)


Final Results

Sam Van Galder 69-70-73—212

Matt Behm 69-71-74—214

Brad Bohlman 75-72-72—219

Ryan Coffey 71-77-76—224

Jeff Bruegger 73-77-74—224

Robert Kennedy 75-74-77—226

Chris Pastore 72-76-79—227

Sean Halverson 71-76-85—232

Braddy Bohlman 76-81-76—233

Rob Ackerman 78-79-76—233

Charlie Roherty 71-81-82—234

Michael Kletzien 71-81-83—235

Mark Thomsen 70-83-82—235

King Clark 73-83-79—235

Jacob Downing 83-79-78—240

Greg Ruef 79-83-78—240

Doug Sheridan 75-80-86—241

Blair Schmeiser 77-86-81—244

Aaron Coffey 77-84-83—244

Jon Phillips 80-79-86—245

Jay Fox 78-84-84—246

Rich Fugate 85-81-80—246

Ryne Clatworthy 76-91-80—247

Bill Kennedy 83-82-83—248

Steve Babcock 82-84-85—251

Taylor Johnson 83-84-86—253

James Stubbendick 80-85-91—256

Gilbert Enriquez 78-81-98—257

Steve Bysted 89-103-99—291


Final Results

Aaron Leeder 79-76-78—233

Jim Mead 86-70-78—234

Bob Woodrum 77-78-81—236

Curt Goodwick 73-80-86—239

Mike Reid 74-80-87—241

Miguel Cepeda 79-77-85—241

Derek Cooper 78-80-84—242

Al Herbst 80-87-75—242

Evan Diece 78-83-82—243

Mike Johnson 81-76-87—244

Dave DeGarmo 81-83-81—245

Jeff Farrell 81-85-80—246

Gary Polglaze Jr. 78-85-84—247

Rick Berry 77-86-84—247

Shannon Dooley 81-81-86—248

Matt Kempfer 79-86-83—248

Gary Neumueller 80-87-84—251

Ethan Rau 83-86-86—255

Steve Anderson 81-89-85—255

Kevin Riley 83-88-85—256

John Zimmerman 86-85-86—257

Jake Hassinger 85-84-89—258

Brent Corey 84-88-86—258

Brian Dunk 85-94-89—268


Final-Round Results

Gary Merk 78-73-78—229

Mike Mead 71-77-89—237

Greg Mullen 81-84-78—243

Randy Krueger 77-79-89—245

Jon Moldenhauer 79-83-84—246

David Bitter 78-83-86—247

Chad Sullivan 85-78-85—248

Jim Crawford 84-80-84—248

Terry Kletzien 79-86-85—250

Tom Collins 77-85-88—250

Brian Rogula 81-82-91—254

Ben DeWitt 79-89-86—254

Jeff DeGarmo 84-83-89—256

Dave Herr 82-90-86—258

Bob Compton 82-87-90—259

Efren Blanca 82-85-98—265

Kevin Mickelson 85-87-94—266

Ned Moser 87-87-94—268

Scott Schroeder 89-86-94—269

Steve Thurner 89-86-101—276

Brian Garey 95-89-92—276

Eric Hoium 91-93-95—279

Greg Squire 97-99-96—292

Jason Leffel 100-101-121—372


Final-Round Results

Scott Schadel 81-79-87—247

Michael Spiegler 82-79-88—249

Brian Thorson 84-78-89—251

Todd Sitter 78-86-88—252

Tim Millis 81-86-87—254

Tom Noll 78-88-89—255

Philip Konkol 79-88-89—256

Norman Bogdan 79-88-89—256

Jose Perez 81-82-94—257

Paul Burkholder 81-84-93—258

Richard Moore 85-85-88—258

Dan Hermanson 89-82-87—258

Ryan Luebke 84-82-93—259

Steve Thompson 83-87-92—262

Ron Pumilia 93-84-89—266

Brad Schumacher 84-86-97—267

Matthew Ruppe 81-95-93—269

Dean Hendrickson 89-85-97—271

Thomas Vogt 83-92-97—272

Cliff Wakefield 86-96-90—272

Jace Fenton 82-91-100—273

Pete Clough 85-92-97—274

Michael Reid II 94-85-98—277

Shawn Uschan 83-97-97—277

Dave Langowski 92-96-89—277


Final-Round Results

Tony Jacobson 68-72-73—213

Keith Trembula 64-71-80—215

Greg Galvan 74-75-69—218

Mike Schoeder 70-75-75—220

Jerry Shere 66-77-77—220

George Pritchett 68-77-76—221

Jeff Sheldon 65-73-84—222

Dennis Raabe 73-75-75—223

Jim Hudson 71-77-77—225

Matt DeWitt 73-73-80—226

Steve Weiss 70-79-78—227

Ken Creek 76-76-77—229

Tom Holevas 78-72-79—229

Paul Scheldt 76-78-78—232

Joe Slatter 68-86-78—232

Lee Braem 72-83-86—232

Dan Denman 79-73-82—234

Mike Berg 74-73-79—235

Tom Fenton 77-77-81—235

Chad Fladers 79-80-78—237

Stephen Monroe 82-81-76—239

Loren Mathison 79-79-86—244

Kris Mueller 84-74-89—247

Andy Gregg 91-72-87—250

Pat Kelly 80-88-89—257

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