Janesville54.3°

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)

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT


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


FIRST FLIGHT


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


SECOND FLIGHT


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


THIRD FLIGHT


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


NET FLIGHT


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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