JANESVILLE

Due to COVID-19 concerns, the Wisconsin State Golf Association was forced to cancel its first four tournaments of the 2020 season.

Fortunately, the tournament campaign kicks off next week, and it includes one of state’s most prestigious events the last weekend of June.

The state’s top amateur men’s golfers are still scheduled to tee it up June 26-28 at Janesville’s Riverside Golf Course for the 72-hole Ray Fischer Amateur Championship.

This marks the 39th straight year that Riverside is set to host.

“We’re excited to get back to Riverside and the 2020 Ray Fischer tournament,” Wisconsin Public Links Tournament Director John Jensen said. “This is a tournament that the golfers really look forward to.

“We’ll make some modifications as far as the tournament goes, but golf-wise, things shouldn’t be too much different than years past.”

Owen Butler of Stoughton won last year’s rain-shortened event with a 54-hole total of 19-under.

Normally, the field for the Fischer includes more than 200 golfers. This year, however, the field will be capped at 160 players.

Any male with a handicap of 8.4 or lower is eligible to sign up at a cost of $140. Jensen said as of Thursday afternoon, 110 golfers have already signed up.

In years past, the cut after 36 holes has usually been the top 70 golfers plus ties. Jensen said because of the smaller field this year, the cut line will be top 60 and ties.

Another change for this year’s Fischer is pushing back tee times from 10-minute intervals to 12 minutes.

“We’ll know a little more after we see how the first couple of tournaments go, but as of right now that’s the plan,” Jensen said. “And golfers will also be encouraged to not get to the course too early to avoid any social distancing guidelines enforced.”

The Riverside Men’s Golf Association recently purchased a product called the Golf Ball E-Z Lyft, which enables any golfer to remove a ball from a cup by touching their putter to the hook and gently lifting upward. The convex cup inset lets the ball fall out without any skin-to-cup or skin-to-flagstick contact whatsoever. The E-Z Lyft is currently used on all 18 holes at Riverside.

“I don’t think we’ll have a problem using that,” Jensen said of the E-Z Lyft. “I can’t say that for sure, but my guess is it will be allowed.

“The WSGA will have the final say on how our tournaments are conducted and what certain things can and can’t be done.

“If water is not allowed on the course, we may have to purchase some bottles on our own and make them available to the golfers at a couple of stations on the course.”

The Fischer may look slightly different in 2020, but for now a plan is in place to hold the event, which has been held every year since it was founded at Cherokee Country Club in 1967.

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