JANESVILLE

A three-peat?

Sounds like a good idea, particularly to a sports writer looking for a storyline.

But Jack Schultz said he is not coming to Janesville this weekend thinking about winning the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship at Riverside Golf Course for a third year in a row.

“It feels like every time is different,” Schultz said. “I remember two years ago when I came back, I was very surprised I was playing that well. And last year, it was kind of the same, but even better.

“But I’m not the kind of person to look at the past and draw from that to say what’s going to happen this year. But I’m looking forward to getting out there.”

Players will play 18 holes today and 18 more Saturday, with the top 70 and ties making the cut to play 36 holes in Sunday’s finale at Riverside. Head professional Matt Ellis said the golf course may be in the best shape it’s been in over the past 15 years, though noted that heavy rains Monday and Tuesday and Thursday softened the course—which could lead to a bevy of birdies once again.

Schultz, a 28-year-old from Milwaukee, essentially announced his return to competitive golf in Wisconsin by shooting 15-under 273 over four rounds at Riverside in 2017.

The former University of Michigan golfer backed that up by shooting 26-under 262 a year ago—a tournament that included him tying the course record with a 62 on Saturday.

Schultz is just the seventh player to win multiple times at the Fischer, which has included the state’s top amateur players annually since 1967. He joined Archie Dadian (1974-75) and John Pallin (1990-91) as the only back-to-back winners.

No player has ever won three consecutive years.

“Part of the mental game is trying to convince myself that every hole is a birdie hole—not just at Riverside, but at every course,” Schultz said. “So there are opportunities, no matter how hard a hole is, to make a putt. You can always make that putt.

“But it’s very hard to actually have that attitude out there.”

Schultz made it look easy last year. His 262 four-round total was a tournament record by four strokes.

Onalaska’s Ben Skogen, who finished in second place by three shots last year, is also in this year’s field.

Matt Behm, of Valders and formerly of Janesville, is the only other former Fischer winner in the tournament. He shot 194 over three rounds to win in 2006.

“This is a fun weekend tournament, so you get a lot of the older guys there,” Schultz said. “State match play and those (tournaments), it’s mostly younger ones. But pretty much everyone plays this one. And that’s a big thing for me, getting to see everyone.”

Romo returns

Retired NFL quarterback and CBS football analyst Tony Romo, a Burlington native, is back to play in the Fischer again this year.

Romo played in the PGA’s AT&T Byron Nelson earlier this year on an exemption, missing the cut and finishing tied for 148th out of 156 golfers.

Romo shot 3-over 291 a year ago at the Fischer and finished tied for 49th.

Local notables

Sam Van Galder, six-time Janesville city champion, leads nearly a dozen Janesville golfers in the field. Van Galder and Behm have combined to win 11 city titles, including all of them from 2009 to 2016.

A pair of Edgerton High alums who won WIAA state titles are also in the field. Andrew Morrison won the Division 2 championship in 2013, and Joe Forsting just won at University Ridge earlier this month.

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