Sunday at the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship often becomes a showdown.
Playing 36 holes in one day leaves plenty of room for 70 or so of the state’s top amateur golfers to make moves at Riverside Golf Course, where birdies and eagles are plentiful.
This year’s finale is shaping up to be a slugfest.
First-round leader Matt Tolan backed up his strong play Friday by shooting 4-under-par 68 to retain his lead Saturday by one stroke.
Owen Butler shot his second straight 67 to sit one stroke back.
And lurking right behind the two of them is two-time defending champ Jack Schultz, who shot the lowest score of the second round, a 65.
Throw in temperatures in the 80s once again and the potential for an afternoon thunderstorm, and the final day of the Fischer figures to be electric.
“It’s going to be a long, slog of a day,” said Butler, a 34-year-old from Stoughton. “And it’ll be a shootout, which will be fun. You put yourself there, and that’s all you can ask for when the tournament starts.
“Now we get after it.”
Tolan still up top
Tolan, a 20-year-old from Eau Claire who plays for South Dakota collegiately, finished in the top 25 each of the first two years he played the Fischer. So he’s played just fine at Riverside.
But now he will head to Sunday as the 36-hole leader.
“Just keep doing me,” Tolan said when asked what his mentality will be for the final 36 holes. “I’m playing really good golf right now, and I’ve just got to keep taking it one shot at a time and not worry about what other people are doing.”
Tolan’s putter continued to keep him atop the leaderboard.
He played the front nine Saturday in even par but birdied four of his first six holes on the back and dropped a 15-foot putt on 18 to close out his round.
“I got off to kind of a rough start, bogeying the first hole,” Tolan said. “But when I made the turn, I knew I was playing good golf and just needed to make a couple putts.”
Waukesha’s Michael Bielawski played in the same group as Tolan in the first two rounds and shot 67 on Saturday to sit at 8-under and within striking distance.
Club slip sparks Butler
It’s not often a par on a par-five hole at Riverside leads to something good, but that was the case for Butler in the second round.
His driver slipped in his sweaty hand on the par-five 14th, and his shot went out of bounds. He was forced to retee but needed just three shots from there, leaving him with an impressive par.
“I reteed and made eagle, basically, to save par,” Butler said. “I made a long putt to save it, so it was kind of good to hang in there and keep going.
“I just tried not to get frustrated, because nine pars wasn’t going to keep me going in the right direction.”
After parring each of his first nine holes on his first nine, the back, he made three birdies to open his second nine and went bogey-free to sit in second place.
Schultz lurking once again
Schultz continues to own Riverside Golf Course.
The two-time defending Fischer champ winner fired a 65 in Saturday’s second round at the 53rd annual event.
Schultz shot 70 in his rain-delayed first round that he completed early Saturday morning.
“I finished my first nine today and felt like I had already played 36 holes,” Schultz said. “Yesterday, it didn’t feel like we did anything but sleep and come back here early this morning.
“And it was weird, because I didn’t hit any warm-up balls today before we teed off. We just went out and played.”
After an uneventful first 18 holes that featured three birdies and a bogey, Schultz started out his second 18 as though his course-record tying 62, which he shot in round two a year ago, was in jeopardy. He birdied his first four holes on the front nine and six of the first seven to go 6-under after seven holes. A bogey at par 3 eighth cost him a stroke, but he shot a 2-under 34 on the back for a round of 65.
Schultz won with a record 26-under total a year ago and was 15-under in winning in 2017. If he comes from behind to win Sunday, Schultz will become the first golfer to ever win the Ray Fischer three years in a row.
Romo and other notables
Travis Engle of Kenosha is four shots back after rounds of 67 and 70, while Joe Weber (138) of Onalaska and George Kneiser of Oconomowoc are five back. Nate Thomson of Greendale and Chris Colla of Fond du Lac trail Toman by six.
Former Dallas Cowboys quarterback and current CBS NFL analyst Tony Romo was at 7-under through 10 holes in his opening round but stumbled down the stretch and shot 3-under 69. He followed that up with an even-par 72 and is eight shots back.
Ray Fischer Amateur Championship
At Riverside (Par 72)SECOND ROUND RESULTSTop 70 made cut, will play 36 holes SundayMatt Tolan Eau Claire 65-68—133
Owen Butler Stoughton 67-67—134
Jack Schultz Whitefish Bay 70-65—135
Michael Bielawski Waukesha 69-67—136
Travis Engle Kenosha 67-70—137
Joe Weber Onalaska 69-69—138
George Kneiser Oconomowoc 70-68—138
Nate Thomson Greendale 71-68—139
Chris Colla Fond du Lac 69-70—139
Alan Thompson Watertown 71-69—140
Pete Kuhl Madison 69-71—140
Ricky Kuiper Racine 67-74—141
Tony Romo Burlington 69-72—141
Michael Harris Brookfield 70-71—141
Nathan Schwarz Hutto, TX 71-71—142
Maxwell Schmidtke Sheboygan 73-69—142
Jakob Garstecki Germantown 70-72—142
Patrick Sicula Whitefish Bay 73-69—142
Adam Miller Adams 70-72—142
Chris Wood Mount Pleasant 69-74—143
Tom Halla Colgate 74-69—143
Phillip Johnson Colgate 72-71—143
Tyler Leach Spring Valley 67-76—143
Brad Finger Waukesha 72-72—144
Kevin Van Rossum Hartland 74-70—144
Emmet Herb Middleton 71-73—144
Jeremy Wesemann Merton 77-67—144
Jack Blair Wauwatosa 70-74—144
Ben Skogen Onalska 72-72—144
Jacob Michel Lodi 71-73—144
Kevin Cahill Waukesha 75-70—145
Mike Mueller Whitefish Bay 73-72—145
Joe DeChateau Fond du Lac 73-72—145
Daniel Ozga Edgerton 70-75—145
Burke Barsamian Lake Geneva 70-75—145
Nathan Boltz Elkhorn 78-67—145
Brady Sarauer Fond du Lac 74-71—145
Sam Van Galder Janesville 71-74—145
Max Pasher Mequon 71-74—145
Nick Robinson Madison 72-73—145
Samuel Anderson Stoughton 72-74—146
Drew Sagrillo Mequon 71-75—146
Jason Zahradka New Richmond 75-71—146
Dustin Schwab Hartland 72-74—146
Geoff Pirkl Oconomowoc 74-72—146
Dawson Hinz Middleton 72-74—146
Tyler Beeck Sheboygan Falls 75-71—146
Christopher Dupuis Chicago 72-74—146
Zachary Nash Waterford 71-75—146
Blake Wisdom Lake Geneva 69-77—146
Jakob Beckman Middleton 75-71—146
Jacob Mayer Delafield 75-72—147
Bill Crinzi New Berlin 73-74—147
Eric Goldapske Sun Prairie 75-72—147
Michael Bastian Milwaukee 73-74—147
Charles Maleki Mequon 75-72—147
Jakob Schroeckenthaler Cottage Grove 72-75—147
Bentley Glass Fort Atkinson 76-71—147
Alexander Haas Hartford 73-74—147
Matt Behm Valders 74-74—148
Tom Schoewe Sun Prairie 74-74—148
Eric Ross Onekama, MI 75-73—148
R.J. Schwalbach Bolingbrook, IL 73-75—148
Nick Hagen Beloit 73-75—148
Dylan Brown Reedsburg 76-72—148
Andrew Morrison Edgerton 71-77—148
Ben Gilles Madison 72-76—148
Colton Duwe Oconomowoc 70-78—148
Jacob Sherwood Davis, Calif. 74-74—148
Nick Corban Madison 76-72—148
——MISSED CUT (LIST NOT COMPLETE)
Todd Westrich De Pere 74 75—149
Jack Anderson Brookfield 75-74—149
Clayton Tribus 71 78—149
Bennett Swavely Hudson 74-75—149
Tom Chambers Union Grove 73-77—150
Ryan Schuelke Menawa 74-77—151
Derick Disch Brookfield 76-75—151
Michael Jensen Hartford 79-72—151
Marty Swab Menomonee Falls 75-76—151
Joe Forsting Edgerton 73-79—152
Steven Sanicki Menomonee Falls 77-75—152
Jonathan Fall Cedarburg 72-80—152
Jared Delveaux Cedarburg 73-79—152
Jack McKinney Milwaukee 80-72—152
Jason Jahnke Kewaskum 75-78—153
Cory Aune Lake Geneva 79-74—153
Zack Colby Oregon 78-75—153
Eric Olson New Berlin 75-78—153
Brandon Myhr Madison 77-77—154
Jonathan Klemp Mequon 78-76—154
Derek Pirkl Stoughton 77-77—154
Preston Cedergren Green Bay 79-76—155
Jed Baranczyk Green Bay 79-76—155
Derek Michalski Marshfield 78-78—156
Paul Schwarz Appleton 77-80—157
Thomas Holderfield Sheboygan 84-73—157
Matt Kempfer Janesville 77-80—157
Adam Torgerson Pewaukee 77-80—157
Travis Galston Fort Atkinson 80-78—158
Kevin Riley Janesville 76-82—158
Caleb Martin Horicon 78-80—158
Kade Salemi Janesville 80-78—158
John Ziemer Colgate 78-81—159
Ethan Carrick Sun Prairie 76-83—159
Taylor Ryman New Glarus 81-78—159
Wesley Schwarz Kaukauna 79-81—160
Patrick Gorman East Troy 78-82—160
John Haines Mequon 81-79—160
Alejandro Perez Sussex 73-87—160
Brandon Parks-Larson Mount Horeb 77-84—161
Rick Berry Janesville 77-84—161
Jacob LaConte Waukesha 78-83—161
Josh Hentrich Lancaster 75-87—162
Matt Puetz Waterford 72-90—162
Andy Hagen Beloit 83-80—163
Bryce Olson Silver Lake 84-81—165
Dane Hinz Baraboo 80-87—167
Dick Regenberg Madison 87-80—167
Trevor Davis Weyerhauser 86-81—167
TJ Klement McFarland 79-88—167
Erich Schwarz Madison 83-85—168
Noah Anderson Baraboo 96-102—198