Sam Van Galder is headed back to the Wisconsin State Amateur Championship golf tournament.
Van Galder, a six-time Janesville city champion, was one of eight players to earn a spot in the 118th edition of the event at a qualifier at Riverside Golf Course on Monday.
Van Galder used a pair of back-nine birdies to shoot even-par 72 to finish tied for second place.
“I just kept plugging along,” said Van Galder, a 32-year-old art teacher and boys golf coach at Janesville Parker. “I had to make a couple big par putts on 16 and 18. But it worked.
“I didn’t know if it (72) would make it, because it was close last year. It ended up playing somewhat tough.”
This was the second straight year that the Wisconsin State Golf Association piggy-backed off the Ray Fischer Amateur Championship, holding a State Am qualifier the next day.
Many golfers took advantage of the opportunity to play a course they’d seen over the weekend, sticking around to attempt to qualify for the State Am.
Verona’s Austin Gaby, who missed the cut in the Fischer with a pair of 78s, took medalist honors by rebounding Monday to shoot 1-under 71.
Kenosha’s Travis Engle, who tied for fifth place in the Fischer, joined Van Galder at 72.
Van Galder shot rounds of 71, 74 and 69 to finish 2-under and in a tie for 27th in the Fischer.
Seven golfers shot 74 to earn a spot in a playoff, where the final five qualifying spots and two alternates were decided. Oddly, just one of those seven golfers in the playoff, Nathan Schwarz, was in the Fischer field.
Edgerton’s Cullen Maricque was one of the five qualifiers to emerge from the playoff, along with Craig Anderson (West Bend), John Kestly (Pewaukee), Matthew Raab (Hartland) and Schwarz (Hutto, Texas).
Elkhorn’s Nate Lockhart and Trevor’s Paul Lynch are the two alternates.
While the Fischer saw a bevy of rounds in the 60s, including winner Owen Butler firing a 9-under 63 in the third and final round of the rain-shortened event, no player came close to breaking 70 on Monday.
“The pins were actually really hard, and they’ve been doing that all weekend,” said Van Galder, who hasn’t played in the State Am since 2015. “Even though the scores seemed really low for the Fischer, it’s probably the hardest set of pins I’d seen four days in a row at Riverside ever. They were all like three paces from the edge of the green.”
The 118th State Amateur Championship will be held July 15-18 at the Golf Courses of Lawsonia in Green Lake.
State Amateur Championship Qualifier
At Riverside (72)
Top eight players qualifying for the 118th Wisconsin State Amateur Championship on July 15-18 at Golf Courses of Lawsonia
Austin Gaby, Verona 71
Sam Van Galder, Janesville 72
Travis Engle, Kenosha 72
Craig Anderson, West Bend 74
John Kestly, Pewaukee 74
Matthew Raab, Hartland 74
Nate Lockhart, Elkhorn 74
Paul Lynch, Trevor 74
Cullen Maricque, Edgerton 74
Nathan Schwarz, Hutto, Texas 74
Blake Wisdom, Lake Geneva 75
Tyler LaDuc, Madison 76
Mason Kent, Fort Atkinson 76
Burke Barsamian, Lake Geneva 76
Jacob Sherwood, Davis, Calif. 76
Adam Torgersen, Pewaukee 76
Cory Sokol, Mineral Point 76
Matt Behm, Valders 77
Erich Schwarz, Madison 77
Oliver Sadiq, Milwaukee 78
Sean Halverson, Janesville 78
Matthew Zimmerman, Janesville 78
Kyle Lunt, Madison 79
Joe Guerrera, Waunakee 80
Ryan Warpinski, Waunakee 80
Wesley Schwarz, Kaukauna 80
Logan Larrabee, Lake Mills 81
Garhett Kaegi, Verona 81
Paul Schwarz, Appleton 81
Dayne Schleusner, Burlington 83
Aaron Vogel, Janesville 84
Derek Pirkl, Madison 84
Ben Wiora, Wisconsin Dells 87
Matthew Gericke, Waukesha 91
John Richards, North Prairie 92
William Tearse, Madison 95