Matt Tolan didn’t think about where he stood on the leaderboard as he played the front nine at 3-under. When he birdied the 16th hole, he started feeling pretty good. On the 17th, a 206-yard uphill par 3, Tolan stuck his tee shot on the green. When he made the ensuing putt for another birdie to move to 5 under for the round, Tolan realized he was locked in.
That’s when the Eau Claire North product knew he had a chance to win.
Fueled by that 5-under 65 in the third round that gave him the lead, Tolan won the Wisconsin State Amateur. His final round 69 on Thursday at Oconomowoc Golf Club gave him a four-day score of 273. He was 7 under for the tournament to win by four strokes.
“It’s an incredible honor to be the State Amateur champ,” Tolan said. “It’ll definitely boost my confidence for the rest of the summer.”
Tolan had tried but failed in the past to qualify for the State Amateur, so he wasn't exactly expecting to win the tournament when playing it for the first time.
“But I knew I had been playing well going into it, so I thought I had a chance to do something special,” Tolan said. “I have to tip my hat to my swing coach, Brent Snyder. He’s really helped me with my swing, and I'm a better golfer since I've been working with him.”
Tolan, fresh off a freshman season at South Dakota in which he posted a 74.45 average and won one tournament, was in contention from the get-go with an opening round 67 that had him one shot off the lead. His worst round was a 2-over 72 on the second day that had him tied for fifth and two shots back.
Then, on moving day, Tolan did just that, turning in a bogey-free round of 65 to jump into first by two strokes. His biggest competitor was Brookfield’s Eddie Wajda, who was practically playing in his back yard. But it was Tolan who felt right at home while pulling away with three more birdies in the final round.
“To play four solid rounds like that, I hadn’t done that in awhile,” Tolan said. “To be able to do that on that stage was incredible.”
Spring Valley’s Tyler Leach finished 5-over for the tournament and tied for 18th.
Eau Claire’s Ryan Isaacson and River Falls’ Garrett Loomis each shot a 10-over 290 to tie for 29th.
Chippewa Falls McDonell graduate and Minnesota golfer Thomas Longbella tied for 49th with a 298.