Jon Yamada wasn’t entirely sure what to expect on Sunday.
Making his season debut in the Chippewa Valley Golf Association Championship tour, he just wanted to get a feel for where he stood. So he hit his home course of Wild Ridge, where he is the assistant golf pro, without much expectation.
As it turned out, his game was in pretty good standing.
Yamada won Sunday’s tournament by one stroke, carding a three-under-par 69 thanks to a strong front nine and solid back nine.
“I just kind of wanted to see where my game was at,” he said. “I got off to a hot start with a couple birdies early. I had a lot of ups and downs in the middle stretches of the round, but I came back any time I made a bogey and made a birdie right after that.”
Yamada made the turn to the back nine after shooting a 33 on the front. His 36 on the final nine held off Brad Johnson, who shot 36 on the front and 34 on the back to finish in second place.
An eagle on the seventh hole proved to be huge in Yamada’s victory. He holed a shot from the sand for one of the only eagles on the seventh all day.
Ryan Isaacson, a standout on the UW-Eau Claire golf team and last year’s champion at this tournament, finished tied for third place with Kelly Kretz and Mitch Simonet at 71.
Putting was a difference-maker for Yamada. He finished with 24 putts on the day, which helped fend off the competition.
“The putter was really hot today,” he said. “Anytime you roll the ball well, it helps. Our greens out here were awesome, as they always are.”
The tournament field was full of local golfers, including players who have competed at the college level like Isaacson and UW-Stout’s Greg Restad. Minnesota’s Thomas Longbella, a McDonell alum, also golfed on Sunday.
“Nice to see the good, young talent coming in from across the area. Nice to see a lot of familiar faces, that’s the biggest thing for me,” Yamada said.
Yamada doesn’t play a ton of golf these days, instead choosing to put a lot of his time into teaching the game to anybody who wants to learn.
But seeing all of the golfers come together for the tournament got him back into it, and it proved to be a wise decision to throw his hat in the ring on Sunday.
“I kind of got the itch seeing these guys play here. I just said you know what, we had a guy cancel last night, why not take that open time? And here we are with the (championship) plaque,” Yamada said. “I didn’t expect to play this well, but it’s very gratifying.”
The CVGA Championship tour has a break next weekend before resuming at Whispering Pines Golf Course in Cadott on July 8.