Eau Claire native Matt Tolan is the No. 1 seed at the Wisconsin State Golf Association’s Match Play Championships, and he showed why on Monday.
Tolan won both of his matches on the first day of competition, topping Wauwatosa’s Drew Madelung and Rice Lake’s Simon Cuskey in the first two rounds.
Spring Valley native Tyler Leach, the No. 5 seed, is also unbeaten after Monday. He defeated Madison’s George Botts and Menomonee Falls’ Steven Sanicki.
Golfers are grouped into pods of four, playing each of their fellow pod members once. The top golfer from each pod advances to Wednesday’s knockout round.
Tolan bounced back from a runner-up finish in Sunday’s CVGA Wild Ridge Open with a strong showing Monday at The Club at Strawberry Creek in Kenosha. The former Eau Claire North Husky and current member of the University of South Dakota men’s golf team bested Madelung handily by a 5 & 4 score (five holes ahead with four left to play). He followed with a 3 & 2 win over Cuskey, who golfs collegiately at Minnesota State.
The highlight of Tolan’s day was perhaps an eagle on hole No. 7 during his match with Cuskey. He also clinched the win over Madelung with back-to-back birdies on the 13th and 14th holes.
Leach, a member of the Marquette men’s golf team, recovered from a bogey on his first hole of the day with three straight birdies. Two holes later, he made an eagle and followed with two more birdies for a dominant 8 & 6 win over Botts.
His encore was a 2 & 1 win over Sanicki, clinched with a birdie on the 17th hole.
Eau Claire’s Cole Stark tied with Waukesha’s Kevin Cahill in 18 holes, which was followed with a 4 & 3 loss to Kevin O’Regan of Northbrook, Ill.
Tolan closes out group play against Jimmy Morton of Sugar Grove, Ill., on Tuesday. Leach faces Zach Dybul of Big Bend in his final group match.
Cuskey closes out group play against Madelung, and Stark faces Zach Place of Roselle, Ill.