Golf

Beaver Dam High School graduate Zak Kulka assumes first position at Wisconsin State Open qualifier

Beaver Dam High School graduate Zak Kulka assumes first position at Wisconsin State Open qualifier

Zak Kulka wasn’t stressed over winning Thursday’s Wisconsin State Open qualifier at Old Hickory in Beaver Dam, just about completing in the best 10 to guarantee a spot in the following month’s State Open.

He won at any rate.

Floated by birdies on the standard 4 first opening and standard 3 seventh, the 2019 Beaver Dam High School graduate and current individual from the UW-Green Bay men’s golf crew made the turn at 2-under-standard 34 and eventually checked an even-standard 72, winning by one stroke over Blake Wisdom from Lake Geneva.

“The objective was simply to get around here and put a decent score up,” Kulka said. “I’ve worked out here enough where I know for the most part what to do, so the blueprint was to go out there and do it.”

Adequately straightforward. What’s more, it worked.

The best 10 finishers at every one of the seven State Open qualifiers around Wisconsin get billets into the esteemed competition, which this year is being held for the 101st time — it traces all the way back to 1919, with two years of no competition during World War II — and will happen mutually at Blackwolf Run in Kohler and Pine Hills Country Club in close by Sheboygan.

Yet, those golf players who don’t get separate qualifier can enroll for a “Last Chance” competition to attempt to get in.

Such was the situation for Kulka in 2020, when he wasn’t in the main 10 at his qualifier and afterward came one stroke shy of making it while playing in the “Last Chance.”

Not this year. No, this year he not just endured in his first attempt yet won the competition for sure.

The solitary difficulty he got into went ahead Nos. 12 and 13, a standard 3 and standard 4, individually.

He twofold came up short the previous subsequent to sending his birdie putt 7 feet by the cup then, at that point missing a precarious downhill putt returning another 5 feet the alternate way.

He was unable to save intruder on that one, dropping him to try and standard. Then, at that point he came up short 13 to drop to 1-over.

Kulka wasn’t worried, however.

“I hit the ball great on those openings, it was simply putting,” he said. “So I wasn’t actually excessively stressed. It was just about attempting to go out there toward the end and make a couple more putts and simply get into the clubhouse, since I was striking the ball truly well today.”

He would birdie the standard 4 fifteenth to return to even, and afterward having been in the primary gathering to start for the afternoon, he would need to stand by a couple of hours subsequent to completing to discover he did, without a doubt, win the competition.

Shooting even-standard was no little accomplishment, he said.

“There were certainly some hard pins out there,” he added of why. “They did a truly great job of getting the course fit as a fiddle.”

Kulka additionally said he felt a little strain to play all around given that Old Hickory is his home course, however that at last his insight into everywhere on the course was a significant resource.

The features of his round went ahead the seventh and the standard 4 tenth.

On No. 7, he put his tee shot into the greenside sand trap yet chipped out for the birdie. Also, on No. 10, he made a 30-foot putt to save standard.

“That was a major part in the round,” he said of the principal opening after the turn, “since it’s consistently ideal to get a standard on 10 and make all the difference for it.”

The primary spot finish Thursday proceeded with a decent run of late for Kulka, who last Friday at Fox Valley Golf Club in Kaukauna additionally had a series of even standard in a qualifier for the following week’s 72-opening Wisconsin State Amateur Championship at Westmoor Country Club in Brookfield, this year denoting the 120th playing of Wisconsin’s other lofty competition on the late spring circuit.

The State Open is put on by the Wisconsin segment of the PGA while the State Am is put on by the Wisconsin State Golf Association.

The main 10 finishers finally Friday’s State Am qualifier likewise progressed, however there were six players who tied for the last four spots with scores of even-standard, which means Kulka needed to guarantee his spot in a season finisher.

“That is consistently an intriguing inclination, yet I’ve been in multiple times previously so I have a little encounter and realize that most probable in the event that you go out there and simply make a standard you’ll be OK,” he said of contending in a season finisher. “So that was the attitude going into it.”

Job well done, only equivalent to Thursday.

“I needed to play great today,” Kulka said, “and go into the following week from a positive point of view.”

Two others from region in real life

Luke Bader from Juneau and Mike Sutton from Beaver Dam likewise were in Thursday’s field, yet neither established spots in the following month’s competition.

Bader came nearest, tyiing for fifteenth at 6-over. The feature of his round was a birdie on the standard 5 fourth opening.

Sutton completed tied for 30th at 13-over in the 37-player field.

The “Last Chance” qualifier will occur Aug. 9 at Brown Deer Golf Course — a similar course where then, at that point 20-year-old Tiger Woods made his expert presentation in the dead Greater Milwaukee Open, a previous PGA Tour stop, in 1996.

The Wisconsin State Open will be Aug. 16-18.

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