2016 Wisconsin Hickory Open

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The weather was a challenge, the camaraderie is always a pleasure. The memories outstanding. Thanks again to Jenn Koss Hansen for the pictures. Click here to see her photo gallery of the outing.

The Wisconsin Hickory Open was a two-day event contested by more than 50 hickory golfers on the courses of Whistling Straits in Haven, Wisc. A two-day stroke total would decide the winner with day one being played on the Irish course and day two being played on the Straits course (home of the 2020 Ryder Cup matches and numerous PGA Championships).

The weather broke on Saturday with promise of good temps and rain holding off and wind staying down but, as mother nature often does at The Straits, none of that was going to hold true. The day was a challenge in both management of our golfing skills and mentally dealing with the chilly weather. After golf the group took over the Caddies bar in Haven to warm up and enjoy some drinks.

Sunday morning we woke to brilliant sunshine and a robust 38 degrees. We were promised a high of 50, and I think we just made it later in the day. On the range in the early morning the site of the Florida State and UCLA golf teams warming up in that weather was fun to watch. When they realized that we were hitting wood shafted clubs that were 100 years old they could not help but stop and watch. Then the questions began, usually starting with

WHY?
The wind calmed slightly, the sun warmed us just enough, and there was no rain. No, no rain, just light snow and small hail. Ah, Wisconsin in the springtime. As the day wore on it got better and the weather less of a challenge and the course more of one. I congratulate all the players for finishing, not one cancellation in the bunch. Now that’s the hickory spirit.

Congratulations to all players but special recognition to our winners:

Women’s Division:
Jeanne Swenson ( Iowa) – Who shot 100 on the Irish (very impressive) and 120 on the Straits course.

Super Senior:
Champion John Mabry (Montana) – shot 94 (Irish) and 89 (Straits)
Net Champion Dan Norstedt (Wisconsin) – shot 100 and 97, net 158, to defeat Bill Murphy by one stroke (who says those tap-in putts don’t matter?)

Senior Division:
Champion Dave Brown (Nebraska) – shot 80 (Irish) and 88 (straits)
Runner-up Hugh Cameron (Canada) – shot 86 and 84
Third Bob Hewson (Illinois) – shot 92 and 91

Senior Net Division:
Champion George Burgland (Illinois) – shot 89 and 92 – Net 133
Runner-up Bob Hook (Kentucky) – shot 85 and 87 – Net 148
Third Mike Sloan (Texas) – shot 99 and 98 – Net 155

Open Division:
Champion for 2016 Tres Steffy (Illinois) – with an outstanding score of 156 – 76 (Irish course) and 80 (Straits course)
Runner-up Deal Hudson (Virginia) – shot 82 and 85
Third Eddie Breeden (California) – shot 86 and 84

Open Net Division:
Champion Steve Simer (Wisconsin) – shot 80 and 88 – Net 150
Runner-up Gary Swenson (Iowa) – shot 99 and 86 – Net 151
Third Richard Schmidt (North Carolina) – shot 93 and 87 – Net 152

After our rounds at the Straits, a group of 36 golfers traveled to Lawsonia in Green Lake, for a round at the site of the 2016 U.S. Hickory Open to be held Sept. 22-23-24 of this year.
While the temperatures were warmer, the wind continued its assault. The greens of Lawsonia were the fastest we played all weekend. The course was set up close to what we will have in September for each player based on their flight. Each player played from their respective tee box associated with that flight.

Champion for the day was Steve Simer with a nice round of 82. Net Champion was Ed Ronco of Michigan, who is not a stranger to this course, having won the 2014 Wisconsin Hickory Senior Champion title. Ed Ronco turned in an 84 for a net 70. Having the opportunity to play with Ed and keep his score, it was of interest to note he had more birdies than pars on his card.

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Bill Ernst

Bill “Ernie” Ernst is a Society of Hickory Golfers Board member and a coordinator of the Wisconsin Hickory Golfers.

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