Onalaska's Skogen wins first County Am title

HOLMEN, WI - Ben Skogen (pictured) had a strategy, but wouldn't reveal it until he secured his first title in the La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships as presented by Pepsi-Cola of La Crosse on Sunday.
Skogen, a former WIAA state champion at Onalaska High School and member of the University of Wisconsin Badgers' golf team for four years before graduating last spring, shot an even par 70 at Drugan's Castle Mound Country Club for a three-stroke victory in Championship Flight. Coupled with a 2-under par 69 at The Golf Club at Cedar Creek in Onalaska on Saturday, Skogen finished at 139, four shots lower than runner-up Jake Dunn, who actually had the best round of the day with a 2-under 68.
"My strategy?" he said laughing. "Oh, yeah. My strategy was keeping the ball in play off the tee and fairway, hitting the fat part of the greens and lagging my putts up there where I knew my putts would fall.
"But my major strategy was to play against myself and not against the other players because I've done that in the past. I just wanted to keep the pedal to the metal. Fortunately, I did that and came out on top," he added with a huge smile.
Skogen had a three-stroke lead going into Sunday's final round that delayed the morning wave of Third and Fourth Flight players by rain for 3 hours. However, the tournament was still able to finish before 5:30 p.m. Skogen's lead stretched to four strokes, but then to only two when he double bogeyed the par-5 seventh hole.
He took control with a 40-foot birdie putt on the difficult par-3, 12th hole and never looked back.
Dunn, Josh Dirks and Tyler Church, who shared third place with 144, couldn't mount large enough rallies. Paul Williamson, all-time County Am champion with seven titles, finished fifth with 77-69-146.
"I missed a two-footer for par on No. 4, and then played that seventh hole just terrible," Skogen said. "But I chipped well and made some key putts down the stretch."
He had a tricky uphill chip on the par-4, 13th hole, but knocked it less than 3 feet from the hole to save par. He also got up and down on the 15th to save par, birdied the 17th hole and finished with a bogey in front of a large crowd gathered around the 18th green.
"This is awesome. I'm a proud 2018 County Am champion," he said. "I'm glad I won this tournament."
In other action, Jim Socha won First Flight with 75 for a two-day, 152 total.
Thomas Grapes came from seven strokes down after Day 1 to capture Second Flight with 85-77-162.
Robert Schoen posted his second victory within the last eight days by winning Third Flight with 84-84-168. Schoen won the Second Flight in the Kwik Trip Seniors County Amateur at Forest Hills Golf Course in La Crosse on July 28.
Bob Roers made it look easy in Fourth Flight with identical 83s for a 166 total and a 16-stroke victory.
Carson Brock, 16, was the low junior award winner with 83-77-160.
This year's Men's County Amateur purse was $5,625 for the 86-player field.

2018 LA CROSSE COUNTY MEN'S GOLF CHAMPIONSHIP
AS PRESENTED BY PEPSI-COLA OF LA CROSSE        

Sunday's Final Results    
Drugan's Castle Mound Country Club    
In Holmen, WI    
(Par-35-35-70)        

CHAMPIONSHIP FLIGHT    
Ben Skogen 69-70 139
Jake Dunn 75-68 143
Josh Dirks 72-72 144
Tyler Church 75-69 144
Paul Williamson 77-69 146
James DeBoer 72-75 147
Joel Preeshl 74-73 147
Bennett Hutson 76-73 149
Joe Weber 74-76 150
Mark Miller 76-76 152
Connor Frawley 77-75 152
John Anderson 79-76 155
Nate Smith 83-72 155
William Sibenaller 78-78 156
Eric Olson 79-77 156
Derek Iverson 79-77 156
Nick Anderson 80-77 157
Mike Bistodeau 83-76 159
Ben Korger 80-80 160
Carson Brock 83-77 160
Rick Stewart 81-80 161
Cody Dirks 79-83 162
Tom McClintock 81-81 162
Bob Geary 86-77 163
Montana Stewart 86-77 163
Tom Walsh 84-85 169
Mitch Gault 89-83 172
Nick Tomlinson 89-87 176
Michael Drugan 81 DQ
 
(All flights other than Championship Flight par-35-36-71)
FIRST FLIGHT    
Jim Socha 77-75 152
Almann Brague 81-74 155
Bruce Lindseth 82-73 155
Joe Loomis 80-76 156
Jim Jenkins 80-80 160
Trevor Schultz 81-79 160
Tony DeRosa 80-81 161
Randy Olson 80-84 164
Jon Strangstalien 83-82 165
Matt Hoehn 82-85 167
Kelly Demarino 91-83 174
Blaine Mason 95-80 175
Matt Euler 95-87 182
 
SECOND FLIGHT    
Thomas Grapes 85-77 162
Paul Franke 78-85 163
Tony Friedl 85-80 165
Emery Healy 83-84 167
Tyler Shrake 88-80 168
Roy Brock 84-86 170
Dayne Malesytcki 90-81 171
Paul Bruha 90-81 171
Tim Peterson 93-79 172
Wesley J. Snyder 94-80 174
Steve Wineski 89-86 175
Derek Canady 93-90 183
Andy Senn 95-88 183
Damian Bork 99-87 186
Randy Blank 97-92 189
 
THIRD FLIGHT   
Robert Schoen 84-84 168
Bjorn Berg 86-87 173
Jeremiah Shimshak 94-79 173
Keith Seidel 88-86 174
Tim Ratajski 92-82 174
Greg Espenes 91-84 175
Scott Hackworth 89-88 177
Mark Millis 90-91 181
Daniel Breeden 93-89 182
Joel LaPlount 101-83 184
Bob Sciborski 94-91 185
Monte Jacobson 93-93 186
Jeff Osgood 93-95 188
 
FOURTH FLIGHT    
Bob Roers 83-83 166
Jeff Schroeder 94-88 182
Jim Dolesy 102-83 185
Richard Schultz 96-90 186
Marv Davis 98-92 190
Andrew Lindseth 96-95 191
Richard Sater 98-96 194
Marty Gora 96-98 194
Tom Johnson 97-97 194
Leon McNutt 102-97 199
Steve Crogan 100-100 200
Jack Glennie 110-91 201
Ronald Puestow 101-102 203
Jeff Krueger 106-102 208
Eric Sorenson 119-105 224
Bob Cagle 97 DNF