Galesville's Quinn into WSGA Hall of Fame

Ryan Quinn has come a long way since his early golfing days in Galesville, about a 30-minute drive north of La Crosse.
There was a stellar amateur career, outstanding college career and a promising stint on the professional circuit.
It’s all led to a family trip to Wauwatosa, Wis., in early October, where he, his wife of 14 years, Meghan, and their twin sons, Jack and Robert, will attend the annual Wisconsin State Golf Association Hall of Fame banquet at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club.
The left-handed Quinn, Rich Tock and Ben Walter are the newest members being inducted into the Hall of Fame.
"It means a lot having a plaque on that wall with Don Iverson and all the other great names in the state," Quinn said earlier this week.
"I guess it's some kind of validation that I was a decent golfer back in the day," he added with a laugh.
But make no mistake, Quinn is thrilled by the honor.
“Really, I’m just kind of blown away, to be honest with you,” he said. “I always thought it might be a possibility, but getting that phone call and it being a reality just means a lot."
Iverson, from La Crosse, is pleased Quinn is being recognized.
"It's a nice honor for Ryan. Not too many of us from around here are in it," said the affable Iverson, a former two-time winner on the PGA Tour and 1966 State Amateur champion. "Ryan's very deserving of the award. It's real nice."
Quinn, 41, had an incredible six-year run in the State Amateur Golf Championship from 1998 to 2003.
During that span, he never finished lower than 11th place in the State Am and won title in 2001 and 2002 – the first and still only back-to-back winner since the tournament changed to stroke play in 1971.
He nearly won a third consecutive State Am in 2003, finishing runner-up to Brian Brodell at Blue Mound Golf & Country Club.
“I guess one of the things I’m probably most proud about my WSGA career is my record in the State Am,” Quinn said. “I feel like that was a tournament I always tried to peak at.”
Quinn was a three-time U.S. Amateur qualifier, advancing to the round of 16 in 2003.
He also was a top collegiate golfer at the University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire, finishing second in the 1999 NCAA Division III Championship and fourth two years later. In all, he won 11 college tournaments.
Quinn might be most remembered in the La Crosse area as a five-time winner of La Crosse County Amateur Golf Championships. He played in eight straight County Amateurs, from 1996 through 2003.
The then 18-year-old Quinn lost to 43-year-old Eric Haug by one stroke in 1996, when Haug sank a 30-foot birdie putt on the 18th hole.
Quinn collected his first 36-hole County Am title in 1997, nipping Joe Loomis and Jay Peterson by one stroke when the final nine holes were rained out.
"I was 19 when I won my first County Am and I think it's still my most memorable," he said. "I made a 6- to 7-footer to beat Joe. I remember that because we became real good friends."   
Quinn finished fifth behind winner Brian Banasik in 1998, before coasting to a five-stroke victory over his uncle, Paul Williamson, and Tom Knothe in 1999. Quinn tied for fourth in 2000. He started a string of three in a row in 2001, winning by three strokes over Michael Drugan. The next year he defeated Drugan in a sudden death playoff. Quinn made it a three-peat in his last County Am in 2003, winning by four strokes over Williamson, who incidentally is the all-time County Am champion with seven titles. Iverson collected six County Am titles in the 1960s, while Quinn and Rich Jungen are tied for third with five titles apiece.
"There were always two events I circled on my calendar every year that I really wanted to play my best golf. They were the County Am and the State Am," Quinn said.
Quinn, who acquired his pro card in January of 2004 at the age of 26, attended six PGA Tour Qualifying Schools.
The first one, in La Quinta, Calif., he remembers all too well.
"The first year was a struggle, but it made me appreciate the game more," he said.
Quinn improved, gained experience and eventually qualified for the second stage of Q-School twice, but missed moving on to the final stage - once by one shot and once by three strokes.
Quinn said he played professionally three or four summers on the Dakotas Tour, one year on the Canadian Tour, three to four years on the Hooters Tour and at least two years of his pro career on the Adams Tour.
"I enjoyed the Adams Tour the most because the courses were the best," Quinn said, adding that the Hooters Tour had the most prize money. However, he had his greatest success on the Dakotas Tour, winning three events. His biggest winner's check was $7,500.
As far as his professional winnings, Quinn estimates he was close to $60,000 one year and "probably pretty close" to $100,000 for his career before he called it quits in August of 2010.
According to a story authored by WSGA Hall of Fame writer Gary D'Amato, Quinn was playing in a Dakotas Tour event in Rapid City, S.D., when Meghan sent him a video of one of their twin sons crawling for the first time.
“I was like, ‘I’m done,’” Quinn told D'Amato. “That was my last pro tournament. I had lost the desire. It had gotten to the point where people around me wanted me to succeed more than I did.”
And just like that, Quinn walked away from what many believed to be a promising career.
Quinn is now an injury claims representative for State Farm Insurance. Meghan is director of underwriting risk and compliance for the same company.
Now Quinn is looking forward to the WSGA Hall of Fame induction ceremony on Oct. 5, with Meghan, his sons, other family members, relatives and friends.
"Meghan is proud of me and happy for me," he said. "We have talked about what an honor this event will be and I'm told the WSGA puts on a great event. It's going to be a lot of fun."
Quinn, who regained his amateur status in 2011, said he probably wouldn't have lasted as long as he did as a professional, had it not been for his wife.
"Meghan has always been such a positive influence on my golfing career even when I was down in the dumps," he said.