Former Beaver Dam native Dan Woltman edged out the competition to clinch the title at the 2019 Wisconsin State Open, hosted on Geneva National Resort & Club’s Trevino and Palmer courses. Shooting 270 in a 72-hole stroke play, Woltman rang up the second-lowest score in Wisconsin Open history.
“Overall, it was a really good week,” notes the 32-year-old Woltman. “The courses were in great shape, and the rain left the greens soft, so we could attack a lot of pins.” (He did so successfully, ringing up 21 birdies and one eagle.)
A four-time Wisconsin Open winner, Woltman finished in front as an amateur in 2007 and 2009, then returned as a pro to claim the state’s title in 2018 and 2019. Including Woltman, there are four four-time winners of the tournament and four five-time tournament winners, the most recent being PGA Tour veteran Steve Stricker.
“To hear that the most-ever state open wins is five makes me want to get six,” says former University of Wisconsin-Madison golfer, who adds, “Hopefully I continue to play this game and am healthy enough to chase that.” In other words, challenge accepted.
After shooting 65 in the opening round on Trevino and 67 on round 2 on Palmer, Woltman headed into the 36-hole final on day three in first place and clung to the lead despite Oostberg, WI native Patrick Stolpe’s best efforts – including a 59 Watch during round 2 and a total 25 birdies. See the final scorecards here.
“Patrick played well; it was a great week for him,” noted Woltman, who drove the cart for he and Stolpe during the final rounds. “Typically to shoot 15-under on these two courses as Patrick did is going to win.” At one point on the back nine of round 3, Stolpe was within one stroke of catching the victor. “I’m just glad I had a six-shot lead going into the final because I needed all of it,” Woltman said.
Aside from finishing the last eight holes of round 2 in the pouring rain, Woltman says the most memorable part of the Open came in the final round. “I hit a low left shot into five and got the break of the week,” he said. “The ball bounced off a rock, went onto the green, and left me a 15-footer that I made for an Eagle. That changed the tone of the game for me.”
Also somewhat serendipitous, Woltman played the final alongside his college coach, third-place finisher Jim Schuman. “Jim’s a great player and competitor,” said Woltman, who last played with Jim during college at UW-Madison. “Jim was joking on the back nine that he was trying to stay out of my and Patrick’s way.” Knowing Schuman had won this competition twice and was runner-up three times, Woltman corrected his former coach, saying
"We’re just trying to stay out of your way.” (Always respect your coach.)
Like baseball’s minor leagues, golf’s mini tours and state opens are where PGA stars are born. Since going pro in 2009, the PGA tour has been the endgame for Woltman.
In June 2016, Woltman became part of the Web.com (renamed Korn Ferry) developmental tour, but lost his Web.com card after a rough go in 2017. He is now driving his way back to the Korn Ferry Tour, teeing up four state open victories in the upper Midwest in 2018 and two to date in 2019. He plans to go to Q (qualifying) School this fall.
“My strategy is to keep getting better; that’s what I do every single day,” notes Woltman, who swings a daily grind at his home course, Madison’s University Ridge. “Everyone just sees the four rounds that you play here, but it is so many more hours -- whether it is in the gym, the mental side, or the golf side. This victory is just validation for all the work that I’m putting in.”
Now living in Sun Prairie, Woltman tried living in warmer climates and playing year-round. “It wasn’t good for me; it was too much. I’ve played a lot better since I moved back home to Wisconsin.”
This month marked Woltman’s triumphant return to Geneva National Resort & Club. Recalls Woltman, “Prior to this week, I only ever played one round here on the Trevino Course when I was in grade school, and the members of my group drove a cart off a bridge. I’ve been scared to come back until now.”
In all seriousness, the now adult Woltman remarks, “Geneva National was a great host for this tournament. The courses conditions and Billy Bunkers were great. You stand here on the practice green and see this shoreline view. How can you not like it here?”
About Geneva National Resort & Club
Geneva National Resort & Club is located along the wooded slopes and shores of Lake Como in the Newport of the Midwest - Lake Geneva, Wisconsin. A semi-private facility, Geneva National features a legendary trifecta of semi-private golf courses designed by Palmer, Player and Trevino paired with on-course boutique lodging, a vibrant membership and award-winning dining at one singular and stellar location. Explore the possibilities at www.genevanationalresort.com.