- Jim Kelsh / Wisconsin.Golf photo
By Gary D'Amato, Wisconsin.Golf
Tyler Obermueller was on no one’s radar going into the 121st Wisconsin State Amateur Championship. Yes, he won the State Am in 2009, but that was 13 years ago, and he hadn’t played in the tournament since 2015, when he finished T-18 at Erin Hills.
Obermueller is 35 and has a job, a wife and two young boys. He’s in a great place in his life, which is wonderful, but his game is not what it was when he was a standout player at the University of Wisconsin. How could it be?
“It’s different,” he said. “It’s definitely different. Back when I won the first (State Amateur) I was going through the college grind and you just wanted to impress your teammates and challenge those guys. Now I’m a married man with two kids. I’m kind of a weekend warrior.”
What were his expectations when he packed up the car and headed from his home in Hudson to Sand Valley with his parents, Ken and Robbie, and his 7-year-old son, Peyton?
“Probably, let’s just do the best we can and have fun,” Ken said.
A little family vacation. Peyton would get to watch his dad and spend a day at the waterpark in Wisconsin Rapids. Obermueller, who has dealt with foot problems this year and hasn’t played much golf, would get to play four rounds — if he made the cut — at the sprawling Sand Valley Resort, one of America’s hottest golf destinations. That alone would be a treat.
Once a competitor, though, always a competitor. The left-handed Obermueller somehow turned back the clock and outplayed the college and high school hotshots and mid-amateurs who play and practice more in one week than he does in a month.
With Ken holding down caddie duties and Robbie and Peyton walking along Thursday, Obermueller broke out of a five-way tie for the lead midway through the final round, surged ahead with a superb performance on the back nine and held on to win the title by one shot.
“I don’t even know what to say,” he said. “I remember caddying for my dad when he was playing in club championships back at River Falls Country Club. I probably was only a year or two older than Peyton is now. We have a picture at home where my hands are up in the air after my dad made a winning putt to win a club championship.
“To kind of come full circle and have my dad on the bag and have these memories, I’ll never forget it.”
Obermueller birdied three holes on the back nine, shot a 1-under 71 and finished the 72-hole tournament at 3-under 286. Adam Miller of Nekoosa, the 2021 WSGA player of the year and a caddie at Sand Valley, eagled the 18th hole for a 71 and finished at 287.
“Congratulations to Tyler,” Miller said. “He played a hell of a round of golf. I think there were four of us tied at even-par heading into the back nine. So I’m sitting there on the 10th tee thinking, ‘OK, dog eat dog, may the best man win.’ And Tyler was the best man today.”
ABOUT THE Wisconsin State Amateur
This event has been conducted annually since 1901.
The format, originally match play, was changed to a
72-hole stroke-play event in 1971. The State
Amateur, contested over four consecutive days, is
annually conducted on one of Wisconsin’s finest
courses and continues to be recognized as the
premier amateur tournament held in Wisconsin. A
three-man team competition, the Yule Cup, where
players representing the same club compete for the
Cup, is also held. To be eligible, players must have a
WSGA Handicap Index of 9.4 or less.
View Complete Tournament Information