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Wednesday, February 8, 2023

Stories from the Green

We were out at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind., for the United Leasing Championship to provide daily coverage of the tournament as well as exclusive interviews.

Round Four: July 1, 2012

A Dramatic Finish

Peter Tomasulo wins United Leasing Championship on Fourth Hole of Sudden Death   By Mark Mathis

The drama was as beautiful as the setting at the finish of the inaugural United Leasing Championship.

Peter Tomasulo pulled out the victory with a par putt on the fourth playoff hole of the Web.com tournament at Victoria National in Newburgh. It was a steamy Sunday that turned stormy in the middle of what became a intensely entertaining “overtime” event.

Tomasulo and David Lingmerth were locked in a playoff when a lightning delay was called after the third playoff hole. The delay lasted about 30 minutes before the playoff resumed.

Both players finished and an 11-under 277 in regulation. Tomasulo shot 70 on Sunday after a marvelous 65 on Saturday. Lingmerth shot 68 on Sunday. Tomasulo had his chances on No. 18 in regulation and during the playoff holes. The players went back to No. 18 twice, then alternated between 9 and 18.

“I made some really good putts, and just misread a couple coming down the stretch,” Tomasulo said. “I hit a great putt at the end of regulation, and I misread two putts. I could have closed it out a little earlier, and luckily he didn’t take advantage and beat me . The last hole I had a little short one, but it was still tough to make with all that pressure, and it was fun to knock that one in the back of the hole."

Tomasulo, a 30-year-old out of the University of California, has battled one injury after another over most of the last two years. He had a broken bone in his foot, stress fractures in his ribs and he has underwent surgery twice since February.

“This is the first time in awhile I’ve felt healthy,” Tomasulo said. “I’ve missed playing golf and missed being out on the road. Hopefully I won’t have any more injuries. I felt great. I putted so well this week. It’s just a blast being out here competing again. I’m very happy to have won a tournament.”

The victory was lucrative for Tomasulo, who made $99,000 and jumped from 200th to 21st on the money list. The top 25 on the Web.com will earn PGA Tour cards for 2013. Lingmerth, a 24-year-old from Sweden, is No. 23 on the money list.

Round Two: June 29, 2012

Higher Education

David Mills puts his "grind" in play   By Mark Mathis

David Mills has seen high levels of success during his high school and college careers on various golf courses throughout Indiana and the Big Ten.

Playing in the United Leasing Championship on Thursday and Friday at Victoria National allowed him to continue to learn about competing at an even higher level.

Mills will be a junior at Indiana University and was a four-time IHSAA state finalist at North High School.

Mills was the youngest golfer in the field — he made the United Championship by finishing second in the qualifier at the Country Club of Old Vincennes — and while his 9-over 153 didn?t make the cut, both he and his swing coach thought it was a very educational two days.

"This really gave David a chance to experience what it was like on another level," said Mike Reynolds, the head pro at Evansville Country Club. "When you’re playing in tournament competition, and on a championship golf course, the caliber of players here is a different level from college players. This gives him some exposure, and he can learn what it takes to compete when you’re out here."

"What he will learn and gain from this is, you try to eliminate the mental mistakes, whether it is a 3-putt, or picking the wrong club off the tee. That encompasses what you see when you look at the leader board, and you see they haven’t made too many mistakes to get to 7-8 under, or whatever is going to be leading. They’re not 3-putting much, and they’re not hitting it out of play."

Mills shot a 77 on Friday, and he hit 14 greens in regulation. He finished well with a birdie on No. 9, which was his 18th hole.

"These greens are tough to read sometimes," Mills said. "It is definitely a tough course and there are a lot of good players out here."

Mills has played about 10 times at Victoria, and he didn’t think there was a lot of difference in a regular round and tournament conditions.

"Usually it is always in great shape," Mills said. "The difference was in the pin locations and the greens were a little firmer."

Mills had to gather himself significantly after a tough start on Thursday. He started with a double bogey, and had a quadruple bogey on No. 6. After he made the turn, Mills got rolling with a string of four straight birdies to salvage a 76.

"That goes back to David in his earlier level of competition, learning how to grind, and the competitiveness he has," Reynolds said. "I could promise you he wasn’t going to quit. He started with double, then had a quadruple. If he made another couple of putts, and he could have shot 29 or 30 on the back 9."

The 20-year-old Mills finished fourth at this year’s Big Ten Championship, made the All-Championship team, was first team All-Big Ten, and was Academic All-Big Ten. Mills won the Evansville Men’s City Championship in 2011.

Mills thinks he can take some major momentum into next season at IU.

"It was a great experience," Mills said. "I hadn’t really played in an event like this. It is kind of the way college tournaments are set up now, a little bigger stage, and it’s a lot of fun to compete on a stage like this.

"I think I can build on this, it is just really good experience."

Round One: June 28, 2012

Janzen Looks to The Vic for a Comeback on Hottest Day in Evansville since 1936

Caddy runs backwards on 18   By Mark Mathis

Lee Janzen could be considered on the golf comeback trail, and he chose the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National as one of his jumping-back-in points.

Janzen won the U.S. Open in 1993 and 1998, but he struggled from 2004 to 2006, missing 46 cuts during that stretch.

Janzen has been playing on the PGA Tour out of the past champions category, and he is working some on the Web.com Tour — formally the Nationwide Tour — to get his game back in shape and hopefully get back to full-time status on the PGA Tour.

Janzen had a fine start in his third Web.com event, shooting a 5-under-par 67 to stand in second place with Martin Piller and David Lingmerth.

Omar Uresti was in the lead after the first round on Thursday with a 7-under 65.

Janzen is 47 years old and lives in Orlando, Fla. As a golfer with a former major champion tag, Janzen had a fairly large group of people following him on the course. They saw him make seven birdies, including five on holes 10-18, and he started on the backside.

"I played the course very conservatively off the tee. I opted to hit less club to make sure I hit the fairway," Janzen said. "I was content to hit longer clubs to the greens. I was also content not to fire at a couple of pins. It worked out well that it didn’t cost me so many shots. I only hit one bad shot a 7-iron on 8, from the fairway I ought to be able to hit it on the green.

"There were a few shots could have executed a little better, but I was happy the way I approached today, and went about things."

"I didn’t have to make a lot of putts for par, which was great. I stayed out of trouble. It was a good start."

Hot, hot hot
It reached 106 degrees at Victoria National for three hours on Thursday. It was the hottest June temperature on record in Evansville, and the hottest day, period, in Evansville since 1936.

Three more days of triple-digit temperatures are in the forecast. The heat didn’t seem to effect the golfers from Texas and the Southern states as much as maybe some others. In fact, most of the golfers joked about the temperatures.

Justin Bolli, from Greenville, S.C., said he didn’t feel like it went over 105 degrees.

Janzen’s caddy, Keith Nolan, said he did the last hole running backwards.

"I was taunting him," Nolan said, laughing.

Janzen said more humidity, which is not unusual for the tri-state area, would have definitely been worse.

"Very humid days in Florida, you’re just soaked," Janzen said. "For the 105 we were fortunate it was not as humid as it could be. It was hot enough that it will effect you physically, which could effect your performance, and your ability to think. I really tried not to waste any energy out there. I need it all. I’ve still got three more days."

Round One: June 28, 2012

Club Pro Scores with Birdies in First Round at United Leasing Championship

David von Hoffman impresses daughter and raises money for charities   By Thom Wilder

While wishing as every golfer does that he had made a few more birdies during his six-over-par round, an exhausted and perspiration-drenched David von Hoffman couldn’t have been more proud as he sank a par putt on the 18th hole Thursday of the United Leasing Championship at Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Ind.


As a golfer, von Hoffman would no doubt spend the night questioning a shot here or a shot there that could have lowered his score, but as Victoria National’s club professional, von Hoffman knows the tremendous value that this week’s Web.com Tour event will mean to his golf course and its community.


He couldn’t be more proud.


"This exposure is really good for Victoria," von Hoffman said. "It’s good for the whole community. There are a lot of good golfers who didn’t know about Victoria yet — they will now."


Von Hoffman also had added incentive on the course — his seven-year-old daughter was on hand watching him play in a professional event for the first time.


"She’s never seen me play in something like this, so it’s nice, really nice that she was here," he said.


Despite the stifling heat of the day, von Hoffman contends that it was not a factor out on the course. "You can’t let it affect you," he said. "Everybody is playing in the same conditions."


Still, von Hoffman would have like to have had more birdies during his round. Not to better his score, or even to impress his daughter, but for charity.


Prior to the start of the United Leasing Championship, Victoria National club members took pledges to donate to charity every time von Hoffman sank a birdie. Hoffman was happy he could sink three birdies, but wished it could have been more.

"That’s my only disappointment," von Hoffman said. "I wish I had gotten more birdies for charity, but there’s always tomorrow."

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