After losing his Web.com Tour card in 2017, Dan Woltman decided to send his golf game back to elementary school and re-educate himself.
For nearly six months from the late fall of 2017 to the middle of April, the Beaver Dam, Wis., native didn’t play a single professional golf tournament.
Five to six days of re-tooling every phase of his golf game was a meticulous chore for the former University of Wisconsin golfer.
But now, four months later, that plan of rebuilding has paid huge dividends for Woltman — and the latest proof in the pudding came Sunday afternoon when he fired his third consecutive 67, this one a 4-under-par masterpiece that provided him a 54-hole total of 13-under-par 201 and a three-shot victory over Denver’s Derek Tolan to claim the 39th Southwest Kansas Pro-Am title.
In doing so, Woltman prevented Tolan from making some history himself as he was seeking to join fellow Coloradoan Steve Jones as the only player in the Pro-Am history to win back-to-back championships. Jones had done so in the early years of the event, in 1983 and 1984.
Woltman was unaware of any historic possibilities that Tolan was chasing, but in the process won for the second consecutive week, following a victory at last week’s Iowa Open in Iowa City. That came on the heels of a fourth-place finish at the Cedar Rapids, Iowa, pro event the week prior.
“I got off to a good start,” Woltman said of his three-birdie breakout in the first five holes of the final round at The Golf Club at Southwind. “After that, I just played a little more conservative and tried to avoid bogeys the rest of the way.”
He did just that, registering only one birdie over the final 12 holes, that coming on a 12-foot downhiller at the 179-yard, par-3 13th.
It proved to be pivotal because Oklahoma City’s Logan McCracken had moved to within two shots by making birdie at the 12th with a beautiful approach shot and an 8-foot putt. McCracken’s tee shot on the par-3 13th soared left into the plum thickets, and McCracken had to take an unplayable lie 1-shot penalty and ended up making double bogey to drop five shots off the pace.
Tolan, meanwhile, was playing in the group ahead, and after making his turn in 2-under 33 to move to 9-under, could only birdie the 10th and 16th holes, but stumbled with a bogey on the short, par-4 11th.
That left him three shots in arrears of Woltman, and all the Wisconsinite had to do was hit fairways, greens and two-putt for pars down the stretch.
“It’s been a good couple of weeks,” Woltman said. “It wasn’t my best putting day, but I didn’t really take too many chances and wasn’t really aggressive with the putter. I just tried to stay consistent.”
With the win, Woltman earned a $20,000 payday, a pretty good week for taking a detour from San Francisco to Wisconsin after missing the Monday Web.com qualifier on the West Coast.
“This was a fun week,” Woltman said of his 67-67-67 surgical effort on Southwind and Buffalo Dunes. “I was able to hit a lot of 2-irons and didn’t have to hit too many drivers. It’s my first time here. I had a great host family and everybody in the pro-am was just great to me.”
Following Tolan’s 204 total was Derek Chang of Dallas, who tied the Southwind course record with a blistering 9-under-par 62 and a 206 total. Fourth went to Curtis Yonke of Olathe (65—208) and a three-way tie for fifth, including Brandon Kida (Salt Lake City, 67), Jordan Rodgers of Holladay, Utah (69) and McCracken (73), all finishing at 209.
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