Thomas Longbella closed out the final round strong to win the Wisconsin State Golf Association's State Amateur Championship on Thursday by shooting a 1-under 69 to end the four-day tournament at 6-under (274) at Milwaukee Country Club in River Hills.
The Chippewa Falls native and McDonell graduate scored a dominant win by 10 strokes over the next closest competitor with Tyler Leach at 4-over (284). Longbella led a strong contingent of Chippewa Valley golfers at the front of the pack as the Spring Valley native Leach finished as the runner-up and Eau Claire's Matt Tolan was fourth at 6-over (286).
Longbella, a senior at the University of Minnesota, shot a 1-under 34 on the front nine with birdies on the par-5 third hole and par-4 fifth before taking a bogey on the par-4 fifth. He finished even on the back nine with birdies on the par-4 14th and par-5 15th sandwiched between bogeys on the par-3 12th and par-4 18th to close the tournament.
He was the only golfer in the field to beat par in each of his four rounds.
Longbella took a six-stroke lead into Thursday's final round after shooting a 1-under 69 on Wednesday to move to 5-under. He also shot a 1-under to start competition Monday. Longbella improved to 3-under in the second round with a 67.
Longbella tied for sixth at last season's WSGA State Amateur Championship at Lawsonia-Links Course in Green Lake with a 4-under. Prior to that Longbella finished second on two occasions in 2016 and 2018. He lost the 2018 state amateur in a playoff to Harrison Ott at Minocqua Country Club in Minocqua and tied for 47th in 2017 after taking second in 2016 at North Shore Golf Course.
During his time at McDonell, Longbella won the 2014 Division 3 state championship by seven strokes and overall earned medalist honors in 30 of 40 tournaments he played in during his prep career. The 2016 graduate was a first team all-state selection in 2014 and 2015 after earning third team status in 2013. He won three regional titles, two sectional championships and three Cloverbelt Conference championships individually with the Macks.
His senior season with the Golden Gophers was cut short after just four tournaments (12 rounds) where Longbella averaged a 71.75 with three rounds under par with one top-10 finish and a top round of 65, coming last fall at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate.
Longbella will return next season for a fifth season of eligibility due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
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