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Notre Dame grad wins Brown County Amateur

By Rich Palzewic
Sports Editor

BROWN COUNTY – Conner O’Neil, a 2014 Notre Dame Academy graduate, won the Brown County Amateur golf tournament Aug. 7-9.

The 54-hole event was held at the Brown County Golf Course in Oneida.

“It was exciting to win,” said O’Neil, who also won the tournament in 2016. “I play the Brown County course a lot, and I’ve been playing some good golf. Coming into the tournament, I knew if I could avoid big numbers and make those 20-30 foot putts, I didn’t need to be real aggressive off the tee. It’s a fun tournament to play in.”

On the par-72 course, O’Neil carded rounds of 72, 73 and 67 for a 4-under total of 212.

He beat second-place finisher Joe Mertens, who is 30 years older than O’Neil, by two strokes.

Isaac Prefontaine placed third with a 2-over par 218.

“That last round is one I’ll never forget,” O’Neil said. “Playing with Joe and Isaac was great. They are both solid players. The last day, I played the par-5 holes well – I birdied them all. I also birdied three of the par-3 holes and missed only three greens the whole round, but I chipped in on two of those. It was a solid round on my part.”

O’Neil said the course played difficult but was fair.

“During the first round before the rains came Saturday, the greens and fairways were firm,” he said. “For as many rounds played there in a month, the fairways and greens were in great shape. It was a great test. If you’re hitting the ball well, you should be able to score low, but if you’re not, you’ll get penalized.”

O’Neil said he was told by another golfer more than 7,000 rounds were played at the course in July.

The atmosphere of the tournament was great, he said.

“Driving into the parking lot, I got nervous for the first time in a long time,” said O’Neil. “There were people all over the place.”

He golfed at Division III Illinois-Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois, after graduating from Notre Dame.

“I was a first-team All-American my last two years there,” said O’Neil. “After I graduated from college, I considered turning pro, but I decided that wasn’t quite for me. I got a full-time job in Bloomington with State Farm Insurance, but I love being up here around my family and friends.”

O’Neil said he plans to be back in 2021 to defend his title.

Bob Warpinski, one of the event organizers, said 151 golfers participated in the tournament.

“The strength of the field was awesome,” he said. “Many golfers said it was the strongest it’s been in 20 years. We had players from all over the upper Midwest, including Wisconsin, Illinois and Minnesota. We also had at least three players from Florida.”

First flight winner: Tony Marold

Second flight: Tommy Thompson

Third flight: Brock Boockmeier

Fourth flight: Jason Renard

Fifth flight: Kevin Purcell

Sixth flight: Scott Oates

To view photos from Jim McNicoll of the third round, CLICK HERE.

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