Dooley Takes Out Another Wisconsin Native
Minnesotan Defeats University Of Wisconsin Graduate Scheibach In Second Round
By David Shefter, USGA
River Hills, Wis. – At this rate, Adam Dooley might become persona non grata in the state of Wisconsin.
Two matches. Two natives of America’s Dairyland ousted from the 2008 U.S. Mid-Amateur at Milwaukee Country Club.
And to add further intrigue, the 32-year-old from Albany, Minn., is a University of Minnesota graduate. Let’s just say Gophers and the University of Wisconsin Badgers are not exactly friendly rivals.
On Monday, Dooley eliminated Matt Behm of Janesville and Tuesday morning he vanquished the last of the three native Wisconsin golfers in the match-play draw, earning a 3-and-2 decision over 35-year-old Mark Scheibach, who grew up in Fond du Lac, went to the University of Wisconsin and has since moved to Bermuda Dunes in the California desert.
“Maybe it’s the Wisconsin-Minnesota rivalry,” said Dooley, a 1999 graduate of Minnesota who tried the mini-tour life for five years before getting his amateur status back in July of 2007. “You just play whoever you get. There’s not much you can do.”
Dooley did virtually no wrong against Scheibach, also a reinstated amateur (2005). When he missed greens, he got up and down for par, going 5-for-5 on bunker saves. He took command with a conceded birdie at the par-4 ninth for a 1-up lead, and then watched Scheibach three-putt No. 10 for a two-hole advantage. Another winning par at the12th hole – another bunker save – gave Dooley a 3-up lead. The two halved the remaining four holes of the match.
“My bunker play has not been my strength,” said Dooley, whose biggest prize as a pro was an $8,500 check for winning the 1999 Nebraska State Open. “But boy it got me out of some trouble early on today. I escaped when I needed to and hit some good shots.”
Scheibach hardly was disappointed with the defeat. Now a once-a-month player because of his job, he came to the Mid-Amateur with no expectations.
In fact, this was more a get-reacquainted week than a golf competition. From the moment he arrived, Scheibach was shaking hands with friends and family as though he were a politician. It didn’t matter if he was taking in a Milwaukee Brewers game – he went Monday night – or strolling down the fairway in a match. Scheibach had time for everyone who came out to support him.
That entourage included his sister, Laura, a former academic All-America at Northern Illinois, who flew in from California with her husband. His older brother, Brian, served as his caddie. His mom (Penny) and dad (Larry) also watched every shot. Rob Retzlaff, a childhood friend who also tried to qualify for the Mid-Amateur, was a spectator on Tuesday.
“I had an absolute blast,” said Mark, who oversees eight golf courses in Hawaii. “This is a special place. Every time you drive in the gates here [at Milwaukee C.C.] you feel fortunate. I was given the heads up that this tournament was coming here, so I knew about it. The members were great. For them to allow us in here, I want to thank them. Skip [Simonds], the head pro here I’ve known forever.
“I’m too competitive to say I’m not disappointed. But I’ve got a smile on my face right now. When I put my head on the bed tonight I will still have a smile on my face.”
While Scheibach lives in Bermuda Dunes, he spends three to 3½ weeks of every month island hopping around Hawaii. In fact, he has a budget due for one of his golf courses this Friday.
Because of his job commitments, Scheibach hardly plays or hits balls. But he’s somehow able to maintain a solid swing, thanks to a good background.
“I learned the game from a couple of great teachers (Rich Tock and former Wisconsin golf coach Dennis Tiziani), he said. “I have always played by feel. I don’t need to stand there and pound balls.
“When you’re home in the desert in the summertime it’s 110 degrees and it makes you not want to play golf anyway. The rest of it is time consuming in the office. The last thing when you are at a golf course for the day is play.”
But after graduating from Wisconsin, Scheibach, like Dooley, gave professional golf a shot. He played the mini-tours and even qualified for four Greater Milwaukee Opens (now called the U.S. Bank Championship) at Brown Deer Park. His PGA Tour debut in 1996 came eight minutes prior to some guy named Tiger Woods. The two career paths have gone in completely separate paths ever since.
“Let’s not compare the money list anytime soon,” said Scheibach smiling. “You really have to want it and travel. I see a lot of guys still out there who are my age. I was fortunate to realize at an early point that I just didn’t want to chase it.”
Dooley came to that same realization a few years ago after spending five years of sleeping in cheap motels and putting thousands of miles on his car. So he did a lot of guys who love to play golf do – got into the insurance business.
Now in his first Mid-Amateur, he’s into the round of 16. The only problem is there are no more Wisconsin guys to slay. His round-of-16 opponent was Michael McCoy.
He’s from Iowa.
David Shefter is a USGA New Media staff writer. E-mail him with questions or comments at email@example.com.