Mr. Consistency: Bemowski back for 35th Fischer golf tourney
JANESVILLE No one competing in this weekend’s Ray Fischer State Medal Play Championship has played the event more than Mark Bemowski.
And no one has had more success than Bemowski, either.
The 66-year-old Mukwonago resident will tee it up for the 35th time in the event Friday morning at Riverside Golf Course, the site of the tournament since 1982.
Although college-age players have dominated the Fischer the last 10 years, Bemowski has been no slouch. He finished third last year thanks to birdies on four of his final six holes and was the last golfer older than 30 to win the Fischer title back in 2002.
“It’s a pretty scoreable course, and you realize that when you play there you have a chance to shoot low scores,” Bemowski said. “At most of our events, nobody wants you to shoot a good score.
“For a lot of us, it’s a brief respite from the rest of the summer schedule. It’s a fun event with a good field and you get to play four rounds. I think there are only three other events where we play four rounds.”
Bemowski’s consistency in the Fischer is legendary. He won the first of his four titles at Cherokee Country Club in Madison in 1977 and added one title in each of the last three decades. He won his first title at Riverside in 1987 and followed with wins in 1999 and 2002.
Although Bemowski admits he doesn’t have the length off the tee he once had, his course-management skills more than make up for it. He knows the track at Riverside as well as anyone and knows when to leave his driver in his bag.
“The kids are bombing the ball all over the place but don’t always keep it in the fairway,” Bemowski said. “I’ve learned to hit my 3-wood or a rescue club well enough where I still have a good look on my second shot.
“This (Riverside) isn’t a course where you have to be long. It’s a nice little golf course with a lot of birdie opportunities.”
Bemowski stayed in contention a year ago thanks to back-to-back rounds of 67 on Sunday. He finished two shots behind champion Max Hosking, though his 274 total was lower than his winning scores in 1987 (280) and 1999 (276).
“I don’t think I missed a fairway last year, but I only birdied the par 5s twice in four rounds,” Bemowski said. “Those are the holes you have to make birdie because they’re so accessible.”
Bemowski is semi-retired as a golf equipment salesman but shows no signs of slowing down on the course. He plans to play as many events on the Wisconsin State Golf Association summer schedule as possible, including the State Amateur and the State Open.
Could a fifth Ray Fischer title be up first?
“You never know,” Bemowski said. “I’m pleasantly surprised with the way I’m playing right now. And as long as I have continued good health and I enjoy playing, then I’ll get out and play.”