ROCHELLE — Thomas Brennan and his Fairways Golf Course teammates had been looking forward to winning the Lincoln Highway Tournament on their home course for nearly a decade. When the opening round of the 98th installment of the event concluded in Rochelle on Saturday, Brennan and the Fairways team appeared to be in the driver’s seat.
Fairways started the two-day, 54-hole tournament with a strong first-round performance, scoring +14 in the best-against-bogey event to take a seven-point lead over Byron’s PrairieView Golf Club. The Fairways team played even better on Sunday, but an enormous rally from PrairieView and tournament champion Jason Wombacher swung the title away from the Rochelle group, which finished second with +31. PrairieView won with a final score of +34.
“We had been looking forward to this for a decade,” Brennan said. “We thought we had a great chance to win, and even after we finished the tournament, we felt confident we could win… We started stronger than we did last year, and we played a bit better on the second day, but PrairieView finished the tournament really strong and we have to tip our hats to them.”
Brennan led the Fairways team to the top of the leaderboard on Saturday, carding a 1-over-par 97 to enter Sunday’s round in third place individually. Josh Johnson was fourth overall with a 3-over-par 99 over the first 27 holes, while teammates Jared Johnson and Jon Woeppel each recorded a 5-over-par 101 to end Saturday’s round tied for fifth place in the standings.
“I’m really proud of the way our team played,” Josh said. “There were a lot of really talented players out there this weekend. Many of these players competed collegiately or were even professionals at one point. I thought I played really well. I made a lot of 5-to-10-foot putts and really grinded the tournament out. The course was in great shape and it played really tough.”
Wombacher and Denis Reedy, both playing for PrairieView, shared the lead entering Sunday’s round. Wombacher held off Reedy for the individual title, finishing with a 2-over-par 200 while Reedy carded a 3-over-par 201. Brennan and Josh Johnson, who was named the Flight 4 Champion, ended the tournament tied for fourth place individually with a 5-over-par 203.
“It was great to be out there with all the guys,” Brennan said. “I’ve normally played up to 20 competitive rounds up to this point in the summer, but I’ve only played two rounds this year because of the COVID-19 pandemic. It was definitely nice to get another tournament under my belt and play with the same guys I’ve been competing with for the last six years or so. The Lincoln Highway Tournament is always one of the highlights of my summer.”