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WISCONSIN SPORTS ROUND-UP: Kohler to build fifth golf course near Sheboygan

SHEBOYGAN - The Kohler Company plans to build a fifth golf course near Sheboygan, close to its four premier courses at Whistling Straits and Blackwolf Run.

The head of Kohler's hospitality division, Michael Belot, told a town board last night that his company plans an 18-hole course on 250 acres it owns next to Lake Michigan. It's north of Kohler-Andrae State Park, where the firm recently canceled plans to build a wilderness retreat. Belot said the course would have a clubhouse and a maintenance facility, but he's not saying much more for now. More details are expected when the town's planning commission is asked for a conditional use permit to build the course. 


Madison golfer Steve Stricker says he feels fresh but rusty going into the Masters' tournament which begins on Thursday at Augusta National. The world's 15th-ranked golfer said the cold winter cost him some quality practice time in Wisconsin. Also, he recently spent a lot of time with his older brother Scott, who had a liver transplant. Stricker says his game is not as sharp as it could be -- and he couldn't practice yesterday, after heavy rains all but canceled practice rounds at Augusta. The 47-year-old Stricker started playing a limited schedule last year, to spend more time with his family, friends, and charity work in Wisconsin. He did manage to make four-point-four million dollars on the PGA Tour, with four runner-up finishes and eight in the Top-10. Stricker says his limited play has helped him in a couple ways. He says he feels healthier than ever -- and bad shots on the course don't affect him as much. Today, Stricker has a practice round with Mequon native Jordan Niebrugge. The 20-year-old earned a Masters' bid by winning the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship last year.  


The Milwaukee Brewers went 5-2 against Philadelphia last year, and they hope to keep that winning trend going this afternoon. The Brewers are the opposition for the Phillies' home opener, which was delayed by a day due to rain. The first pitch is at 3:05 from Citizens Bank Park. Both Jean Segura and Ryan Braun are in the lineup for the Crew. Segura is coming off a minor shoulder injury suffered at Spring Training. Braun has a lingering thumb problem which dates back to before his 65-game drug suspension from last season. Braun is only 3-for-20 so far, with a .150 batting average to start the year. His biggest successes have come against Philadelphia. with a .386 career average against the Phils.


Kyle Lohse will try to even his 0-1 record this afternoon, when the Milwaukee Brewers play at Philadelphia.  Lohse had a quality start last week against Atlanta. The veteran right-hander took the loss despite giving up just three runs on five hits in seven innings. The Phillies will send right-hander Kyle Kendrick to the mound to start his second straight home opener. Kendrick escaped with a no-decision in a 4-3 loss at Texas last Wednesday. It will be a homecoming of sorts for Lohse. He pitched for the Phillies at the end of the 2007 season, after he was traded by Cincinnati. Lohse is now in his second campaign with Milwaukee. He says he won't be bothered by all the hoopla from today's Philly home opener. Lohse said he opened Miami's new ballpark two seasons ago and quote, "When you're starting, you're in your own bubble." Milwaukee is 4-2 after a weekend sweep at Boston. Philly split its first six road contests.


The Milwaukee Admirals can gain a couple points in the American Hockey League playoff standings, with a home victory tonight over Rockford. The Admirals hold the sixth of eight playoff spots in the Western Conference -- and they're four points behind fifth-place Abbotsford which has the night off. Milwaukee has scored 20 goals in its last three games against Rockford -- all victories for the Admirals. Rockford is six points behind Milwaukee. The Ice-Hogs are one point behind Rochester for the eighth-and-final post-season slot in the West.


Colton Sissons is back with the Milwaukee Admirals. The NHL's Nashville Predators re-assigned him to their top farm club yesterday. Sissons got his first NHL goal on March 27th. He also had a pair of assists in 13 games with the Predators. Sissons had one other brief stint with Nashville earlier in the season. He had one assist in four games at that time. Sessions is Milwaukee's leading goal scorer this season with 24. He has 41 points with the Admirals and was the team's only American Hockey League All-Star a few weeks ago. Also, Milwaukee has signed Mikko Vainonen to a try-out contract. He just finished his second year with Kingston of the Ontario Hockey League. Vainonen had four goals and 14 assists in 57 games this past season.  


In the Midwest League, the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers will play at West Michigan tonight. The Whitecaps' organization spent most of the winter scrambling to remodel their ballpark. About 40-percent of Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park Michigan was destroyed in a fire on January third. Much of the indoor seating along the first base line was destroyed, when a fire started in one of the suites and spread to an attic. Officials said the blaze was caused by a heater. Whitecaps' officials vowed to have the stadium ready to go by tonight's home opener. Both Wisconsin and West Michigan are 2-2 after their opening weekends of play. The Beloit Snappers are also 2-2. They'll play at South Bend tonight.


Derek Loomans of Lakeland College is the baseball pitcher of the week in the Northern Athletics Collegiate Conference. Loomans, a senior, threw an eight-inning shutout against Aurora in which he gave up five hits and struck out three. Also, the NACC gave weekly honors to Scott Loftus of Milwaukee School of Engineering in men's golf -- Brian Davenport of Edgewood in men's tennis -- and Jerome Rhodes of Milwaukee Engineering in men's outdoor track-and-field.


After winning both the national football and men's basketball titles, UW-Whitewater is second in the NCAA Division III All-Sports' standings. Williams College leads the Learfield Sports Director's Cup standings after the winter sports seasons. Schools receive points according to their national finishes in the various sports. Williams now has almost 844 points, to Whitewater's 649. UW-La Crosse is 11th in the new standings. Oshkosh is 17th, Stevens Point 21st, Eau Claire 26th, and Saint Norbert 50th.