Springfield's Jake Erickson never trailed in any of his matches en route to the 5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship title
5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship May 20-22 • Northmoor Country Club (Highland Park)
Day Three: Wednesday, May 22
ERICKSON EMERGES VICTORIOUS IN FIRST CDGA MID-AMATEUR APPEARANCE
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. –Heading into Wednesday's 5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship final at Northmoor Country Club, Jake Erickson (Springfield / Panther Creek CC) reflected on his previous-best results in CDGA-administered championships. The 28-year-old Springfield native has finished runner-up in both the Illinois State Amateur and Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championships.
Following the final match, however, Erickson's path changed course with a 3-and-2 defeat of Zach Jecklin (Chicago / Butterfield CC). Twice the bridesmaid, now the bride.
“I really wanted to close the door today and get my first win in a CDGA event,” said Erickson. “I was really happy to do that. It was a really great win for me beating a lot of quality guys.”
The final began on a wet Northmoor track that had seen close to three-quarters of an inch of rain overnight. Although conditions were soggy, Erickson's and Jecklin's games proved to be pristine out of the gate. The two combined for four birdies in the match's opening three holes, capped off by Erickson's chip-in three on the par-4 third.
Erickson would then move his advantage to 2-up with a lengthy birdie putt on No. 5, setting the scene for the day with a hot putter and keen sense of lag-putting, following accuracy off the tee. With driver in hand, Erickson consistently played his second shots from close to 15 yards ahead of Jecklin.
“It started with my driver, I was in a groove with my driver all week,” said Erickson. “That helps so much to get into position and having wedges in your hands. I was able to get ahead early, get some birdies and the lead, and I like to play with a lead. I feel confident about making them come back to me.”
One lapse of the driver came on the par-4 ninth, in which Erickson blasted his tee shot past his targeted landing area into a fairway bunker. Holding a 1-up lead at the time, he played his approach into the greenside rough. Showing off a short game that was clutch all week, Erickson got up-and-down to maintain his advantage heading to the back nine and a string of holes that he felt confident in.
“That kind of fueled me on the back,” said Erickson of the par save on nine. “I had done well on 10, 11 and 12 in my other matches. I said, ‘Alright, let's go birdie, birdie and keep that going.' I was able to do that.”
Jecklin was able to capitalize on opportunities on Nos. 13 and 14, with a two-putt par and birdie, respectively. Erickson, who never trailed at any point in his matches this week, was able to tie No. 15 with Jecklin with a par. Following an errant tee shot by Jecklin on the par-3 16th, he sealed the deal for the victory in his first appearance in the event, a championship he highlighted as suiting his style of play.
En route to the final match, Erickson bettered Nick Feinberg, 3 and 2, in the round of 16 before ousting 2017 CDGA Mid-Amateur Champion Chadd Slutzky in the quarterfinals, 2 and 1. Awaiting him in the semifinal was 2018 CDGA Senior Player of the Year, Tim Sheppard, fresh off his victory in last week's CDGA Senior Amateur Championship. Erickson was able to outmaneuver the veteran with a 4-and-3 victory to earn his place in the final.
“You don't get a lot of chances to play match play, that's what makes this event so cool,” Erickson reflected. “I felt like, on this course, if I drove it well, I could put myself in position to make a lot of birdies, which in match is play is huge. You never know what can happen in match play and I was just happy to close it out there on 16 and get the win.”
With his victory today, Erickson is now exempt into the next CDGA Championship, the 100th CDGA Amateur Championship, set for June 24-27 at Glen View Club.
Day Two: Tuesday, May 21
ERICKSON AND JECKLIN SET TO SQUARE OFF IN CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. –The title match of the 5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship is set after a pair of CDGA Mid-Amateur newcomers, Jake Erickson (Springfield / Panther Creek CC) and Zach Jecklin (Chicago / Butterfield CC), each went wire-to-wire in semifinal victories on Tuesday afternoon at Northmoor Country Club.
Following Monday's play, Erickson found himself as the 13th seed and in the midst of a draw that paired him against a duo of familiar faces around the CDGA winner's circle for his Tuesday matches. Erickson began the day with a quarterfinal win over 2017 CDGA Mid-Amateur winner Chadd Slutzky (Deer Park / The Grove CC), 2 and 1.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin Park District), champion of each of the last three CDGA-administered senior events, was up next for Erickson after Sheppard's 4-and-2 defeat of Brian Hickey (Burr Ridge / Edgewood Valley CC). Erickson's swift start in the match proved to be pivotal, as he found himself 3-up through the first five holes. After a par on the 12th hole, Erickson's lead extended to five and it took him just three more holes to finish off the match at 4 and 3.
“It was a fun match,” Erickson said after his semifinal win. “Tim is a great guy and a great player. I had to go through Chad earlier, too, so I had to go through two of the more well-known guys out here.”
Jecklin, who finished tied for second at last year's Illinois State Mid-Amateur, took the turn to the back nine in his quarterfinal match against Brett Tomfohrde (Chicago / Butterfield CC) at 1-up following a clutch par at the ninth hole to springboard his victory. That was the first of three straight holes Jecklin won en route to a 3-and-2 triumph.
After playing the first three holes at one-under par, Jecklin held an early 2-up advantage over Rick Stewart (Park Ridge / Arrowhead GC) in the second semifinal. The match looked to be in Jecklin's control on the back nine with a 6-up advantage following the 11th hole. The 33-year-old carried a five-hole advantage with just five holes to play and, after a pair of bogeys on 14 and 15 allowed the match to continue, Jecklin closed it out with a par on the 16th hole to win 4 and 2. Following his victory, Jecklin put his win into perspective heading into the final match.
“Maybe try to make a few more birdies, but I told Raul (his local caddie) when we started today that the main goal was to get to play in 75 degrees and sunny tomorrow,” said Jecklin. “We got that far, so now we'll go out and try to get it done.”
Wednesday's championship match will mark the first time that Erickson and Jecklin have golfed with one another, with both vying for their first title in a CDGA-administered championship. The duo is scheduled to tee off at 8:30 a.m.
MATCH PLAY RESULTS
(13) Jake Erickson def. (1) Tim Sheppard, 4 and 3
(14) Zach Jecklin def. (2) Rick Stewart, 4 and 2
(1) Tim Sheppard def. (8) Brian Hickey, 4 and 2
(13) Jake Erickson def. (5) Chadd Slutzky, 2 and 1
(2) Rick Stewart def. (7) Tim Morrow, 1 up
(14) Zach Jecklin def. (6) Brett Tomfohrde, 3 and 2
Day One: Monday, May 20
MEDALIST SHEPPARD, PAST CHAMP SLUTZKY HIGHLIGHT MID-AM QUARTERFINALISTS
HIGHLAND PARK, Ill. – Medalist Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin Park District) and 2017 victor Chadd Slutzky (Deer Park / The Grove CC) were among the eight to advance through 18 holes of stroke play and one round of match play on day one of the 5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Northmoor Country Club.
Sheppard, just four days removed from completing the senior trifecta by winning the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Briar Ridge Country Club, fired a 3-under 68 in the morning stroke-play round to earn medalist honors. Match play did not go as smoothly for the 58-year-old, who was 2 down to Glenn Przybylski (Frankfort / Sanctuary GC) through 13, before reeling off three straight holes to go 1 up. Przybylski birdied No. 18, before Sheppard closed the match out on the 19th hole.
Slutzky was one of seven individuals to fire a 1-over 72 in stroke play, earning the No. 5 seed and a match against Graham O'Connor-Brooks (Lake Forest / Glen Flora CC). Slutzky built a 3-up advantage through 13 holes before hanging on to close out O'Connor-Brooks on 18, 1 up.
Defending CDGA Mid-Am champion John Ehrgott (Edwards / Mt. Hawley CC) shot a 72 before losing to 2017 runner-up Brian Hickey (Burr Ridge / Edgewood Valley CC), who rolled in a birdie on the fourth playoff hole to advance. Blake Johnson (Winnetka / Glen View Club), who fell to Ehrgott in last year's championship match, did not make match play after shooting an 8-over 79.
The event continues on Tuesday with the quarterfinal and semifinal matches, before concluding on Wednesday with the title tilt.
Round of 16
(1) Tim Sheppard def. (16) Glenn Przybylski, 19 holes
(8) Brian Hickey def. (9) John Ehrgott, 22 holes
(5) Chadd Slutzky def. (12) Graham O'Connor-Brooks, 1 up
(13) Jake Erickson def. (4) Nicholas Feinberg, 3 and 2
(2) Rick Stewart def. (15) Jim Arvanetes, 20 holes
(7) Tim Morrow def. (10) Patrick Kirchhofer, 4 and 2
(6) Brett Tomfohrde def. (11) John Ramsey, 2 up
(14) Zach Jecklin def. (3) Greg Bauman, 2 and 1
Championship Information The CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship debuted its current format in 2015. Open to CDGA members age 25 or older, the CDGA Mid-Am features an 18-hole stroke play round to determine a 16-player match play bracket. John Ehrgott is the defending champion, notching his second CDGA Mid-Am crown in 2018 at Hinsdale Golf Club. (2018 Recap / Event History)