|Thursday, September 8, 2016 - |
LEMONT, Ill. – The 30th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship heads to central Illinois and Bloomington Country Club, Sept. 12-14. The state’s top amateur golfers age 55 and older will compete in the championship, with a full field of 82 golfers playing 18 holes on Monday and Tuesday. On Wednesday, the low 35 and ties will contest the final 18-hole round to decide who will hoist the Earl R. Liff Trophy.
The State Senior also features a low Super Senior award, with that winner being decided after 36 holes. Eleven players age 65 and older will be eligible to win that title.
Players to Watch
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington) was victorious in the 15th CDGA Senior Amateur Championship last month at Wynstone Golf Club, his home course. Antoniou also advanced to the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Winged Foot in May.
Mark Esposito (Elgin) played alongside Antoniou at the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball. Esposito is also a two-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur champion.
Steven Jacobs (Highland Park) played in the U.S. Senior Open in Columbus last month. He finished sixth in last year’s State Senior at Ravisloe Country Club.
Mike Karney (Crystal Lake) advanced to the semifinals of this year’s CDGA Senior Amateur. He also made match play with his son, Kevin, at the CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Dave Ryan (Taylorville) is a three-time Illinois State Senior Amateur champion, including victories in two of the last three. He is a six-time CDGA Senior Player of the Year award winner and has also taken the CDGA Senior Amateur title twice.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) has thrived in his first year as a senior, winning the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball in May and finishing runner up at the CDGA Senior Amateur in August. He finished fourth at the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship in late August.
Others to Watch
Brad Barker (Bloomington) will be competing at his home course after earning co-medalist honors with Dan Roan at the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball in May.
Tom Fox (Palos Heights) advanced to the semifinals of the CDGA Senior Amateur last month, falling to eventual champion Antoniou.
Tom Kearfott (El Paso) won the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship alongside Sheppard in May.
Tom Miler (Kewanee) is a two-time Illinois State Senior champion, winning in 2011 and 2012.
Mike Milligan (Bloomington) is a Bloomington CC member who won the Illinois State Amateur in 1974 and CDGA Amateur in 1973, 1974 and 1977.
About the Course
Seven times over the past 70 years, Bloomington Country Club has hosted the state’s biggest amateur event, the Illinois State Amateur Championship, most recently in 2009. The club celebrates its 120-year anniversary by hosting its first Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship.
Originally opened as a nine-hole course, the club expanded to 18 holes in 1941, and hosted its first State Am five years later. Today the par-71 track stretches to nearly 6,600 yards, though the seniors will play the championship just shy of that, at 6,513 yards.
The 553-yard par-5 sixth will challenge the field, with trees on the left and out of bounds lurking just a few yards off the right side of the fairway. The slightly elevated green has a false front meaning distance and accuracy are required. The par-4 11th could be driveable for long hitters, while the par-4 15th is 440 yards uphill, with a vexing green guarded by two bunkers.
Last Year’s Illinois State Senior Amateur
Dave Ryan became the first player to ever win the Illinois State Senior Amateur three times, shooting a 2-under 208 at Ravisloe Country Club to win by five shots over 2014 State Senior champ Ed Whitaker. Ryan’s second round 68 was one of only two rounds under par for the entire Championship, with third-place finisher Ted Pecora also carding a 68 in the middle round.
Dave Ryan is the championship’s only three-time victor, having won in 2009, 2013 and 2015. Two-time champion Tom Miler (2011, 2012) returns, as does 2014 winner Ed Whitaker.