Lincolnshire native David Feder overcame a two-shot deficit to claim the 35th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship.
35th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship September 13-15 • The Preserve at Oak Meadows (Addison)
Day Three: Wednesday, Sept. 15
FEDER RELIES ON “THE OLD BILLY BAROO” TO CAPTURE STATE SENIOR AM GLORY
ADDISON, Ill. - One year ago to the day, David Feder (Lincolnshire) walked off of Mt. Hawley Country Club’s 18th green three shots shy of senior stalwart Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) following the second round of the 34th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship in his quest toward capturing his first CDGA-administered championship. A three-over 75 in the final round the following day left Feder on the outside looking in, as Sheppard hoisted the Earl R. Liff Trophy for the second time in three years.
This year, in the event’s 35th playing at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison, Feder was triumphant in his chase-down effort, as his final-round 69 pushed the Lincolnshire native one shot clear of the field after entering the final round two shots back of 2019 victor Jeff Ott (Dunlap).
Feder, whose 3-under-par round was tied for the lowest of the tournament, made a pivotal change ahead of Wednesday’s 18, going from a relatively new putter to one he had been familiar with for more than a decade.
“I’m not a big tinkerer with clubs,” Feder said when asked about the change. “I kind of stick with something for a while, but I tried the new putter for the first two rounds and, last night, after missing a lot of putts yesterday, I went back to the ‘old Billy Baroo’ and it paid off. It feels good in my hands and I feel like I can make almost anything, or at least put it really close.”
Day Two: Tuesday, Sept. 14
OTT SURGES TO LEAD IN SEARCH OF SECOND STATE SENIOR AM CROWN
ADDISON, Ill. - At first glance, Jeff Ott’s (Dunlap) even-par total of 144 through the first two rounds of the 35th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at The Preserve at Oak Meadows may seem relatively routine. Further examination of his scorecard, however, reveals that the 2019 State Senior Am winner has been able to withstand a self-described “roller coaster” first two days to enter Wednesday’s final round with a two-stroke lead over a pack of five chasers.
Through 36 holes, Ott has tallied only 17 pars. He’s notched nine birdies and an eagle, in comparison to eight bogeys and one triple bogey. He eagled the par-5 13th in Monday’s first round, before carding a bogey on the same hole Tuesday. The par-4 14th, where he bounced back from a triple bogey on Monday with a par Tuesday, has been just as adventurous.
Nonetheless, Ott finds himself as the only player at par for the Championship. His 1-under 71 on Tuesday during blustery conditions vaulted him from T10 to the precipice of another title. The former baseball player in the New York Yankees system and at the University of Iowa credits the success to his ability to stifle frustration with positive thoughts.
“If it looks like I’m even-keeled on the outside, I’m not on the inside,” Ott said with a chuckle. “Believe me, I’m going crazy on the inside, yelling and screaming. All you can do is put it behind you and focus on the next shot and try to go from there. Try to not let it bother you. As hard as that is to say, that’s the objective. You hit a bad shot, I get it out, get my grumbling and then just focus on the next shot.”
Ott was not the only one grumbling on Tuesday, as gusts upward of 20 mph led to the course playing “three-to-four shots harder, at least – if not more” from round one to round two, as estimated by Mark Small (Frankfort).
“It’s a challenge,” Small said.
Small, the 1996 Illinois State Amateur Championship winner and match-play participant at the 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, headlines the quintet at +2. Joining Small at T2 are round one co-leaders Mark Hannon (Bolingbrook) and Cory Scott (Galesburg), who followed up 2-under 70s on Monday with 4-over 76s on Tuesday. David Feder (Lincolnshire) and Brad Kay (Arlington Heights) round out the talented pack that will be attempting to chase down the steely Ott on Wednesday.
“I like to feel like I step up and thrive a little bit when the chips are on the line, so to speak,” Ott said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The 75-golfer field was whittled to 36 following the first two rounds, with the cut coming at +11 overall. Ted Zurkowski (Chicago) was awarded low super senior honors, annually awarded to the best 36-hole score of those age 65 and older. He and Daniel Moore (Chicago) both sit at +5 following two rounds, but Zurkowski claimed the award with a par on the first playoff hole.
Play in Wednesday’s final round will begin at 8 a.m., with the final trio of Ott, Small and Kay teeing off at 9:39 a.m.
Day One: Monday, Sept. 13
HANNON, SCOTT LEAD THE WAY AFTER DAY ONE AT THE PRESERVE
ADDISON, Ill. -
The Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship returned to the suburbs of Chicago for its 35th playing as The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison welcomed the top 55-and-older golfers in the state on Monday. Regulars among the CDGA circuit, Mark Hannon (Bolingbrook) and Cory Scott (Galesburg) carded low rounds of 2-under par to lead the field following the first round.
In search of their first CDGA-administered titles, Hannon and Scott capitalized on exemplary conditions as a cloud-covered morning made way to an afternoon filled with sun and a mild breeze. Each player carded five birdies en route to their tournament-leading 70s.
Joining the two in red figures was the triad of Mark Small (Frankfort), Craig Sopko (Lake Forest) and Al Thompson (Bloomington) at 1 under. Small, who advanced to match play in last month’s U.S. Senior Amateur Championship, kept the cleanest card of the field with his lone bogey coming at the par-4 ninth hole. A pair of birdies at Nos. 4 and 13 brought the 1996 Illinois State Amateur champion into the clubhouse in his T3 position.
The group of Danny Brown (Buffalo Grove), David Feder (Linsolnshire), Marc Mayotte (St. Anne) and Dan Roan (Elmhurst) sits at even par and just two shots behind the leaders following the first day of action.
Rounding out the top-10 are a pair of recent CDGA-administered senior champions in Brad Kay (Arlington Heights), 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur and 2019 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championships victor, and Jeff Ott (Dunlap), 2019 Illinois State Amateur Championship winner, at 1-over par.
Defending and two-time champion Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) also remained within striking distance as the 60-year-old sits five shots back at 3-over par following two birdies, three bogeys and a double-bogey at No. 4.
All competitors are set to return to play another 18 holes to determine the low 35 and ties that will advance to Wednesday’s final round. The second round is slated to begin at 8 a.m. Tuesday.
SHEPPARD SEEKS SECOND STRAIGHT STATE SENIOR AT THE PRESERVE AT OAK MEADOWS
LEMONT, Ill. - The state’s top amateur golfers age 55 and up will descend upon Addison’s The Preserve at Oak Meadows for the 35th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship Sept. 13-15. The Earl R. Liff Trophy will be awarded to the victor of the event, which was first contested at Pine Meadow Golf Course in 1987.
The entire 75-golfer field will play 18 holes of stroke play on both Monday, Sept. 13 and Tuesday, Sept. 14. Low super senior honors (65 and older) will be awarded following Tuesday’s second round. The low 35 and ties will then advance to the 18-hole finale on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
ABOUT THE FIELD
A total of 203 individuals registered for the event, which was open to Illinois residents age 55 and up with an official USGA Handicap Index® of 10.4 or below. The field for The Preserve at Oak Meadows was determined through 24 exemptions and three qualifiers held at Effingham Country Club, Glenwoodie Golf Club and Midlane Country Club in August.
The Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship, conducted annually by the Chicago District Golf Association, was first held in 1987. The Championship is open to Illinois residents age 55 and older. It is a 54-hole event, with the entire field playing 36 holes over the course of two days and the low 35 and ties playing the final 18 on the third day. The winner of the Championship is the recipient of the Earl R. Liff Trophy, which was claimed by Tim Sheppard in 2020 at Mt. Hawley Country Club.