|Friday, September 11, 2020 - |
LEMONT, Ill. - The state’s top amateur golfers age 55 and up will descend upon Peoria for the 34th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Mt. Hawley Country Club, Sept. 14-16. 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. Low super senior honors (65 and older) will be awarded following second-round play on Tuesday.
The entire 81-golfer field will play 18 holes of stroke play on both Monday, Sept. 14 and Tuesday, Sept. 15. The low 35 and ties will then advance to the 18-hole finale on Wednesday, Sept. 16.
ABOUT THE FIELD
A total of 173 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 Mt. Hawley was determined through 24 exemptions and two qualifiers held across the state in August, from which 57 players advanced.
PLAYERS TO WATCH
Brad Kay (Arlington Heights / Ivanhoe Club) captured the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club. He also partnered with Brien Gerber to claim the 2019 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship last year at Calumet Country Club.
Tom Kearfott (El Paso / El Paso GC) won this championship in 2017 at Senica’s Oak Ridge. He has also claimed two CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championships (2016, 2018) alongside partner Tim Sheppard.
Tom Miler (Kewanee / Kewanee Dunes GC) has won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship three times (2010, 2012, 2013). He has also won the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship twice (2011, 2012).
Jeff Ott (Dunlap / Coyote Creek GC) is the defending champion, having won this event last year at Westmoreland Country Club by four strokes.
Ted Pecora (Winnetka / Bob O’Link) finished as runner-up in the 2018 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Riverside Golf Club. He qualified for the 2019 U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Old Chatham Golf Club in Durham, North Carolina, and has captured the Richard E. Peterson Champion of Champions Golf Tournament twice (2012, 2019).
Dave Ryan (Taylorville / Illini CC) is a four-time Illinois State Senior Amateur champion (2009, 2013, 2015, 2016). He is also a two-time winner of the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship (2014, 2015) and is the 2003 Illinois State Mid-Amateur champion. In 2016, Ryan emerged victorious in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Old Warson Country Club in St. Louis, Missouri.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin CC) is the 2018 and 2019 CDGA Senior Player of the Year. Last spring, Sheppard triumphed in the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Briar Ridge Country Club, becoming the first person to claim all three CDGA-administered championships - the CDGA Senior Amateur, Illinois State Senior Amateur (2018) and CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball (2016, 2018).
OTHERS TO WATCH
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington / Butler National GC) won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship in 2016 at The Club at Wynstone.
Brien Gerber (Bolingbrook / Springbrook GC) emerged victorious alongside Brad Kay in the 2019 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Calumet Country Club.
Rick LeHew (Brimfield / CDGA Staff) is a past Illinois State Mid-Amateur Champion, with his victory coming in 2004 at White Eagle Golf Club.
John Madden (Deer Park / Medinah CC) finished as medalist in the Aug. 31 qualifier at Glendale Lakes Golf Club following a 1-under round of 70.
Craig McDonnell (Evergreen Park / Pekin CC) earned medalist honors in the Aug. 13 qualifier at Glenwoodie Golf Club after firing a 3-under 69.
Mark Small (Frankfort / Sanctuary GC) is the 1996 Illinois State Amateur Champion, with his triumph coming at Cantigny Golf.
Ed Whitaker (Pekin / Pekin Park District) won the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship in 2014 at The Grove Country Club.
MT. HAWLEY COUNTRY CLUB
Opened in 1922, Mt. Hawley Country Club was renovated in 1996 by Bob Lohmann. The track has played host to the Illinois State Amateur Championship seven times - 1937, 1942, 1944, 1949, 1970, 1984, 2000 - in the event’s 89-year history. Bentgrass greens, tees and fairways, as well as water hazards and bunkers that play a key role in strategy, are the cornerstones of this tree-lined layout. For the championship, Mt. Hawley will measure 6,380 yards and play to a par of 72.
LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Dunlap’s Jeff Ott entered the final round of the 33rd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette tied with Andrew Gabelman at three under par. After bogeying four of his first seven holes to fall behind, Ott managed to right the ship. A 3-over round of 75 would prove to be more than enough, as Ott finished four shots clear of Gabelman to earn his first victory in a CDGA-administered championship.