|Thursday, July 13, 2017 - |
For tee times and more information, visit CDGA.org/ILStateAm.
LEMONT, Ill. - The state’s elite amateur golfers head to Calumet Country Club, July 18-20, for the 87th Illinois State Amateur Championship. The 72-hole stroke play championship will be contested on the Donald Ross-designed layout, with the entire field playing 18 holes on both Tuesday and Wednesday. The low 35 golfers and ties will advance to the 36-hole final day on Thursday. Awaiting the winner is the Louis L. Emmerson Trophy, while the low 20 and ties will earn exemptions into next year’s championship.
A field of 138 golfers will take the challenge, including seven of last year’s top 10 finishers and 16 of the top 20 finishers from 2016. Calumet Country Club, hosting its first Illinois State Amateur, will play to 6,619 yards and a par of 70 for the championship.
ABOUT THE FIELD
The field consists of 25 players who were exempt into the Championship, while the other 113 qualified at one of nine sites throughout the state in June. Qualifying was open to Illinois residents with an official USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4.
Players to Watch
Patrick Flavin (Highwood) has finished in the top 20 in each of the last three Illinois State Amateurs, including back-to-back sixth place finishes. The rising junior at Miami University finished second in the Mid-American Conference Championship, earning him an individual bid to the NCAA Regionals earlier this year.
Raymond Knoll (Naperville) won the Illinois State Amateur Championship in 2014 in a four-hole playoff over Nick Hardy at Cantigny. The recent University of Iowa graduate has finished in the top 8 in the two State Ams since his win.
Todd Mitchell (Bloomington) is a two-time Illinois State Amateur champion, winning back-to-back in 2002 and 2003. The 2016 CDGA Player of the Year also has won the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship five times, including 2016, and qualified for his eighth U.S. Amateur earlier this month.
Charlie Netzel (Western Springs) has finished in the top 15 in each of the last three Illinois State Amateurs, including a T3 placing in 2016. Netzel recently completed his collegiate career at Michigan State University, earning All-Big Ten Second Team honors as a senior.
Brendan O’Reilly (Hinsdale) won his third Illinois State Junior Amateur Championship last month, becoming the only golfer to ever achieve that feat. The University of Illinois commit also won the IHSA Class 3A individual title last fall, leading Hinsdale Central to the team crown.
Brian Ohr (Wheeling) finished T3 last year at St. Charles after firing a course-record 63 in the opening round. The Miami University golfer competed in the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship earlier this season with RedHawk teammate Patrick Flavin, advancing to the final 16 in match play, and will play in next month’s U.S. Amateur after earning medalist honors at the Midlane Country Club qualifier.
Kyle Slattery (Rockford), a rising junior at Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville, has advanced to the semifinals of the CDGA Amateur Championship in each of the past two years, including 2016 at Calumet. The two-time Rockford City champion finished ninth last year at St. Charles.
Trent Wallace (Joliet) advanced to the NCAA Championship as an individual earlier this year following his second consecutive Missouri Valley Conference championship. The rising junior at Illinois State University also was the medalist at this summer’s CDGA Amateur Championship, earning that distinction by three shots over his nearest competitor.
Others to Watch
Jake Erickson (Springfield) is one of only five competitors to finish top 10 in three of the last four Illinois State Amateurs, including a runner-up finish in 2013.
Michael Fastert (Des Plaines) was runner up at the 98th CDGA Amateur Championship last month, falling in the 36-hole championship match.
Andy Johnson (Chicago) qualified for the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2016 and, at +1.7, has the lowest USGA Handicap Index of the seven Calumet Country Club members in the field.
Pete Kuhl (Morton) finished T11 last year in his State Am debut before playing in 11 tournaments as a freshman for the University of Wisconsin.
Quinlan Prchal (Glenview) emerged victorious at the 2012 Illinois State Amateur and recently graduated from Princeton University, where he was a two-time All-Ivy League selection.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) reached the semifinals (2017) and final match (2016) of the last two CDGA Senior Amateur Championships, while also winning the 2016 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball.
LAST YEAR’S STATE AM
After a pair of near misses, losing in a four-hole playoff in 2014 and falling short of a playoff by one shot in 2015, Nick Hardy left no doubt, lapping the field in 2016 at St. Charles. Hardy rewrote the record books, carding no round worse than 66 en route to a 28-under par 260, 10 shots clear of two-time champion Tee-K Kelly. Charlie Netzel and Brian Ohr, who shot an opening round 63, tied for third, with Trent Wallace finishing fifth. Of the 38 players making the 36-hole cut, 26 finished the championship at even par or below, with a staggering 984 birdies and 41 eagles being recorded over the course of the 72 holes.
CALUMET COUNTRY CLUB
A four-time host of the CDGA Amateur Championship, the latest being in 2016, the Donald Ross-designed south-suburban club takes its maiden voyage hosting the state’s amateur championship. Calumet also has served as host to the Western Open in 1924 and the 1945 Chicago Victory Open, Byron Nelson’s seventh consecutive victory en route to his record-setting streak of 11.
A pair of modifications will be made to the 6,619-yard course. First, the championship routing will begin at what is typically the sixth hole. This change was implemented for traffic flow reasons, as the club’s typical 1st and 10th tees are side-by-side. Second, hole No. 5 for the championship, normally a par-5, will be played as a par 4, making the course a par 70.
The track features five par 3s, including the challenging and memorable 213-yard ninth. The hole plays uphill into a green guarded by bunkers left and right of the severely sloped green. The 210-yard sixth requires a long carry over water, with out of bounds waiting behind and right of the elevated putting surface.
The routing consists of three par 5s - the 551-yard first, 517-yard fourth and 488-yard 13th. Depending on wind direction and accuracy off the tee, all three are reachable in two, providing scoring opportunities for the field.
Back for More
Three past Illinois State Amateur winners adorn the tee sheet at Calumet – Todd Mitchell (2002 and 2003), Quinlan Prchal (2012) and Raymond Knoll (2014).
Mitchell is the most recent back-to-back and mid-amateur (age 25 or up) winner of the event. Trailing by as many as three shots in the final round, Mitchell battled 30-mph winds and outlasted the field to take his first title in 2002 at Cantigny. His 1-over 143 on the 36-hole final day was two strokes better than Brian Anderson, who finished second by a single shot. In 2003 at Piper Glen, Mitchell, a former minor league shortstop, proved himself a closer on the golf course, erasing another three-shot deficit on the final day, draining a seven-foot birdie putt on the 72nd hole to win again by one shot. The back-to-back wins made Mitchell the second golfer in five years to achieve the feat—with future PGA Tour winner D.A. Points taking two of his three titles in 1998 and ’99. The Bloomington native has finished in the top 8 in 11 of his 13 previous Illinois State Amateur appearances.
Prchal was five shots back after two rounds in 2012 at Kokopelli, but rounds of 66 and 69 on the final day earned him a two-stroke victory. The Glenview native had recently graduated from Glenbrook South High School at the time of his victory and was off to Princeton University later in the summer.
Knoll needed extra holes in 2014 at Cantigny to emerge victorious. The Naperville native entered the final two rounds five shots off the pace, but defeated Nick Hardy on the fourth playoff hole after rounds of 67 and 71 earlier in the day.
Prchal and Knoll will be looking to join Mitchell as two-time winners, of which there are 15 in the event’s 86-year history and nine since it became a stroke play championship in 1963. A win by Mitchell would make him just the third player to win three stroke play titles, joining Robert Zender and Points.
Springboard for Success
A victory in the State Amateur is oftentimes a springboard to further professional and amateur success. Past champions include the likes of:
- Jim Frisina Sr. (1942, ‘47, ‘54, ‘56, ‘58 champ)
- 13x U.S. Amateur qualifier
- Gary Hallberg (1978 and ‘79 champ)
- Joel Hirsch (1988 and ‘89 champ)
- 2x Senior British Amateur winner
- Jerry Haas (1982 and ‘84 champ)
- Mark Hensby (1994 champ)
- D.A. Points (1995, ‘98 & ‘99 champ)
- Luke Guthrie (2009 champ)
- Vince India (2010 champ)
- Tee-K Kelly (2013 and ‘15 champ)
- 1 PGA Tour Latinoamérica win
By The Numbers
+5.6: Lowest USGA Handicap Index® in the field, Raymond Knoll
+0.7: The average Handicap Index of the 138-golfer field
0: The number of players who were below par after 36 holes of stroke play qualifying at the 2016 CDGA Amateur Championship contested at Calumet
1: Golfer in the field with Youth on Course as their club affiliation, Mac McClear, a 16-year old from Hinsdale, who qualified on the number with a 73 via the Lake Bluff qualifier.
4.0: The highest Handicap Index in the field, Tyler Woods, who qualified on the number at Sanctuary with a 73.
7: Number of golfers from the host club, Calumet Country Club, the most representation of the 92 clubs with golfers in the field. Nine other clubs have 3 golfers each.
9: Number of golfers hailing from the city of Chicago, the most of the 83 communities represented in the field, followed by Bloomington (8) and Glenview (6)
14: The age of Sean Curran, the youngest competitor, who qualified at Royal Hawk, finishing T4 with a 73.
19: The total number of victories in Illinois State or CDGA events by the field.
28.0: The average age of this year’s field, up nearly 18 months from last year’s average (26.54)
60: The oldest golfer in the field, Guy Lay’s, age. Vance Antoniou and Curtis Skinner will also be 60 when the championship begins.
63: Number of mid-amateur golfers (age 25 or older) in the field, including 7 seniors (55 and older)
75: Number of golfers aged 24 or younger in the field
352: Distance in miles Brady Dixon will drive from Mounds, Ill., a city of 810 residents just off I-57 near the Kentucky border