|Monday, August 19, 2019 - |
LEMONT, Ill. – The second of three state amateur championships of 2019 is on tap at Stonebridge Country Club in Aurora, as Illinois’ best golfers age 25 and older will duel in the 27th Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship Aug. 20-21.
The two-day, 54-hole event begins with a grueling 36-hole day on Tuesday, Aug. 20. The low 35 and ties will survive the cut, with a final 18-hole round on Wednesday, Aug. 21 determining the victor.
ABOUT THE FIELD
The field of 78 players was determined by exemptions and three qualifiers in late July and early August, with a total of 20 players exempt and 194 attempting to qualify for the Championship. Registration was open to any Illinois resident with an official USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 7.4, increased from 5.4 for this year, and who has reached their 25th birthday on or before the start of the event.
Players to Watch
Greg Bauman (Chicago / Biltmore CC) pulled away for a four-shot victory in the 2017 Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship at Exmoor Country Club. He also has made match play in each of the last two CDGA Mid-Amateur and CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championships.
John Ehrgott (Edwards / Mt. Hawley CC) holds four titles in CDGA-administered mid-amateur events – two in the Illinois State Mid-Amateur (2007, 2009) and two in the CDGA Mid-Amateur (2015, 2018). In the Illinois State Amateur Championship, he has finished no worse than T19 since 2017.
Jake Erickson (Springfield / Panther Creek CC) triumphed in the 4th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship at Northmoor Country Club in May, his first title in a CDGA-administered event. Additionally, Erickson has finished second in both the Illinois State Amateur (2013) and Illinois State Mid-Amateur (2017) Championships.
Todd Mitchell (Bloomington / Crestwicke CC) is a four-time CDGA Player of the Year and five-time winner of the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship, most-recently in 2016 at Flossmoor Country Club. Mitchell claimed his first national championship by partnering with North Carolina native Scott Harvey to claim the U.S. Amateur Four-Ball at Bandon Dunes in May.
Michael Natale (Burr Ridge / Cog Hill G&CC) was medalist after his 5-under 67 in the Village Greens of Woodridge qualifier on Aug. 5. He has also won two CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championships alongside partner Steve Sawtell and was runner up in the inaugural CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship in 2015.
Chadd Slutzky (Deer Park / The Grove CC) has won two CDGA-administered mid-amateur championships – the Illinois State Mid-Amateur in 2015 at Flosmoor Country Club and the CDGA Mid-Amateur in 2017 at Mistwood Golf Club. He also partnered with John Ramsey to emerge victorious in the 2017 CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Logan Stauffer (Bloomington / Ironwood GC) enters as the defending champion after utilizing three under-par rounds to claim a one-stroke victory in the 2018 Illinois State Mid-Amateur at Glen Oak Country Club. Additionally, Stauffer notched top-9 finishes in each of the last two Illinois State Amateur Championships.
Others to Watch
Mike Cushing (Bloomington / Bloomington CC), who was inducted into the Bloomington-Normal Golf Association Hall of Fame in 2017, is coming off a runner-up finish at the CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship last month.
Dan Gratton (Glen Ellyn / Village Links of Glen Ellyn) was co-medalist at the Balmoral Woods Country Club qualifier on Aug. 6 after shooting a 1-under 71.
Mike Henry (Bloomington / Weibring GC) has finished in the top-19 of the Illinois State Amateur Championship the last two years, including a T4 placing in 2018.
Tom Kearfott (El Paso / El Paso GC) has earned three CDGA-administered titles in the last four seasons – the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2016 and 2018 and the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship in 2017.
Stino Milito (Park Ridge / Park Ridge CC) fired a 1-under 71 at the Balmoral Woods Country Club qualifier on Aug. 6 to earn co-medalist honors.
Scott Phegley (Peoria / Pekin Park District) topped the qualifier at Ironhorse Golf Club with a 2-under 70.
Glenn Przybylski (Frankfort / The Sanctuary GC) has qualified for 11 USGA championships, including a Round of 16 appearance at the 2015 U.S. Mid-Amateur.
John Wright (Aurora / Oak Brook GC) came up just one stroke short of winner Logan Stauffer in last year’s Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship, placing T2 after finishing 5-under overall.
STONEBRIDGE COUNTRY CLUB
Stonebridge Country Club is set to host to the state’s top mid-amateurs when the 27th Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship competes on the 6,740-yard track Aug. 20-21. The club, located no more than three miles off Interstate-88 in Aurora, is hosting the State Mid-Am for its first time. The event also marks the first CDGA-administered competition at Stonebridge since the CDGA Amateur Championship in 1995.
Built in 1989, Stonebridge is celebrating three decades of golf this season. Along with the aforementioned CDGA Am, the club has also hosted the PGA Tour Champions’ Ameritech Senior Open five times, the LPGA Kellogg-Keebler Classic three times, and a U.S. Amateur Qualifier in 2009. This year’s State Mid-Am champion will join a trio of World Golf Hall of Famers in Hale Irwin, Annika Sorenstam and Karrie Webb by hoisting a trophy on the grounds of Stonebridge Country Club.
“For a course with such a short history relative to others in the Chicago area, as we’ve only been around for 30 years, we’ve held championship golf for eight of those years,” said Head Golf Professional Andrew Stevens. “The membership is looking to get back into the conversation as a championship-caliber facility that can host some top-tier golfers.”
Illinois’ top-tier mid-amateurs should expect a track that features variety throughout. Tom Fazio, who also put his mark on Butler National G.C., Conway Farms G.C. and The Glen Club, designed the course to force players to take the correct lines with their tee shots, while giving them the opportunity to reach all four par-5s in two.
“It’s pretty inviting off the tee box for the most part,” Stevens said. “Fazio put a heavy emphasis on strategic lines into the greens. Players who can figure those lines out, and can hit those spots, have a distinct advantage over those who stand up and free-wheel it.
“The real key is that players have to score on the par-5s here,” Stevens added. “If a player hits the ball long enough and hits two good shots, all four are easily reachable for those guys.”
The closing stretch at the club proposes a risk-reward for those looking to make move up the leaderboard. The final five holes features two par 5s that measure less than 540 yards each, but host water hazards to the right.
“The last five holes are a great stretch that offers a lot of variety,” stated Stevens. “They are getable, but you can get into some pretty significant trouble as well if you miss your marks.”
The 1995 CDGA Amateur Championship at Stonebridge Country Club was captured by Jeff Matheson of Kemper Lakes Golf Club. The event occurred just six years after Stonebridge opened its doors.
LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Following a year hiatus from the game of golf, Bloomington’s Logan Stauffer, a debutant in the event, carded a final-round, 3-under 69 to edge out Zach Jecklin and John Wright by one shot to win his first CDGA-administered championship. Five players held at least a share of the lead at some point during the final round, before Stauffer was able to two-putt on No. 18 to capture the title.