|Monday, June 26, 2017 - |
For tee times and more information, visit CDGA.org/CDGAAm.
LEMONT, Ill. - For the fifth time in history, the Association’s championship, the 98th CDGA Amateur, will be contested outside the state of Illinois, at Briar Ridge Country Club in Schererville, Ind. A field of 76 golfers will hop over the border to play 36 holes on Tuesday, June 27, with the low 16 advancing to a match play tournament beginning Wednesday and culminating with a 36-hole final match on Friday, June 30.
The field consists of eight exempt players and 68 who advanced from one of four qualifiers held throughout the Chicago District in May and June. The qualifiers took place at Midlothian Country Club, Stonebridge Country Club, Ravinia Green Country Club and University of Illinois Golf Course.
Players to Watch
Jordan Fahel (Peoria / Mt. Hawley CC) braved blistered feet and 132 holes of golf over four days to earn victory in the 2014 CDGA Amateur at Hinsdale Golf Club.
Andrew Price (Lake Bluff / Conway Farms GC) defeated two-time Illinois State Amateur champion Todd Mitchell in the 36-hole CDGA Amateur championship match at Calumet in 2016.
Steve Sawtell (Northfield / The Glen Club) is one of 20 golfers in history to win the CDGA Amateur twice, taking the title in 2004 and ’09.
Kyle Slattery (Rockford / The Mauh-Nah-Tee-See Club), a rising junior at SIU-Edwardsville, was a semifinalist at the 2016 CDGA Amateur and is a two-time Rockford City champion.
Trent Wallace (Joliet / Inwood GC), a rising junior at Illinois State University, won the Missouri Valley Conference championship for the second consecutive year in 2017 and advanced to the NCAA Championships as an individual.
Terry Werner (Dyer, Ind. / Briar Ridge CC) is the host course exemption and adept at match play—he has already won the CDGA Senior Amateur this year.
BRIAR RIDGE COUNTRY CLUB
Briar Ridge Country Club is a 27-hole facility located in the northwest Indiana town of Schererville. The championship will be contested on the Red and Blue nines of the 1980 Larry Packard design. At 6,829 yards from the championship tees, Briar Ridge is no pushover when it comes distance. What will really challenge the field, however, are the greens.
“You’re going to see a lot of back-to-front sloping greens,” Briar Ridge PGA head professional Dane Brummett explained. “Extremely fast, keep the ball below the hole situations.”
“The greens are the biggest defense for the golf course,” Briar Ridge member and 2017 CDGA Am participant Terry Werner added.
Both Brummett and Werner see the closing stretch of holes on the Blue course as potential turning points in matches, particularly 8 and 9. The par-4 eighth stretches up to 433 yards with water present on both sides of the fairway. Even if one navigates the danger from the tee, the track’s signature tough greens await.
“It’s one of the few greens that slopes right to left if you’re facing the green and there’s a large bunker that protects that right side,” Brummett said. “If there’s a right hole location, it’s extremely difficult to get to. A par is definitely a great score on that hole.”
Similarly, Werner says “par is your friend” on the 417-yard par-4 ninth, which will be played as the closing hole for the CDGA Amateur. Golfers tempted to set up a short approach shot with a long drive may be penalized by the trees and bunkers lining the fairway, leading Werner to urge caution.
“If you play it smart, it’s not that hard,” Werner said. “Just don’t get greedy. Just play, and if you hit a great second shot, you have a really good chance for birdie.”
LAST YEAR’S CDGA AMATEUR
In an event that had recently been dominated by high school and college golfers, the 2016 CDGA Am at Calumet Country Club featured nine of 16 match play spots and three of four semifinal berths going to mid-amateurs. Ultimately, two of those mid-ams reached the 36-hole championship match, with Andrew Price besting Todd Mitchell 4 and 3.
“There were a bunch of great players here, whether they’re college kids or mid-ams,” Price said after his victory. “You just try to plug along and do the best that you can. Luckily, it worked for me this week.”
For only the fifth time in history, the championship will be contested outside the state of Illinois, though portions of the Briar Ridge Country Club layout sit less than one mile from the Illinois/Indiana border.
The first three instances of the event leaving the state occurred in 1952 (Gary Country Club, Gary, Ind.), 1954 (North Hills Country Club (Menomonee Falls, Wis.) and 1955 (Southmoor Country Club, Bath, Pa.), during a 15-year period when the CDGA Board of Directors attempted to make the championship a national event under the Great Lakes Amateur Championship moniker. Since the event became the Association’s championship again in 1956, only once—1998—has it ventured outside of the Land of Lincoln. Legendary amateur Joel Hirsch won his second CDGA Amateur that year at the Dunes Club in New Buffalo, Mich., traversing a 32-player bracket to best Tom Studer 2 up in the final.
“I think it’s great to showcase to people that the CDGA even gets into Indiana,” Brummett said. “I don’t think that’s as common as I would hope that perception is, but we’re excited that we were given the opportunity to show off the footprint of the CDGA.”
Double Down on Price?
Andrew Price’s 2016 victory at Calumet saw a mid-amateur golfer hoist the trophy for the first time since 2009. Could a repeat be in the cards for Price?
The last repeat winner of the CDGA Amateur was Joe Affrunti in 2000 and ’01, though it has occurred 11 times in championship history, dating back to Robert Gardner’s inaugural feat in 1924 and ’25. Price—along with 2014 winner Jordan Fahel—will look to join Steve Sawtell, who is one of only 20 golfers in history to win the CDGA Am twice. Sawtell, in turn, will attempt to become just the fourth player to ever win the championship three times.
Hoosiers at Home
Three Indiana residents will be teeing it up in their home state for the event. Terry Werner (Dyer, Ind.), who won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Ridge Country Club in May, was given the host club exemption and is the oldest player in the field at 63.
“The winners of this tournament, it’s notorious,” Werner said. “Your name is on that trophy, you’re quite the player. To have it at Briar Ridge is even more special. I’m a believer in our golf course and I’m glad to see it’s going to be there.”
Also in the field from Briar Ridge is Joe Skrabutenas (Crown Point, Ind.), who nearly made match play at this year’s CDGA Mid-Amateur before being eliminated in a playoff for the final three spots. Rounding out the Hoosier trio is Patrick Mudd (Crown Point, Ind.), who recently completed his collegiate career at Purdue Northwest.