|Tuesday, September 11, 2018 - |
LEMONT, Ill. – The 32nd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship wraps up the 2018 state championship slate at Riverside Golf Club in North Riverside from Sept. 12-14. A field of 81 players age 55 and older will vie for the Earl L. Liff Trophy by playing 18 holes on both Wednesday and Thursday, with the low 35 and ties playing the final 18 holes on Friday. A super senior champion (age 65 and older) will also be crowned following play on Thursday.
A total of 204 players registered for the Championship, with 25 players exempt and 56 players advancing through three qualifiers administered in August. Registration was open to any Illinois resident with a current official USGA Handicap Index® not exceeding 10.4 and who has reached his 55th birthday on or before the start of the event.
Players to Watch
Dirk Anderson (Libertyville) is the 2011 CDGA Senior Amateur Champion. Anderson also finished in second in the 2017 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship, alongside Steven Jacobs.
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington) won the 2016 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship.
Brad Kay (Arlington Heights) won the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club last month in his first event since becoming eligible for senior championships.
Tom Kearfott (El Paso) is the defending champion of the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship. Kearfott was also a semifinalist in the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship last month, losing to eventual champion Brad Kay.
Tom Miler (Kewanee) is a three-time winner of the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship (2010, 2012, 2013) in addition to his two Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship titles (2011, 2012). Miler finished in second last year.
Ted Pecora (Winnetka) was the runner-up in last month’s CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) was a semifinalist in the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship last month before qualifying for match play in the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Ed Whitaker (Pekin) won the 2014 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship and finished tied for third place in the 2017 Illinois State Senior Am.
Others to Watch
Richard Arden (Algonquin) earned co-medalist honors at the Bartlett Hills Golf Club.
Michael Bandy (Joliet) earned medalist honors at the Glenwoodie Golf Club qualifier.
Kip Blakesley (Germantown Hills) earned medalist honors at the Sunset Hills Golf Course qualifier.
Mark Esposito (Elgin) is a two-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur Champion, in 1999 and 2006, and has finished in the top 10 in three of the last four Illinois State Senior Ams.
John Finnin (Mokena) won the 2017 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship alongside partner Terry Werner, following a runner-up finish in the 2017 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship.
Steven Jacobs (Highland Park) finished runner-up alongside partner Dirk Anderson in the 2017 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship. Jacobs also qualified for the U.S. Senior Amateur last month at Eugene Country Club in Eugene, Ore.
Donald Langland (Cary) earned co-medalist honors at the Bartlett Hills Golf Club qualifier.
Andrew Nathan (Northbrook) earned co-medalist honors at the Bartlett Hill Golf Club qualifier.
Formed in July of 1893, Riverside Golf Club is one of the oldest golf clubs in the country. Still sitting on the same parcel of land, the track is the oldest on its original plot of land west of the Allegheny Mountains. In 1919, William B. Langford reconstructed the course into a classic 18-hole layout. Dick Nugent, whose other works include Kemper Lakes, Bull Valley and Harborside, redesigned the course some 75 years later, with the track maxing out at almost 6,700 yards. For the Championship, Riverside will play at 6,578 yards and to a par 71.
A frequent venue for public golf events, Riverside hosted the 1975 Illinois PGA Championship and the 2008 CDGA Amateur Championship. With tight, tree-lined fairways and quick, flowing greens, Riverside remains a tough challenge of golf. The Des Plaines river, along with tributaries, play a factor throughout the course. Finishing a difficult opening three-hole stretch, the par-3, 176-yard third hole forces players to be accurate off the tee while playing into a tight green. On the back side, the par-5 10th hole measures 571 yards and is the longest on the course, but could prove a critical advantage point. The par-3 finishing hole plays into a wide green, with anything short forcing a difficult up-and-down.
LAST YEAR’S CHAMPIONSHIP
Tom Kearfott of El Paso bested the field at Senica’s Oak Ridge to claim the 31st Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship, finishing at 2-over. Ending up three strokes back at 6-over was Tom Miler, with four players finishing tied for third: Ed Whitaker, Craig Sopko, Dirk Anderson and Tom Fox.
Along with Kearfott, two other past champions of the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship will traverse Riverside this week: two-time winner Tom Miler (2011, ’12) and 2014 champ Ed Whitaker.