|Wednesday, July 31, 2019 - |
RIVER GROVE, Ill. – Naperville natives Scott Dunsire, Jr. and Tommy Dunsire have played hundreds of rounds of golf together, if not thousands. With only three years separating the brothers, competition and friendly rivalry riddled their youth golf days at Medinah Country Club’s famed grounds.
On Wednesday at Oak Park Country Club, the duo put their individual battles aside to join forces and take down Mike Cushing (Bloomington / Bloomington CC) and Todd Manning (Pontiac / Pontiac Elks CC) in the Championship Match of the 4th CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship, 2 and 1.
“Usually we’re playing against each other at home,” said Tommy, 19 and a rising sophomore at Northern Illinois University. “It’s kind of nice to play with him and have him alongside.”
“Coming home for summer and playing in tournaments, playing with your friends and him especially, you just let loose and you enjoy yourself, and it makes the game a lot more fun,” said 22-year-old Scott, a recent graduate of Michigan State University who will be joining his brother in the Huskies program for his final season of eligibility in the fall.
The day began for the Dunsires against the tandem of Ricky Costello (Homer Glen / Mistwood GC) and Matt Shipley (Naperville / Mistwood GC) in the Semifinals. Although they went 1 down after the first, Tommy and Scott righted the ship, winning hole Nos. 6, 7 and 8. A red figure on the par-4, 10th increased their lead to a comfortable 3 up, before eventually sealing their trip to the Final Match with a 4-and-3 victory.
Meeting the brothers in the Final was Cushing and Manning. The pair, 44 and 49 respectively, had withstood Tuesday’s grueling day of 44 holes combined between their Round of 16 and Quarterfinal matches, both of which went 22 holes. They fell down early to Andrew Abel (Geneva / Cantigny Golf) and Eric Hatczel (Batavia / Eagle Brook CC) and sat 2 down through 4, before a steady-string of play saw them win hole Nos. 5, 7, 10, 16 and 17 to advance via a 1-up victory.
In the afternoon’s battle, the Dunsires birdied No. 1 and eagled the par- 5, 474-yard fourth to take a 2-up advantage. Cushing was able to grab one back for his side with an up-and-down par save on No. 6, before Tommy Dunsire calmly walked in a 20-foot birdie putt on No. 7. Scott answered with a long birdie of his own on No. 9, also from the front portion of the green, to grab a 3-up lead at the turn.
“He [Tommy] played really well on the front, compared to me,” stated Scott with a smirk. “Sprinkled in a few birdies here and there that were helpful and allowed us to keep moving forward.”
The lead grew to 4 up after Tommy drove the green on the par-4, 351-yard 12th and was able to easily two-putt for the birdie. However, like they had in their three previous matches on Tuesday, Cushing and Manning turned up the pressure in the match’s final four holes. Sitting 4 down with four holes to play, Cushing proceeded to birdie both Nos. 15 and 16, measuring 531 and 572 yards respectively, to bring him and Manning back within striking distance.
“I want to give congratulations to Mike and Todd,” said Scott. “They were really good today, they came back strong and gave us a little bit of pressure at the end.”
The resurgence came up short, however, after the sides matched with pars on No. 17. The Dunsires, who bogeyed only four holes over the course of the Championship and trailed for only five holes in their last three matches, had captured the hardware they had set out to acquire on Monday, utilizing a keen sense of each other’s game.
“Statistically speaking, he’s always been more of a straight ball hitter, and I’ve always had a little more distance,” said Scott. “We had him go first to just get it in play and then I would just let it go and try to hit it far."
“If he missed a green, he’d hit a really good chip shot and make par, so I had a nice putt for birdie that I could ram in or take some break out, which was really helpful,” added Tommy.
After high finishes by each of the brothers over the course of their recent golf tournaments, today’s victory has given them just a taste of what it might be like next fall in Dekalb.
“I think it should be a lot of fun,” said Tommy of the idea of playing alongside his brother again. “Today was a momentum booster.”
“I’m looking forward to that environment next year,” added Scott.
The next event on the CDGA Championship schedule is the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship, which will feature the state’s top 25-and-older players competing at Stonebridge Country Club Aug. 20-21.