|Friday, September 6, 2019 - |
LEMONT, Ill. – The best amateur golfers in Illinois age 55 and up are slated to duke it out at Westmoreland Country Club, Sept. 9-11, in the 33rd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship.
The entire 87-golfer field will play 18 holes of stroke play on both Monday, Sept. 9 and Tuesday, Sept. 10. The field will then be cut to the low 35 and ties for an 18-hole finale on Wednesday, Sept. 11.
The Earl R. Liff Trophy is awarded to the victor of the event, which was first contested at Pine Meadow Golf Course in 1987 and won by Fritz Franz.
ABOUT THE FIELD
A total of 207 individuals registered for the event, which was open to Illinois residents age 55 and up with an official USGA Handicap Index® of 10.4 or below. The field for Westmoreland was determined through 25 exemptions and three qualifiers held across the state in August, from which 62 players advanced.
Players to Watch
Mark Esposito (Elgin / Blackberry Oaks GC) has finished in the top 16 of this event in each of the last five years, including a T-3 placing in 2018 at Riverside Golf Club. He also is a two-time winner of the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship (1999 and 2006).
Tom Kearfott (El Paso / El Paso GC) won this championship by three strokes in 2017 at Senica’s Oak Ridge. He has also claimed two CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championships alongside partner Tim Sheppard.
Tom Miler (Kewanee / Kewanee Dunes GC) 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).
Ted Pecora (Winnetka / Bob O’Link GC) finished second in last year’s event, falling in a three-hole aggregate playoff to Tim Sheppard. In late July, he was one of four to qualify for the U.S. Senior Amateur Championship by shooting an even-par 71 at McHenry Country Club.
Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin Park District) is the reigning CDGA Senior Player of the Year and is the current title-holder of all three CDGA-administered senior events. He is the defending champion of this tournament, winning via a playoff in 2018 at Riverside, before also claiming the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball and 2019 CDGA Senior Amateur Championships.
Others to Watch
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington / Butler National GC) won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship in 2016 at The Club at Wynstone and has made the cut in this event three of the last four years.
Andrew Gabelman (Barrington / Medinah CC) earned medalist honors at the Bridges of Poplar Creek Country Club qualifier on Aug. 8 with a 3-under 67.
Brad Kay (Arlington Heights / Ivanhoe Club) triumphed in the 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Itasca Country Club.
Rick LeHew (Brimfield / CDGA Staff), making his senior debut, is a past Illinois State Mid-Amateur champion (2004) and two-time runner up in the CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship.
Jeff Ott (Dunlap / Coyote Creek GC) took co-medalist designation at the Soangetaha Country Club qualifier on Aug. 26 with a 2-over 74.
Ron Pearson (Marengo / Oak Grove GC) fired a 2-over 74 to earn co-medalist distinction at the Soangetaha Country Club qualifier on Aug. 26.
Mark Small (Frankfort / The Sanctuary GC) was medalist at the Glenwoodie Golf Club qualifier on Aug. 15 after shooting a 2-under 70. He also won the Illinois State Amateur Championship in 1996.
Ed Whitaker (Pekin / Pekin Park District) won this event in 2014 at The Grove Country Club and has finished in the top 5 three of the four years since.
ABOUT THE COURSE
A founding club of the CDGA in 1914, Westmoreland Country Club was incorporated in 1911 by a group of men who were unhappy with space limitations at their club and traveled “West-for-more-land.” After the original layout was designed by William Watson in 1912, the course has undergone several changes, including a redesign in 1920-21 by William Langford and A.W. Tillinghast.
While Westmoreland is hosting its first Illinois State championship, the track is no stranger to elite golf, as it has been the site for some of the nation’s most prestigious events. Notably, the 1917 Western Open, the 1921 Western Amateur, the 1924 and 1934 Western Golf Association Junior Girls Tournament, the 1936 CDGA Women’s Championship and the 1938 U.S. Women’s Amateur Championship have all been held at Westmoreland. Looking ahead, the Illinois State Amateur Championship will visit in 2022.
Westmoreland will play from 6,526 yards at a par of 72 for the event. The front nine features seven par 4s, including the 439-yard third, which features a blind second shot with a railroad signal behind the green as an aiming point. As is the case with many Golden Age courses, the speed and slope of Westmoreland’s green complexes will provide a stern challenge to the field.
LAST YEAR’S ILLINOIS STATE SENIOR
Firm conditions proved to make Riverside Golf Club a trying test, as just one under-par round was registered over three days of competition. The 1-under 70 belonged to Tim Sheppard, who utilized the red number in the second round to enter the final day of competition with a four-stroke lead. Ted Pecora made a final-day charge with a 2-over 73 to catch Sheppard through 18 holes, before Sheppard claimed the title by playing the three-hole aggregate playoff at even par.