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|For Immediate Release||July 19, 2022|
|HINSDALE`S MCCLEAR TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 91ST ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR|
|Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - WILMETTE, Ill. - Coming into the 91st Illinois State Amateur Championship, Mac McClear (Hinsdale) was considered one of the heavy favorites. That tends to happen when you`re the only one of three players from a three-hole aggregate playoff last year at Mistwood Golf Club (defending champion Ethan Farnam and Jordan Less are both testing out the professional circuits) to compete in this year`s iteration.
That, compounded with the disappointment of letting the Louis L. Emmerson Trophy just barely slip from your grasp, is plenty of pressure prior to what is considered the state`s premier test of amateur golf. McClear, however, chose to utilize the belief in his game gained from last year`s performance to his advantage, carding a 6-under 66 in the opening round Tuesday at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette. He holds a one-shot lead over Andrew Thornton (Carbondale), a native Scot who competes collegiately for Southern Illinois.
"Maybe a little pressure [coming in], but also confidence knowing I have the game to compete in this tournament," said the 21-year-old McClear, a rising senior at the University of Iowa. "Couldn`t really ask for anything better. Last year, I started with 7 under and I kind of wanted to match that, but 6 under will do just fine."
Beginning his trek on Westmoreland`s back nine, McClear got off to "about the best start you could ask for" with an eagle on the downwind 528-yard par-5 11th, using just a 9-iron for his approach. A dropped shot on No. 12 was regained, and then some, with birdies on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to turn in 32. The 2021 Big Ten Individual men`s golf champion then began a colorful back nine. Birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 were juxtaposed by bogeys on Nos. 3, 5 and 7. Throughout the ups and downs, McClear tried to maintain focus on what may lie ahead, not errors that had already happened.
"I really just tried to think next shot," said McClear, who recently qualified for the 2022 U.S. Amateur. "That was something I wanted to work on this tournament, actually. I think I`ve been getting a little too caught up in score and what I had done on the previous hole. I was really just thinking about the next hole and doing the best I could from there."
McClear will once again sleep on the opening-round lead, as he was tied with Farnam following play on Day One at Mistwood last summer. Still, 54 holes remain this week, an eternity in amateur golf time-keeping. That mindset of moving forward, not back, will surely be applied as the week progresses.
"Hopefully, we can do one better this year [than last]," he said. "That kind of hurt last year. [A] lot of golf left, so we`ll see what we can do."
The entire field will return to Westmoreland for another 18-hole round on Wednesday. The field will then be cut to the low 35 and ties, who will advance to Thursday`s 36-hole finale.
Quotes of Note
Mac McClear on his familiarity with the original William Watson-designed Westmoreland…
Danny Fisher on the experience gained from a solid showing at last month`s CDGA Amateur, in which he earned medalist honors and tied the course record…
Tommy Kuhl on how last year`s 5th-place finish can be useful to him this week…
Andrew Thornton, a native Scot, on his activities prior to this week`s championship…
Luke Armbrust on how the course played in the afternoon wave…
|Chicago District Golf Association|
The Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA) is authorized by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the governing body for amateur golf in our region. The CDGA is a membership organization consisting of nearly 90,000 individual golfers and 400 clubs in Illinois and parts of Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Golfers receive member offers, a Handicap Index® from the USGA® and competitive playing opportunities, while clubs receive USGA rating and measuring services, turfgrass diagnostics and educational seminars. Midwest Golf House and the Bob Berry Sunshine Course are home to the CDGA Foundation, which annually serves more than 1,000 individuals with special needs and wounded veterans while also bringing playing opportunities to youth golfers. Founded on March 18, 1914, the CDGA is one of the largest and oldest golf associations in the United States.
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|07/21/2022||McCLEAR FULFILLS LIFELONG JOURNEY, CAPTURES 91ST ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR CHAMPIONSHIP|
|07/20/2022||McCLEAR REMAINS ATOP STATE AM LEADERBOARD FOLLOWING GRUELING WEDNESDAY AT WESTMORELAND|
|07/19/2022||HINSDALE`S MCCLEAR TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 91st ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR|
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