|Thursday, May 16, 2019 - SCHERERVILLE, Ind. – Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin Park District) continued to assert his preeminence on the senior amateur golf circuit with Thursday’s 5-and-4 triumph over Doug McCoy (Batavia / Eagle Brook CC) in the championship match of the 18th CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Briar Ridge Country Club.|
With his victory, Sheppard becomes the first person to claim all three CDGA-administered senior championships – the CDGA Senior Amateur, the Illinois State Senior Amateur and the CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball – and is the most-recent winner of each. It is the fourth senior title overall for the 2018 CDGA Senior Player of the Year in just eight tries since becoming senior eligible (55 and up) in 2016.
“It’s pretty neat,” reflected Sheppard. “I’ve been playing in CDGA events since 1997 or 1998. I always wanted to try and earn a trophy. It was nice to get this done. Hopefully, I’ll have a few more in me. It’s tough, there’s a lot of good competition and good players.”
Sheppard parlayed his superior length off the tee into a bogey-free round during Thursday’s title tilt, which was delayed after just two holes by weather for 2 hours and 30 minutes. Sheppard held a 1-up advantage going into the delay before taking four of the first five holes coming out of the stoppage to build a commanding 5-up advantage through seven holes.
“I don’t think the game plan changed, you just try to prepare yourself for the wet conditions and wind,” said Sheppard of his mindset coming out of the delay. “For me, I try to slow it down, because my tendency is to get quick. When it gets wet and colder, I get quicker and that’s when I don’t hit it quite as solid. I was just trying to stay in the moment and keep it slow.”
Sheppard and McCoy traded pars on Nos. 8 and 9 before McCoy notched the first birdie of the match by either player on No. 10. Sheppard responded two holes later, getting up and down for birdie on the par-5 12th, before closing out the match with two more pars.
“I was hoping that I would have had a birdie or two on the board earlier than that,” Sheppard said. “With Doug making some bogeys, I wasn’t real aggressive, but I did hit several putts I thought I made that just didn’t go in. My goal is just don’t make any bogeys.”
Sheppard’s clean card came roughly 24 hours after a double bogey on No. 18 nearly cost him a chance at the title, as he entered the final hole of his Wednesday semifinal match against Dan Caporusso (Mt. Prospect / Old Orchard CC) tied. However, Caporusso also notched a six before Sheppard birdies the first playoff hole to clinch his spot in the championship match.
Sheppard, who earned the No. 2 seed in match play with a 1-under 71 in Monday’s stroke play round, also vanquished Craig Mc Donnell (Evergreen Park / CDGA Member’s Club) in the Round of 16, 3 and 2, and Young Park (Barrington / Makray Memorial GC) in the quarterfinals, 2 and 1, en route to the title.
Up next for Sheppard and the CDGA championship slate is the 5th CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship, which will be contested May 20-22 at Northmoor Country Club.