|Tuesday, August 28, 2018 - |
For full 2018 Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship event information, including results, video, photos and more, visit CDGA.org/ILStateMidAm.
GLEN ELLYN, Ill. – This time last year, it would have been hard to imagine Logan Stauffer (Bloomington / Lakeside CC) hoisting the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship trophy. That’s because he wasn’t even playing competitive golf.
“I didn’t like that very much,” Stauffer said of his hiatus from the game.
Mere months after picking golf back up at the end of 2017, Stauffer fired a 3-under 69 in the final round of the 26th Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship Tuesday at Glen Oak Country Club to secure a one-shot victory over 36-hole leader Zach Jecklin (Chicago / The Glen Club) and John Wright (Aurora / Oak Brook GC).
Three years removed from finishing his collegiate career in 2015 at Johnson & Wales University in Miami, the 25-year-old Stauffer made his State Mid-Am debut at Glen Oak. After giving up the game while living in Phoenix, Stauffer moved back to the Bloomington-Normal area and began playing again in the fall. A successful season up to this point, highlighted by a seventh-place finish at the Illinois State Amateur Championship, in his hometown, had Stauffer feeling confident approaching this week’s event.
“It’s been a long process as far as my golf game goes,” Stauffer said. “I had a great season so far leading up to this, so I knew that I had a chance if I just played well and played my game.”
Stauffer entered Tuesday’s final round tied for second with two others, one shot behind Jecklin, after rounds of 70 and 71 on Monday. The top of the leaderboard remained crowded for most of the afternoon, as Stauffer was one of five players to hold at least a share of the lead at some point during the decisive third round.
Among those in contention was 2014 State Mid-Am winner Andrew Price (Lake Buff / Conway Farms GC), who found himself alone atop the leaderboard after Stauffer bogeyed the par-3 16th. Playing one group behind Stauffer, Price’s lead didn’t last long, as he also bogeyed the 225-yard 16th. One hole ahead, Stauffer put a 3-iron from 235 yards out to 15 feet on the par-5 17th and two-putted for birdie, getting back to 6-under and regaining sole possession of first.
Despite grabbing the lead, Stauffer stood on the 18th tee understanding that his work was not done.
“I knew that you had to be at 6-under, and I thought maybe even 6-under might get you in a playoff,” Stauffer said. “I thought, ‘You might have to make another birdie, or at least par.’ ”
Despite his tee shot settling in a bunker left of the fairway, Stauffer was able to find the left side of the green with his approach and two-putt from 35 feet, the last stroke of which was a nervy three-footer “outside of the comfort zone.”
“I was fortunate enough to make it,” Stauffer said.
A key to Stauffer’s success was his ability to score well on Glen Oak’s four par-5 holes. Stauffer played the par-5s at 5-under on the afternoon, including a chip-in eagle from 30 yards short of the green on No. 7 that helped him shake off a 1-over start and set the tone for the rest of his round.
“That kind of jump-started me,” Stauffer said of his eagle. “I just took it from there and tried to ride the momentum.
Wright matched Stauffer’s 3-under 69, notching an eagle on the par-4 13th en route to his second-place finish. After entering Tuesday’s 18-hole finale at 4-under and in the lead by one stroke, Jecklin birdied the 18th to card a 1-under 71 and finish in second alongside Wright. Price bogeyed 18 to finish tied for fourth at 4-under, matching Dustin Sloat (Charleston / Charleston CC).
Another Illinois State championship is up next on the CDGA slate, as Riverside Golf Club will host the 32nd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship Sept. 12-14.