|Thursday, July 25, 2019 - |
RIVER GROVE, Ill. - The team of 12 professionals from the Illinois PGA (IPGA) got off to a blistering start and never looked back en route to a 14.5-3.5 victory over a squad of 12 amateurs representing the Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA) in the 58th Radix Cup Matches Thursday at Oak Park Country Club. With the victory, the IPGA’s lead in the all-time series, which began in 1962 and is carried on at the bequest of recent Illinois Golf Hall of Fame inductee Harry Radix, increased to 36-20-2.
“It feels pretty good to be on the winning side,” said Mark Labiak, head golf professional at Ruth Lake Country Club and the Team IPGA captain. “I liked my squad the first time [the event was initially scheduled for June 12 before being postponed due to weather] and I liked my squad the second time.”
With the event format consisting of six better ball matches utilizing Nassau scoring, the IPGA jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, taking every out match and building an insurmountable lead.
“It definitely sets the momentum and gets you going,” said Garrett Chaussard (Skokie Country Club) after playing in his seventh Radix Cup.
“Being up 6-0 after the front is definitely a nice boost and to know we made that front turn in a winning fashion,” said Carson Solien (Oak Park Country Club), head golf professional at the club that has hosted the event every year since 1972. “It gives you a little bit of a cushion heading into the back, but you never let down.”
Three IPGA teams took all three points in their match – Eric Ilic (Merit Club) / Tim Streng (Wildcat Golf Academy), Dakun Chang (Twin Orchard CC) / Steve Orrick (CC of Decatur) and Roy Biancalana (St. Andrews G&CC) / Travis Johns (Medinah CC). The IPGA’s win ties the largest margin of victory in the event since it expanded to six matches in 2005, matching CDGA’s 2008 victory.
“There were birdies and eagles flying everywhere,” said Labiak of his team’s dominant performance.
More than half of the Team CDGA’s points came from the duo of Drew Shepherd (Ruth Lake CC) and Trent Wallace (Inwood GC). After dropping the out match, 2 and 1, the pair rallied on the back nine to claim the in match, 3 and 2, and the overall tilt, 1 up.
“Some clutch putts kept us in it and within striking distance,” said Wallace, the 2018 CDGA Player of the Year and a recent graduate of Illinois State University.
“You don’t get to play in many tournaments like this, and when you get the opportunity, it’s obviously a no-brainer to play in it,” Wallace added following his second Radix Cup appearance. “I’ve had a lot of fun both years.”
Also earning a point for Team CDGA was the all-Bloomington pairing of Logan Stauffer (Inwood GC) and Rob Wuethrich (Crestwicke CC). The pair of first-timers enjoyed their inaugural experience and being able to represent their hometown together.
“Any time you get to play in this tournament, it’s an accomplishment,” Stauffer said. “Just being a first-timer and learning the ropes, it was just neat to be able to come out here and experience the competition level and the friendliness aspect of the whole day.”
“There’s a lot of good Bloomington talent,” added Wuethrich, who sparked a back-nine charge with an eagle on No. 10. “It’s a good honor to be able to play in this and say we’ve played in this event. Hopefully we can get back here again.”
The CDGA championship schedule will return to Oak Park next week, as the 4th CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship will be contested on the venerable Donald Ross track July 29-31. The IPGA is readying for the 70th Illinois Open Championship, slated for Aug. 5-7 at The Glen Club and Ridgemoor Country Club.
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 840 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, Youth-based Scholarship Funds and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.