|Wednesday, September 13, 2017 - |
For full results, photos and quotes, visit CDGA.org/ILStateSrAm.
LaSALLE, Ill. - While others struggled with the Senica’s Oak Ridge layout in the final round, a closing 73 was good enough to vault Tom Kearfott (El Paso) to the title in the 31st Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship on Wednesday. Kearfott entered the final round a shot back to a trio of 36-hole co-leaders, including two-time State Senior champ Tom Miler (Kewanee), who finished second, three shots behind.
“It’s really good to win. I came in today, I didn’t know what my expectations were,” Kearfott said, following the victory. “I’ve had an up-and-down year, but I kind of pulled it together this week and was able to pull out the victory.”
Kearfott opened the championship on Monday with a 3-over par 75, but reeled in the pack with a second-round 71. In the final round, Kearfott carded three birdies en route to the victory, taking a vigilant approach to the fast and difficult greens at Senica’s Oak Ridge.
“When you play these greens, probably some of them downhill running 15 on the stimp, breaking three, four, five feet, it’s a challenge all around,” Kearfott added. “I handled my lag putts and short putts, that’s kind of what the key was all week. I played it really conservative, having a lot of 30- or 40-footers, but they were always below the hole and I was able to lag putt to a foot or so.”
The two-time champ Miler shot a final round 77 to slot into the runner-up position, extending his streak of top-5 finishes in the event to nine consecutive years. The other 36-hole co-leaders, Ed Whitaker (Pekin) and Craig Sopko (Lake Forest), both shot 78 and were among four golfers tied for third. Tom Fox (Palos Heights) and Dirk Anderson (Libertyville) also finished at 7-over par in the tie for third, with Anderson having already secured the super senior division honors on Tuesday.
A pair of golfers broke par in Wednesday’s final round, including two-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur champ Mark Esposito (Elgin), who made the 40-player cut on the number, played in Wednesday’s first group, and utilized a final round 71 to vault himself into a tie for 16th place and an exemption into next year’s event. David Glass (Metropolis) equaled Esposito at a 1-under 71 on Wednesday, finishing in a tie for 11th.
The low 20 finishers and ties earned exemptions into the 2018 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship.
The seniors close out the 2017 CDGA Championship Schedule when they take the course again at Itasca Country Club, Oct. 2-5, for the 2nd CDGA Senior Amateur-Four Ball Championship, of which Kearfott is the defending champion along with Tim Sheppard.