|Thursday, August 20, 2015 - |
LEMONT, Ill. - For the fifth consecutive year, the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship visits Flossmoor Country Club, Aug. 25-26. The 23rd edition of the championship pits 75 of the state’s top amateur golfers in the 25 and older set in a 54-hole bout against the 6,941-yard Herbert Tweedy-designed layout in the south suburbs. The full field will play 36 holes on Tuesday, with the low 35 and ties advancing to contest the third and final round on Wednesday.
Players to Watch
Derek Meinhart (Mattoon) advanced to the CDGA Am semifinals, losing to eventual champion Alex Burge. Meinhart also was in the final pairing for the 36-hole finale of the Illinois State Amateur, ultimately finishing T11. He finished second in 2014 Illinois State Mid-Am.
Todd Mitchell (Bloomington) is the winningest player in Illinois State Mid-Amateur history with four titles, including two at Flossmoor. In 11 State Mid-Am appearances, Mitchell’s average finish is 5.1, including 10 top-10 finishes and a worst finish of 13th. This week he advanced to the U.S. Amateur Championship Round of 16 at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Michael Natale (Indian Head Park) advanced to the championship match of the CDGA Mid-Am after having to go through qualifying.
Kyle Nathan (Glenview) won this event at Flossmoor in 2012. Nathan advanced to U.S. Open Sectional qualifying earlier this summer and also lost to eventual champ John Ehrgott in match play at the CDGA Mid-Am.
Andrew Price (Lake Bluff) is the defending champion of the Illinois State Mid-Amateur. Price competed in both the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur earlier this year.
Dave Ryan (Taylorville) won the CDGA Senior Amateur this year and also made the cut at the U.S. Senior Open. Ryan won the State Mid-Am in 2003.
About the Course
Opened in 1899, Flossmoor Country Club was one of the founding members of the CDGA in 1914. The private club on the South Side has a rich tournament history having hosted Western Amateurs, Western Opens, a PGA Championship, a U.S. Amateur, and more. Among the tournament annals are Chick Evans’ first of eight Western Amateur victories in 1909, Jock Hutchison’s unlikely victory in the 1920 PGA Championship and Max Marston defeating both Bobby Jones and Francis Ouimet en route to hoisting the Havemeyer Trophy in the 1923 U.S. Amateur.
The course has been tweaked frequently, but none more so drastically than Ray Hearn’s redesign in 2008. A new par-3 13th hole was built and many other holes were expanded, earning the club Golf magazine’s Renovation of the Year in 2009. Flossmoor will play to 6,941 yards and a par-72 for the championship.
Last Year’s Illinois State Mid-Amateur
An opening round 69 shot Lake Bluff’s Andrew Price to the top of leaderboard, where he’d stay for the duration, closing out the 54-hole championship with rounds of 70 and 71. Price’s 6-under 210 was two shots clear of runner-up Derek Meinhart, and four shots ahead of Glenn Przybylski and Dave Ryan. Flossmoor member T.J. Blakemore made the turnaround of the event, shooting an 81 in the first round, then firing a course record 65 in the second round, which allowed him to make the 36-hole cut. After a final round 70, Blakemore finished sixth.
Five past champions, including three who have won the event at Flossmoor, will compete in the 2015 Championship. Two of Todd Mitchell’s four titles have come on the south-side layout (in 2011 and ’13), while defending champ Andrew Price and 2012 victor Kyle Nathan also have won at Flossmoor. Other past champions in the field include two-time winner Mark Esposito (1999, 2006) and 2003 victor Dave Ryan.
Five players (Stephen Daly, Rich Dukelow, Michael Stone, Esposito, and John Ehrgott) have won the State Mid-Am twice in its 22-year history, but no one has won it more than Mitchell. In addition to his Flossmoor victories, he also took the event twice, 2008 and ’10, at White Eagle Golf Club.