|Friday, September 18, 2015 - |
HOMEWOOD, Ill. – Dave Ryan became the first player to win the Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship three times with a five-stroke victory Friday at Ravisloe Country Club. Ryan, who also won the 29-year-old event in 2009 and 2013, shot 2-under-par 208 for the three rounds.
The Taylorville native led from start to finish, opening with an even-par 70 on Wednesday before posting the tournament’s lowest round on Thursday, a 2-under 68, to build a five-shot lead. Another 70 in Friday’s final round, aided by two birdies in his final four holes, led to the comfortable margin of victory over 2014 champion Ed Whitaker.
“I drive it pretty straight, and my course management is pretty good,” Ryan said of what allowed him to be successful. “On this golf course, if you get out of position, you can get in a lot of trouble. It’s a great golf course for senior players. It’s tricky, very tricky.”
Ryan’s victory added to what was an already impressive summer, as he made the cut at the U.S. Senior Open in June and won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Merit Club in July. He became just the second player ever to win both the CDGA Senior and Illinois State Senior in the same year, joining Tom Miler, who achieved the feat in 2012.
“It’s unbelievable,” Ryan said of his current run, before adding that he will be playing in the U.S. Senior Amateur and U.S. Mid-Amateur in the fall. “It’s a lot of fun. My game is pretty good right now.”
Whitaker closed with an even-par 70, his best round of the tournament, to finish in sole possession of second place. Despite coming up short, the Pekin native was still satisfied with his title defense effort.
“I was happy with second place,” Whitaker said. “I played well. I didn’t putt very well. I had some opportunities to really go low, and didn’t do it. Dave is a great player, so if you give him a chance, you can’t come back from that.”
Glencoe’s Ted Pecora, who matched Ryan with a second-round 68, finished third at 4-over. Miler, a two-time Illinois State Senior winner, finished T4 along with Joel Patten at +7.
The event concluded the 2015 Illinois State and CDGA tournament slate. The 2016 championship schedule will be released this fall.