|Thursday, June 30, 2016 - |
HOMEWOOD, Ill. - After 36 holes of stroke play qualifying and three matches, it would have only been natural to expect fatigue to play a factor in the 36-hole CDGA Amateur championship match.
Instead, Lake Bluff native Andrew Price played his best golf of the week, tallying only three bogeys in comparison to five birdies and an eagle en route to a 4-and-3 victory over Todd Mitchell at Calumet Country Club on Thursday.
“I definitely played my best today,” Price, the 2014 Illinois State Mid-Amateur winner, said. “I played well on Monday too, but definitely played really well today. The short game was really good. Any time I missed a shot I was able to get up and down. My lag putting was really good. Overall, really happy.”
Price was only a 1-up through 16 holes despite tallying four birdies compared to just one bogey during that stretch, as Mitchell, a two-time Illinois State Amateur champion, was equally up to the task. However, Price won the par-3 17th with par and birdied the par-5 18th to build a 3-up cushion at the halfway point. Despite the cushion, Price continued to attack the relatively short (6,599 yards) and tight course as he had all week.
“The cushion was definitely nice, [but] it didn’t change at all how I played,” Price said. “I still played the exact same way.
“I had a good gameplan,” Price added. “I didn’t do anything different from day-to-day than I had from the beginning. Took the same irons off tees, same hybrids, things of that nature more for position, so I could be in the fairway and have opportunities to make birdies and hit greens.”
Price was still 3-up heading back to the par-5 9th, which he birdied the first time around. This time, he stuck a four-iron to within 12 feet and dropped the putt for eagle and a 4-up advantage with nine holes to go.
“I made a good putt down the hill,” Price recalled. “That was huge, because he was probably 3-and-a-half or four feet, so I assume he would’ve made birdie and we would’ve gone to the 10th at 3 up. Getting that 4-up lead was huge.”
The four-hole margin held up to the conclusion of the match on 15, where Mitchell fittingly missed a five-footer to extend the match after struggling with his putter all week. Mitchell was looking to become just the 11th player all-time, and first since 1988, to win both the Illinois State Amateur and CDGA Amateur, but could not overcome his shakiness on the green.
“It’s just one of those things where, had I been able to make those putts [in the 4-10 foot range], I could’ve been more in the match,” Mitchell lamented. “It doesn’t mean I was going to win, because he played phenomenally, but I could’ve been in there to at least give him a scare.”
Price’s and Mitchell’s semifinal victories on Wednesday meant that the champion was guaranteed to be a mid-amateur (age 25 or older) for the first time since Steve Sawtell in 2009. In addition to the two finalists and three semifinalists, nine of 16 match play qualifiers in the event, which traditionally favors college golfers, were mid-ams.
“There were a bunch of great players here, whether they’re college kids or mid-ams,” Price said. “You just try to plug along and do the best that you can. Luckily, it worked for me this week.”
With the Association’s oldest event completed, next up on the CDGA championship schedule is the state’s biggest amateur golf competition, with the 86th Illinois State Amateur Championship to be contested July 19-21 at St. Charles Country Club.
(3) Andrew Price def. (13) Todd Mitchell, 4 and 3
(13) Todd Mitchell def. (9) Kyle Slattery, 2 and 1
(3) Andrew Price def. (10) Steve Sawtell, 2 up
(9) Kyle Slattery def. (16) Kyle Nathan, 22 holes
(13) Todd Mitchell def. (5) Paul Schlimm, 4 and 3
(10) Steve Sawtell def. (15) Robert Renner, Jr., 20 holes
(3) Andrew Price def. (6) Tim Hoss, Jr., 3 and 2
Round of 16
(16) Kyle Nathan def. (1) Graham O’Connor-Brooks, 6 and 4
(9) Kyle Slattery def. (8) Jordan Wetsch, 20 holes
(5) Paul Schlimm def. (12) Chadd Slutzky, 4 and 3
(13) Todd Mitchell def. (4) Charlie Netzel, 5 and 4
(15) Robert Renner, Jr. def. (2) Ricky Palonis, 2 and 1
(10) Steve Sawtell def. (7) Derek Meinhart, 1 up
(6) Tim Hoss, Jr. def. (11) Jonathan Hudson, 3 and 2
(3) Andrew Price def. (14) Brian Hickey, 3 and 2