|Thursday, August 11, 2016 - |
NORTH BARRINGTON, Ill. -- Vance Antoniou, a Wynstone Golf Club member who lives a stone’s throw from the club, took home the title at the 15th CDGA Senior Amateur Championship with a 3-and-2 victory over Tim Sheppard (Lick Creek GC) Thursday morning.
For Antoniou, who noted he’s played in CDGA events since he was a teenager, it is his first triumph in a CDGA or State event, something made all the sweeter by taking place at his home course.
“I’ve had a lot of great finishes, tons of top-10, top-5 finishes, but this is my first win,” Antoniou said. “It means a lot to me doing it on my home course. You have the advantage of knowing the shots a little better and the disadvantage of having a little extra pressure on you.”
After the title contenders traded pars on the first two holes, Antoniou birdied the par-5 third hole to take the lead. Antoniou quickly extended his lead to 4-up with pars at the fifth, sixth and eighth holes, capitalizing on Sheppard bogeys—something that was in short supply all week for the East Peoria native, who was the second seed and cut through the match play bracket with wins in 12, 14 and 15 holes in the prior rounds.
After a conceded birdie at the ninth, Antoniou extended his lead to 5 up. At the 10th hole, Sheppard punched back, carding a birdie after Antoniou found the trees off the tee. Antoniou reestablished his 5-up cushion at the 12th hole with a par after Sheppard’s approach shot came up short and in the drink. With his back against the wall, Sheppard trimmed the lead to four with a birdie at the 13th and to three with a par at the 15th. However, time ran out on the rookie senior at the 16th, as Antoniou drained a par putt to halve the hole and win the match.
“In terms of the seniors, Tim (Sheppard) is certainly the hottest golfer in the state right now,” Antoniou added of his competitor, who earlier this summer was part of the tandem that won the inaugural CDGA Senior Four Ball Championship—having ousted Antoniou’s team in the semifinals. “Tim is like a college kid, he hits the ball so far. But I have a good overall game. I really didn’t do anything sensationally well, but I did everything pretty well—I was able to have an overall game. I think that was the difference today.”
Antoniou and Sheppard are expected to be amongst the contenders next month when the state’s best senior golfers tackle Bloomington Country Club for the 30th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship. Both also will be on the tee sheet for the next championship on the CDGA calendar, the 24th Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship, Aug. 30-31, at Flossmoor Country Club.