|Wednesday, August 21, 2019 - AURORA, Ill. – When Chadd Slutzky (Deer Park / The Grove CC) won the 2015 Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship at Flossmoor Country Club, it was his first title in a CDGA-administered championship. He was happy to have been in contention and see the victory through.
Coming into the 2019 Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship at Stonebridge Country Club, Slutzky had a different mindset.
“I feel like coming into it, I have a chance to win, which is different than how I felt back then,” Slutzky said. “I feel a little better playing these things and have a lot more confidence.”
The 42-year-old channeled that self-assurance throughout the 54-hole test and emerged victorious once again following Wednesday’s final round, finishing at 10-under par for the championship and three shots clear of the closest competitors after rounds of 72, 66 and 68.
On Slutzky’s heels throughout the day was a triumvirate of players who entered the final round within three shots: John Ehrgott (Edwards / Mt Hawley CC), a two-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur champion in his own right, defending champion Logan Stauffer (Bloomington / Ironwood GC) and relative newcomer Ryan Smith (Chicago / CDGA Member’s Club). Slutzky, who also has the 2017 CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship and 2017 CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship on his resume, fended off the field with a steady round of golf, carding six birdies to just two bogeys.
“It’s a great championship, it has a great field,” Slutzky said. “It’s kind of where I stick to, the Mid-Am golf, so I try and shine at this time each year. These 54 holes, I was striping it, I was hitting it straight. I knew if I stayed patient and kept playing my game, I was probably going to be alright, unless somebody went crazy.”
To open his final round, Slutzky lost his tee ball off the first tee following a wayward drive to immediately give a shot back and fall behind Stauffer, who birdies the opener. Slutzky rebounded, however, with red figures on the par-4, 385-yard fourth hole and the par-5, 541-yard ninth hole. Playing alongside Slutzky in the final group, Stauffer was rolling following three birdies in the first four holes, but two lost tee shots on No. 7 ultimately dropped him out of contention.
Ehrgott, also in the final group, captained a steady ship, with three birdies to just two bogeys on the opening nine. A group ahead, Smith turned in 3-under par to keep within a stroke of the lead halfway home.
“I had the lead, but Ehrgott was playing great and I kept checking my phone and Ryan in the group ahead was playing great, it seemed like he was birdieing every hole,” Slutzky said.
Slutzky maintained his under-par round on the back nine, with birdies on the 12th, 14th, and 16th holes, the last of which featured a delicate sidewinder of a birdie putt that gave him a three-shot advantage over Smith, who had just bogeyed the par-3 17th ahead. Ehrgott kept a clean card on his back nine, but two lone birdies weren’t enough to make a late push.
Although Slutzky gave a shot back after he failed to get up and down on the 17th, the aforementioned confidence shined as he ripped a 4-iron approach shot on No. 18 to 12 feet. A two-putt birdie sealed the title.
“I hit a great putt on 16 to give myself a little cushion,” said Slutkzy. “And then, of course, I gave it right back on 17, which is just classic me. And then I hit a great drive on 18 and went for it. Hindsight, I probably shouldn’t have, but it worked out.”
With his win, Slutzky becomes the seventh player to win multiple Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championships.
The next CDGA Championship on the schedule is the 33rd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship, set for Sept. 9-11 at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette.