|Wednesday, July 20, 2016 - |
ST CHARLES, Ill. -- A pair of former high school teammates, Brian Ohr and Nick Hardy, will make up the final pairing of the 86th Illinois State Amateur Championship at St. Charles Country Club on Thursday. Ohr held on to the lead following Wednesday’s second round, a 5-under 67, while Hardy sliced the lead to one following a round of 66.
The former Glenbrook North teammates reversed roles on Wednesday, with Ohr going out in the morning and carding six birdies against his first bogey of the Championship. Hardy teed off in the afternoon, knowing he was seven shots back of Ohr, but closed the gap to one shot by day’s end.
“The round went well today,” Ohr said. “The score isn’t as good as yesterday, but I’m actually happier about today. I didn’t have the ball-striking as much. I hit 18 greens yesterday but only 13 today, so I scrambled a bit and had to just limit my bogeys.”
Ohr is a member of the golf team at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, while Hardy is a member of the University of Illinois’ squad.
“When I teed off today I was seven back (of the lead),” Hardy stated. “I didn’t really try to change anything, I just tried to stay patient and knew what I needed to do. I wanted to put myself in the final pairing for tomorrow and I did that.”
Charlie Netzel of Western Springs continued to maintain residence near the top of the leaderboard, following up his opening round 65 with a 67 Wednesday morning, placing him two shots back in third. Highwood native and Ohr’s Miami University teammate Patrick Flavin shot a 66 on Wednesday to move to 11-under par for the Championship, three shots back in fourth. The trio of Pete Kuhl, 2014 winner Raymond Knoll and Jake Erickson are tied for fifth, six strokes behind Ohr.
Two-time champion Tee-K Kelly fired a bogey-free 66 on Wednesday to move to 7-under par for the week in a tie for eighth. 2012 State Am champ Quinn Prchal matched his opening round 69 to sit in a tie for 10th place, while two-time victor Todd Mitchell made the cut at 2-under in a tie for 22nd position.
In all, 38 players made the cut, which was even-par 144. Notables missing the cut included 2015 State Am runner-up Conor Dore (145), CDGA Mid-Amateur champion Kyle Nathan (146), 2015 CDGA Mid-Amateur champ John Ehrgott (146), two-time State Am winner Jay Davis (149) and 2014 CDGA Amateur winner Jordan Fahel (150).
At 14-under par and 130 through 36 holes, Ohr is knocking on the door of shattering some long-standing Illinois State Amateur records. Since the Championship moved to stroke play in 1963, the lowest aggregate 72-hole score is 270 (Robert Zender, 1971), and the lowest score in relation to par is 13-under par (Jerry Haas, 1984). With Ohr’s good play this week, he felt winning the Championship was not out of the question.
“I found a really good flow this week and golf just seems very easy to me right now,” Ohr added. “I just want to keep that momentum going into the next 36 holes. If I’m able to do that, I think I’ll have a good shot at it.”
Hardy, who has finished second and third in the last two State Ams, is excited to chase his first title while paired with a friend and former high school teammate.
“I think it’s awesome,” Hardy said of the final grouping. “It won’t change my gameplan (playing with Brian), but I love it, he’s a great friend of mine. I can’t wait for tomorrow.”
The remaining 38 players will compete in the 36-hole final day on Thursday, with temperatures forecasted to approach triple digits. Play will begin at 7 a.m. for the third round and 11:30 a.m. for the final round, with the pairing of Ohr and Hardy teeing off at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. for their respective rounds.