|Wednesday, September 14, 2016 - |
BLOOMINGTON, Ill. – With the aid of a hot putter, Dave Ryan was able to card the only two rounds under par of the week, motoring to a nine-stroke victory in the 30th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Bloomington Country Club. The triumph made the Taylorville native the fourth player ever to win the State Senior back-to-back, as well as the event’s only four-time champion. Ryan first won the championship in 2009, his first year of eligibility as a senior (55 and up).
“It’s pretty sweet, I played well today and the last three days,” Ryan said following the win. “I made a lot of putts and when you do that, you usually play well. I hit a lot of greens. I hadn’t won a tournament in awhile, so it feels good.”
Ryan’s fourth win in eight years started with a 1-over par 72 on Monday, when slick greens challenged the competitors and sent the field scoring average to 81.49. In Tuesday’s second round, Ryan got back to even with a 1-under par 70, then closed with a 3-under 68—which included a pair of birdies on the finishing holes.
“My lag putting was great,” Ryan added. “I didn’t miss very many greens. I hit a lot of greens in regulation and my course management was very good this week. Basically the old cliché, I tried to play it one shot at a time. If you can do that and stay in the moment, you usually play ok.”
East Peoria’s Tim Sheppard finished in second place, shooting 72-76-71—219 to close at 6-over par. Sheppard’s final round 71, even par, was the only round other than Ryan’s at or below par. Sheppard concludes a successful first season on the senior circuit, with a victory in the CDGA Senior Four-Ball Championship (partnered with Tom Kearfott) and runner-up finishes in the CDGA Senior Amateur and State Senior Amateur.
Two-time State Senior champ Tom Miler of Kewanee finished third at 221, followed by Glencoe’s Ted Pecora at 222. Pekin native Ed Whitaker, the 2014 State Senior champ, rounded out the top five golfers at 10-over par 223. Bloomington native and Bloomington Country Club member Brad Barker finished sixth.
Jim Kennedy of Chicago concluded the event in a tie for 15th place, but earned the super senior award, given to the lowest 36-hole score by a golfer age 65 or older. The low 22 golfers (20 and ties) earned exemptions from qualifying for next year’s championship.
The curtain comes down on another CDGA championship season next Thursday with the 45th CDGA Mixed Championship taking place at Idlewild Country Club in Flossmoor.