|Wednesday, May 18, 2016 - |
In just its second year as a match play event, a trend is developing at the CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship.
Last year, it was two-time Illinois State Mid-Amateur winner John Ehrgott taking home the inaugural CDGA Mid-Am. This year, Glenview native and Exmoor Country Club member Kyle Nathan, the 2012 State Mid-Am champion, won the crown with a 3-and-2 victory over Barrington’s Matt McLaughlin Wednesday afternoon at Lake Shore Country Club.
“They are the events that mean the most,” Nathan said of the State Mid-Am and CDGA Mid-Am. “To win both the match play and the stroke play version is pretty cool. I’m very happy with that.”
Despite playing the first 14 holes of the championship match at 2-under par, Nathan only led the similarly consistent McLaughlin 1 up heading to the 15th tee. However, thanks to some crafty play to manage Lake Shore’s bunkers and greens, Nathan was able to close out the match two holes later.
On 15, Nathan found the fairway bunker off the tee and followed that up with a pulled approach shot into a greenside bunker. He recovered by hitting his third shot to within 10 feet and rolling in the putt for par as McLaughlin bogeyed, giving Nathan a 2-up advantage.
Two shots later, Nathan again found himself in a greenside bunker, but with a much tougher lie. With his ball nestled against the back lip, Nathan was forced to take an awkward stance with his feet outside of the trap. The ensuing shot settled on the fringe roughly 25 feet from the cup.
“I figured I was really just trying to make 5, so I played it a little to the left of the pin just thinking, ‘Maybe 5 is good enough to halve the hole,’” Nathan admitted.
What followed was what McLaughlin described as a “phenomenal putt” by Nathan to save par. McLaughlin’s par bid from 20 feet missed, clinching the match and title for Nathan.
Nathan never trailed throughout the match, due in part to McLaughlin’s slip-ups at the outset. His bogey-bogey start coupled with two pars from Nathan put the Barrington Hills Country Club member at an early disadvantage. However, he bounced back with a birdie at the par-4 third and stayed within striking distance throughout the match until Nathan’s closing stretch.
“Every time I had an opportunity to try to get in there, he wouldn’t let the opportunity happen,” McLaughlin said.
“He made a phenomenal putt to make par and to lock it up.”
Both Nathan and McLaughlin advanced to the championship with semifinal victories in the morning. Nathan topped Cody Sundberg 2 and 1, while McLaughlin dispatched of co-medalist Andy Johnson 5 and 4.
The next CDGA-run championship will be the inaugural CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball, May 23-26 at Crystal Tree Golf and Country Club in Orland Park.