|Thursday, September 10, 2015 - |
LEMONT, Ill. - The 2015 Illinois State and CDGA tournament schedule concludes next week with the 29th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Ravisloe Country Club in Homewood. A field of 83 seniors (age 55 and older) will compete for the Earl R. Liff Trophy over 54 holes Sept. 16-18.
The Championship will begin with 18-hole rounds on Wednesday and Thursday, before the field is cut to the low 35 and ties for Friday’s final round.
Players to Watch
Vance Antoniou (North Barrington) made match play in the last three CDGA Senior Amateurs, including a quarterfinal appearance in 2015. He has also qualified for the last two U.S. Senior Amateur Championships.
Steven Jacobs (Highland Park) advanced to the semifinals of the 2015 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at Merit Club.
Tom Miler (Kewanee) is a two-time winner of the Illinois State Senior Amateur (2011 and 2012) and three-time champion of the CDGA Senior Amateur (2010, 2012, 2013).
Mark Palmer (Winthrop Harbor) has qualified for match play in the last four CDGA Senior Amateur Championships, including a semifinal appearance in 2015 at Merit Club.
Ted Pecora (Glencoe) reached the quarterfinals in each of the last two CDGA Senior Amateur Championships and was the 36-hole leader at last year’s Illinois State Senior Amateur before ultimately finishing T6.
Dave Ryan (Taylorville) is a two-time Illinois State Senior Amateur champion (2009, 2013) and five-time CDGA Senior Player of the Year, including 2014. In 2015, Ryan won his second-straight CDGA Senior Amateur and made the cut at the U.S. Senior Open.
Craig Sopko (Lake Forest) advanced to the championship match of the 2015 CDGA Senior Amateur at Merit Club, falling to Ryan. He also qualified for the 2015 CDGA Amateur and 2014 Illinois State Amateur.
Ed Whitaker (Pekin) is the Illinois State Senior Amateur defending champion after winning the 2014 title by four strokes at The Grove Country Club.
About the Course
Founded in 1901, Ravisloe has long been a staple of golf in Chicago’s south suburbs and, even after going public in 2009, still maintains its retro feel and pristine conditions. Ravisloe hosted the first CDGA Amateur in 1914, won by Chick Evans, and four more since then, most-recently in 2004. However, the Illinois State Senior will be the first state championship hosted by the 114-year-old club.
While it will play at just 6,281 yards for the Championship, the tricky greens and deep bunkers of the par-70 layout designed by Donald Ross and restored by David Esler in 2001 are what will challenge the field. Finding the tree-lined fairways, staying below the hole and avoiding the bunkers will be integral to posting low scores.
The front nine features back-to-back challenging par-5s at the second (535 yards) and third (490) before a four-hole stretch containing three par-3s and a 315-yard par 4, including the 135-yard sixth. The back nine contains a steady dose of par-4s with just one par-5 (13, the longest on the course at 550 yards) and one par-3 (15).
About the Event
The Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship has tested the state’s top 55-and-older amateurs in a 54-hole event dating back to Fritz Franz’s inaugural victory at Pine Meadow Golf Club in 1987. With his victory in 2014, Ed Whitaker became the 21st player to win the event, and will look to join Lester Sutcliff (1990-91), Tom Studer (2007-08) and Tom Miler (2011-12) as the fourth back-to-back winner in 2015. There has yet to be a three-time winner, something that Miler, Dave Ryan and Rick Ten Broeck will look to change this year.
Last Year’s Illinois State Senior
A final-round 72 was enough for Ed Whitaker to claim the Earl R. Liff Trophy at The Grove Country Club in 2014. He entered the final 18 holes in a four-way tie for second at 3-over par, three shots off the lead. However, the final group of Ted Pecora, Paul Hindsley and Tom Miler shot 82, 78 and 76, respectively, giving Whitaker a comfortable three-shot final margin of victory. Danny Brown shot a final-round 73 to finish third, while Miler and Fred Lukasik finished T4.
- 3: The number of players at the minimum age requirement of 55: Jim Bolin (Plainfield), Tom Fox (Palos Heights) and Michael VanSistine (Rockford).
- 5: The number of past champions in the field: Tom Miler (2011-12), Dave Ryan (2009 and 2013), Rick Ten Broeck (2004 and 2006), Ed Whitaker (2014) and Greg Wohlford (2010).
- 5: The number of CDGA Amateur Championships hosted by Ravisloe Country Club.
- 7: The number of players with Chicago addresses, most of any city in the field.
- 13: The number of players in the field with + handicap indexes, including Tommy Robinson’s +1.9, the lowest among all participants.
- 74: The age of Rockford’s Ron Cosler, the oldest player in the field.