|Thursday, June 10, 2021 - |
LIBERTYVILLE, Ill. – Since his runner-up finish in the 2016 CDGA Senior Amateur Championship at The Club at Wynstone, the first CDGA-administered senior event he was eligible for following his 55th birthday, Tim Sheppard (East Peoria / Pekin CC) has asserted his dominance by emerging victorious in seven of the 13 events he has participated in.
“When I got a taste of [senior events] at Wystone and lost in the Finals that year, it left a bad taste in my mouth,” Sheppard said regarding his success. “... I don’t know if I expected that I would’ve won this much, but it sure has been fun doing it.”
Sheppard, who entered the 19th CDGA Senior Am possessing each of the three CDGA-administered senior championship titles, retained the glory with a 4-and-3 win over John Vernasco (Libertyville / Merit Club) Thursday morning.
After the duo began the round with three-consecutive pars apiece, Merit Club member Vernasco utilized his expansive course knowledge to win the fourth hole as Sheppard was unable to carry the water en route to his first of just two bogeys on the day.
“On No. 4, I did the same thing with Dave (Ryan in the Semifinals),” said Sheppard of the bogey. “I hit it the exact same way, it was supposed to cut … and was about three feet from carrying the water and, with Dave, I bounced back with some birdies. That was my goal, to try and bounce back.”
Goal achieved, and more, as Sheppard went on to win six-consecutive holes beginning with No. 6, including a string of birdies at seven, eight and nine, to take complete control of the match.
“The three birdies in a row were key to getting a lead,” Sheppard stated. “I’ve been down in match play, it’s not an easy place to be, so I just kept trying to put the pressure on him.”
Vernasco trimmed his deficit to four with five holes to play following a birdie of his own at No. 13. Successive pars from both players ended the Championship match on the 15th green.
“John’s a really good player and good ball striker,” Sheppard said of his opponent. “It was a long week. It’s extremely hard to win a match-play event just because if you have one off day, you’re going home.”
With his victory, Sheppard isn’t just the lone golfer to win the trifecta of senior events, but also the only one to win three straight, a feat he has now accomplished twice. A Tiger Slam of his own - the “Sheppard Slam.”
Sheppard, who earned co-medalist honors with a 3-under 69 in Monday’s stroke play round, also defeated Jim Keefe (Lemont / Mistwood GC) in the Round of 16, 2 and 1, bested Mike Mcloone (Arlington Heights / Chicago Golf Club) 8 and 7 in the Quarterfinal round and outlasted two-time CDGA Senior Amateur champion Dave Ryan (Taylorville / Illini CC) in 21 holes during yesterday’s Semifinal matches.
Up next on the CDGA tournament slate is the 101st CDGA Amateur Championship, which will be contested June 21-24 at Bull Valley Golf Club in Woodstock.