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CHICAGO DISTRICT GOLF ASSOCIATION

For Everyone Who Plays the Game

Midwest Golf House Contact: Casey Richards
11855 Archer Avenue (630) 685-2324
Lemont, IL 60439 crichards@cdga.org
Contact: Tim Merrick
(630) 685-2302
tmerrick@cdga.org
Contact: Jacob Bomeli
(630) 685-2345
jbomeli@cdga.org
 
For Immediate ReleaseJuly 19, 2022
 
HINSDALE`S MCCLEAR TAKES EARLY LEAD IN 91ST ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR 
 
Tuesday, July 19, 2022 - WILMETTE, Ill. - Coming into the 91st Illinois State Amateur Championship, Mac McClear (Hinsdale) was considered one of the heavy favorites. That tends to happen when you`re the only one of three players from a three-hole aggregate playoff last year at Mistwood Golf Club (defending champion Ethan Farnam and Jordan Less are both testing out the professional circuits) to compete in this year`s iteration.

That, compounded with the disappointment of letting the Louis L. Emmerson Trophy just barely slip from your grasp, is plenty of pressure prior to what is considered the state`s premier test of amateur golf. McClear, however, chose to utilize the belief in his game gained from last year`s performance to his advantage, carding a 6-under 66 in the opening round Tuesday at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette. He holds a one-shot lead over Andrew Thornton (Carbondale), a native Scot who competes collegiately for Southern Illinois.

"Maybe a little pressure [coming in], but also confidence knowing I have the game to compete in this tournament," said the 21-year-old McClear, a rising senior at the University of Iowa. "Couldn`t really ask for anything better. Last year, I started with 7 under and I kind of wanted to match that, but 6 under will do just fine."

Beginning his trek on Westmoreland`s back nine, McClear got off to "about the best start you could ask for" with an eagle on the downwind 528-yard par-5 11th, using just a 9-iron for his approach. A dropped shot on No. 12 was regained, and then some, with birdies on Nos. 15, 17 and 18 to turn in 32. The 2021 Big Ten Individual men`s golf champion then began a colorful back nine. Birdies on Nos. 2, 4, 6, 8 and 9 were juxtaposed by bogeys on Nos. 3, 5 and 7. Throughout the ups and downs, McClear tried to maintain focus on what may lie ahead, not errors that had already happened.

"I really just tried to think next shot," said McClear, who recently qualified for the 2022 U.S. Amateur. "That was something I wanted to work on this tournament, actually. I think I`ve been getting a little too caught up in score and what I had done on the previous hole. I was really just thinking about the next hole and doing the best I could from there."

McClear will once again sleep on the opening-round lead, as he was tied with Farnam following play on Day One at Mistwood last summer. Still, 54 holes remain this week, an eternity in amateur golf time-keeping. That mindset of moving forward, not back, will surely be applied as the week progresses.

"Hopefully, we can do one better this year [than last]," he said. "That kind of hurt last year. [A] lot of golf left, so we`ll see what we can do."

The entire field will return to Westmoreland for another 18-hole round on Wednesday. The field will then be cut to the low 35 and ties, who will advance to Thursday`s 36-hole finale.

Quotes of Note

Mac McClear on his familiarity with the original William Watson-designed Westmoreland…
"Played it on Sunday for the first time. I don`t really know much. I got a good practice round in, took a lot of notes, so I felt pretty comfortable out there still."

Danny Fisher on the experience gained from a solid showing at last month`s CDGA Amateur, in which he earned medalist honors and tied the course record…
"Glen Flora was a huge confidence boost for me. I`ve had the same gameplan all summer. My game feels pretty good. I`m just going to stay within myself and trust what I`ve got."

Tommy Kuhl on how last year`s 5th-place finish can be useful to him this week…
"I can learn a lot from last year. It`s a four-round tournament. Got to get through tomorrow and make the cut. I`m taking it one shot at a time and there`s a lot of golf. That`s what I told myself out there today; bogeys are going to happen. Just stay patient, stick to your gameplan and play solid golf. At the end of four, if I do that, I should be in a good position."

Jake Erickson on the Illinois State Amateur and the mentality needed to compete…
"It`s one I love. I get excited for it every year and try to gear up my game for it. Having the right mentality coming in. You can`t win it in the first two days, but you can lose it, certainly. Just try to put a solid round together. All you can ask for is to be kind of in contention. Hopefully, if I can put another good round together tomorrow, be either in the final group or near the final group, that`s kind of the goal, and then have a shot on the last day."

Andrew Thornton, a native Scot, on his activities prior to this week`s championship…
"I went home for two weeks to watch The Open, which was pretty cool. I managed to go Wednesday-Thursday. The one guy I wanted to see the most was Will Zalatoris, so I watched him for a few holes because the crowds weren`t too bad. I tried to watch Rory and it was just ten-deep. I came back here on Sunday. A little jet-lagged, but I think I managed to brush that off today." 

Luke Armbrust on how the course played in the afternoon wave…
"The course is in unbelievable condition, probably one of the best courses I`ve played in a long time. Greens are true, everything is great. It definitely got windier towards the end of the round. It made it a lot harder, closing on 14-18 wasn`t that easy. Other than that, the day was solid."

Notables

  • The scoring average for the first round Tuesday at Westmoreland was 77.7. By comparison, the first-round scoring average in 2021 at Mistwood Golf Club was 76.4.
  • The field carded 10 eagles on the day, all of which came on Westmoreland`s three par 5s - three on No. 8, four on No. 11 and three on No. 15.
  • The most difficult hole of the day was the 190-yard par-3 fifth, on which the field averaged 3.74 strokes.
  • The easiest hole of the day was the 528-yard par-5 11th, on which the field averaged 4.80 strokes.
  • Daniel Crowley (Chicago), the lone Westmoreland Country Club member in the field, carded a 9-over 81.
  • Charlie Waddell (Chicago), who won the 102nd CDGA Amateur Championship in June at Glen Flora Country Club, opened with a 7-over 79.
  • Jake Erickson (Chatham) is the lone player not currently competing collegiately in the top-10. The former Southern Illinois Saluki shot a 2-under 70 and sits T6.
  • Mac McClear`s 66 is two strokes lower than the lowest round carded in the 2019 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at Westmoreland Country Club, the only other time the club hosted a CDGA-administered Championship. Andrew Gabelman notched a 68 in the opening round of that event.
 
Chicago District Golf Association
The Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA) is authorized by the United States Golf Association (USGA) as the governing body for amateur golf in our region. The CDGA is a membership organization consisting of nearly 90,000 individual golfers and 400 clubs in Illinois and parts of Indiana, Michigan and Wisconsin. Golfers receive member offers, a Handicap Index® from the USGA® and competitive playing opportunities, while clubs receive USGA rating and measuring services, turfgrass diagnostics and educational seminars. Midwest Golf House and the Bob Berry Sunshine Course are home to the CDGA Foundation, which annually serves more than 1,000 individuals with special needs and wounded veterans while also bringing playing opportunities to youth golfers. Founded on March 18, 1914, the CDGA is one of the largest and oldest golf associations in the United States.
 
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