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|For Immediate Release||September 14, 2021|
|OTT SURGES TO LEAD IN SEARCH OF SECOND STATE SENIOR AM CROWN|
|Tuesday, September 14, 2021 - ADDISON, Ill. – At first glance, Jeff Ott’s (Dunlap) even-par total of 144 through the first two rounds of the 35th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship at The Preserve at Oak Meadows may seem relatively routine. Further examination of his scorecard, however, reveals that the 2019 State Senior Am winner has been able to withstand a self-described “roller coaster” first two days to enter Wednesday’s final round with a two-stroke lead over a pack of five chasers.|
Through 36 holes, Ott has tallied only 17 pars. He’s notched nine birdies and an eagle, in comparison to eight bogeys and one triple bogey. He eagled the par-5 13th in Monday’s first round, before carding a bogey on the same hole Tuesday. The par-4 14th, where he bounced back from a triple bogey on Monday with a par Tuesday, has been just as adventurous.
Nonetheless, Ott finds himself as the only player at par for the Championship. His 1-under 71 on Tuesday during blustery conditions vaulted him from T10 to the precipice of another title. The former baseball player in the New York Yankees system and at the University of Iowa credits the success to his ability to stifle frustration with positive thoughts.
“If it looks like I’m even-keeled on the outside, I’m not on the inside,” Ott said with a chuckle. “Believe me, I’m going crazy on the inside, yelling and screaming. All you can do is put it behind you and focus on the next shot and try to go from there. Try to not let it bother you. As hard as that is to say, that’s the objective. You hit a bad shot, I get it out, get my grumbling and then just focus on the next shot.”
Ott was not the only one grumbling on Tuesday, as gusts upward of 20 mph led to the course playing “three-to-four shots harder, at least – if not more” from round one to round two, as estimated by Mark Small (Frankfort).
“It’s a challenge,” Small said.
Small, the 1996 Illinois State Amateur Championship winner and match-play participant at the 2021 U.S. Senior Amateur, headlines the quintet at +2. Joining Small at T2 are round one co-leaders Mark Hannon (Bolingbrook) and Cory Scott (Galesburg), who followed up 2-under 70s on Monday with 4-over 76s on Tuesday. David Feder (Lincolnshire) and Brad Kay (Arlington Heights) round out the talented pack that will be attempting to chase down the steely Ott on Wednesday.
“I like to feel like I step up and thrive a little bit when the chips are on the line, so to speak,” Ott said. “I’m looking forward to tomorrow.”
The 75-golfer field was whittled to 36 following the first two rounds, with the cut coming at +11 overall. Ted Zurkowski (Chicago) was awarded low super senior honors, annually awarded to the best 36-hole score of those age 65 and older. He and Daniel Moore (Chicago) both sit at +5 following two rounds, but Zurkowski claimed the award with a par on the first playoff hole.
Play in Wednesday’s final round will begin at 8 a.m., with the final trio of Ott, Small and Kay teeing off at 9:39 a.m.
|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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