|Wednesday, July 17, 2019 - |
WHEATON, Ill. – Following his second round in the 89th Illinois State Amateur Championship at Cantigny Golf on Wednesday, David Perkins (Bloomington / Quail Meadows GC) felt there was room for improvement with his putting.
“The putter is kind of cold, surprisingly,” said Perkins, the 2018 CDGA Amateur champion. “They’ll come. I’m just waiting to roll some more putts in.”
His putting might have been cold, but his scorecard was red hot.
Perkins followed up 4-under-par 68 on Tuesday with a 5-under-par 67 to take a commanding 4-shot lead at 9-under overall, ahead of a triumvirate of Ethan Farnam (Crystal Lake / Crystal Lake CC), Parker Wisdom (Bloomington / Bloomington CC) and Nick Tenuta (Mount Prospect / Mount Prospect GC).
“It doesn’t surprise me; obviously I wasn’t expecting to come out and shoot 9-under,” said Perkins. “But I knew if I played well, rolled some putts in, I could put a number like that out there. It’s out there: the winds are low, the course is soft.”
As the mercury rose, Perkins’ scores dropped. Teeing off in the morning wave, the rising senior at Illinois State University captained a consistent ship on the front nine, including a lone birdie on the par-4 5th. The runner-up in last month’s CDGA Amateur Championship credited a confidence in his game and keeping a level head as fuel for a charge after the turn.
“Coming off the front, I think I hit every green,” said Perkins. “Missed a couple of putts, but was playing really strong and just trusted what I was doing and that they would come. It’s hard to not get frustrated because I’m playing really, really well. 1 under was good, but I felt like it could be a lot better.”
Better it was.
A red number on the par-4 10th got the momentum going. He added another birdie on the par-3 13th after knocking his tee shot to 4 feet and dropping the putt. Then came the par-5 14th, and after placing his second shot on the green, Perkins drained a 40-foot bomb for the eagle. Even-par scores heading in secured the second-straight bogey-free round for Perkins as the afternoon wave teed off.
“I’ve only made one bad swing and still made par,” said Perkins. “It’s just been the way I’ve been hitting it; the iron game is really good. I kind of just kept my head down and focused on what I was doing.”
Those consecutive clean cards produced a stretch of competitive golf that hasn’t seen a bogey made since the 37th hole of the CDGA Amateur Championship last month. Even with a CDGA-administered championship victory on his resume, he understands the difficulty of this successful string of play against the stature of the field that comes with an Illinois State Amateur.
“It’s definitely the best stretch I’ve ever had,” said Perkins. “To do it here, it means a lot.”
Also playing in the morning wave, Farnam, a rising junior at Saint Mary’s College, notched two birdies to keep within striking distance of the leader after his first round of 2-under-par 70. The southpaw utilized a keen sense of lag-putting and a steady flatstick to card his own clean card.
“A lot of it’s due to the putter,” commented Farnam. “I’ve got to attribute a lot of my success to my speed control. Every time I get out of position, I’d have a lag-putt length, I seemed to have a tap-in par. It makes it a lot less stressful when your chips and your putts are three feet by or three feet short and that’s the key for me this week.”
Five red numbers to just two bogeys aided Wisdom in the morning, as well, as he finished the round with a 3-under 69. The incoming Illinois State Redbird was able to best his first-round score by a shot by getting up and down when the situation called for it.
“I’m getting up and down when I need to,” said Wisdom. “I had one bogey too, but when I missed the green, I had to chip out and didn’t get up and down. But it was close. If I just make my putts, it’ll be good.”
Tying for the low round of the day, with Perkins and 2019 CDGA Amateur champion Jordan Less (Elmhurst / Oak Brook GC), Tenuta carded a 5-under-par 67 to vault into contention following his opening-round even-par 72. Playing in the afternoon wave, Tenuta kept an eye on the leaderboard and knew a hot start was required to remain in the picture.
“I was putting it beautifully, I was rolling it end over end,” said Tenuta, a rising junior at the University of Louisville. “I was also just hitting fairways, not making mistakes, which is easy to do out here off the tee. I was giving myself a look at every green, which is great.”
The cut line fell at 3-over-par 147, with 41 players advancing past the second round. Thursday’s previously scheduled 36-hole final will be reduced to 18 holes after an excessive heat warning was issued for the Chicagoland area ahead of forecasted heat indexes well above the century mark on Thursday afternoon.
Tee times start at 7:30 in threesomes off of both tees, with Perkins slated to start his round at 8:30 a.m. on No. 1.
QUOTES OF NOTE:
Jordan Less, who tied for low-round of the day with a 5-under-par 67, on what he worked on Tuesday night following his 1-over-par 73 opening round…
“My putter was a little off yesterday, so I went home and did some metronome beats with it, to get back in rhythm and it was working today.”
Jackson Bussell (Lincolnshire / Pine Meadow), on his thoughts of Cantigny following his second round…
“I’ve actually only played here once, or twice, before. I love the layout, it’s not too easy for a State Am. And I love the greens here, they’re rolling really well.”
Ethan Farnam, on where he stands heading into the third round…
“I feel a little bit lucky to be in second right now, just with how the scoring was yesterday and then the conditions today. I just felt like I wasn’t sure on my distances. Going into tomorrow, I just have to commit to my distances and give myself some better birdie looks.”
David Perkins, on his current stretch of bogey-free golf…
“With how I’m hitting it, I might not make any bogeys. We’ll see.”
This year’s State Am will be just the third time the event has been shortened to 54 holes since the format was switched from match play to stroke play in 1963. Ravi Patel emerged victorious at Ironhorse Golf Club in Tuscola in 2007, while Patrick Flavin claimed the title at Calumet Country Club in 2017.
David Perkins, the 2018 CDGA Amateur champion, is leads by four strokes entering Thursday’s final round. Only 11 individuals have won both the Illinois State Amateur Championship and CDGA Amateur, the most-recent being Illinois Golf Hall of Famer Joel Hirsch (State Am in 1988 and 1989, CDGA Am in 1988 and 1998).
Springfield native Jake Erickson fired a 4-under 68 on Wednesday and will enter Thursday’s final round tied for eighth at 3-under overall. He has finished in the top-12 of this event in four of the previous six iterations.
In total, 20 players enter Thursday’s final round under par for the Championship. Just three players finished in red numbers last year at Bloomington Country Club.
Of the players to make the cut, Jack Vercautren and Zach Williams were able to better their first-round scores by six shots each Wednesday, the greatest improvement of the 41 players.
The par-5 14th statistically played as the easiest scoring hole in the second round, featuring a scoring average of 4.802. The hole also featured three eagles throughout the day, the only on the course, by David Perkins, Orion Yamat and Timothy Lim.
The par-4 6th statistically played as the hardest scoring hole in the second round, featuring a scoring average of 4.488. 43 bogeys were recorded on the hole, the most for any on the track.