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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 16, 2021
 
BACK AT LAST: FOLLOWING 2020 HIATUS, ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR SET FOR MISTWOOD GOLF CLUB 
 
Friday, July 16, 2021 - LEMONT, Ill. - It will have been more than two years since a shot was struck in Illinois’ premier amateur tournament when the first competitors step to the tee for the 90th Illinois State Amateur Championship, slated for July 20-22 at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.

Annually one of the state’s most anticipated amateur events, a COVID-19-necessitated cancelation in 2020 marked the first time the Illinois State Amateur had not been conducted since its inception in 1931. The tournament returns in 2021 with as much excitement as ever and a star-studded amateur field set to vie for the Louis L. Emmerson Trophy.

FORMAT
The State Am is a test of mental and physical endurance as much as it is one of golfing acumen, with the Championship’s 72 holes unfolding over the course of three days. The entire field will play 18-hole rounds on Tuesday, July 20 and Wednesday, July 21, before a cut is made to the low 35 and ties. Those who remain will complete the event with 36 holes on Thursday, July 22.

ABOUT THE FIELD
The Championship’s field of 132 spawned from an initial pool of 549 registrants, the most since 2017. Any Illinois resident with an official USGA Handicap Index® of 7.4 or below was eligible to sign up for one of eight qualifiers conducted throughout the entirety of Illinois. In total, 104 individuals advanced from these qualifiers, with the remaining 28 spots going to players who were exempt due to past performances in the State Am and other CDGA-administered tournaments.

Players to Watch

John Ehrgott (Edwards) is a mid-amateur stalwart, having claimed four mid-am titles (2007 and 2009 Illinois State Mid-Am, 2015 and 2018 CDGA Mid-Am). The 46-year-old has also achieved success on the national stage, advancing to match play in the U.S. Mid-Amateur Championship five times.

Jake Erickson (Springfield) has finished in the top 12 of the State Am in five of the last seven years, including a T-4 placing at Cantigny in 2019. He is a past winner of the CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship (2019) and has finished second in both the State Am (2013) and State Mid-Am (2017).

Ethan Farnam (Crystal Lake) is searching to become the first repeat State Am winner since Todd Mitchell in 2002 and 2003. The Saint Mary’s (California) Gael emerged victorious by two strokes at Cantigny in 2019 and has since won the Silicon Valley Amateur in 2020 and Northern California Golf Association Four-Ball Championship in May of this year.

Mac McClear (Hinsdale) has achieved success at every level of his golf career, winning three team IHSA state championships at Hinsdale Central, claiming the 2019 Illinois State Junior Amateur crown and earning the individual Big Ten Championship title in May. The 20-year-old is a rising junior at Iowa.

Brad Kay (Arlington Heights) highlights the senior contingent competing at Mistwood, having won the CDGA Senior Amateur Championship in 2018 and CDGA Senior Amateur Four-Ball Championship in 2019. Kay, 58, was the oldest of the 16 competitors to advance to match play at this year’s CDGA Amateur by 14 years and took eventual winner Nick Tenuta to the 18th hole.

Jordan Less (Elmhurst) nearly achieved a historic double in 2019, claiming the 100th CDGA Amateur Championship at Glen View Club before finishing tied for second in the State Am at Cantigny. The 2019 CDGA Co-Player of the Year recently completed a decorated career at Northern Illinois, earning First Team All-MAC accolades in his senior campaign.

Charlie Nikitas (Glenview) was named an All-MAC performer in each of his first three seasons at Miami (Ohio), also earning two State Am top-10s during this timeframe (third in 2018, T9 in 2019). Nikitas advanced to August’s U.S. Amateur Championship at Oakmont Country Club via a qualifier at Lake Shore Country Club on July 12.

John Ramsey (Glenview) claimed hardware in two of the four championships conducted by the CDGA in 2020. The 41-year-old teamed with Chadd Slutzky to win the CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship before earning a solo crown in the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship.

Nick Tenuta (Mt. Prospect) is the only winner of a 2021 CDGA-administered championship in the field, having claimed the 101st CDGA Amateur Championship in June at Bull Valley Golf Club. The rising senior at Louisville placed sixth at the 2019 State Am.

Rob Wuethrich (Bloomington) has been a stalwart on two Illinois Wesleyan men’s golf national championship-winning teams (2019, 2021), being named to the Division III PING All-America First Team in both seasons. He finished second in the 2018 State Am by only one stroke before a T-7 placing in 2019.

Others to Watch

Tyler Anderson (Mundelein) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the Fox Bend Golf Course qualifier on June 18. He also competed and advanced to the Semifinals of the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Chambers Bay earlier this year alongside Loyola University teammate Devin Johnson

Larry Blatt (Chicago) played college golf at Ole Miss and Illinois, helping the Illini to the 2008 NCAA Tournament. Blatt competed in three Western Amateurs and a U.S. Amateur during his college years, and advanced to 2021 U.S. Open Final Qualifying through the CDGA-administered Local Qualifying at Cog Hill Golf & Country Club on May 3.

Thomas Brennan (Rochelle) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the Fox Bend Golf Course qualifier on June 18.

Ricky Costello (Homer Glen) earned medalist honors at -6 in the Kankakee Elks Country Club qualifier on June 30.

Bennett Cotten (Winnetka) won the 2021 Will County Amateur and played in the 2021 U.S. Amateur Four-Ball Championship at Chambers Bay.

Tommy Dunsire (Naperville), an Academic All-MAC selection at Northern Illinois, earned CDGA hardware in 2019 by teaming with his brother, Scott, to claim the CDGA Amatuer Four-Ball Championship at Oak Park Country Club.

Scott Frevert (Lake Bluff) earned medalist honors at -3 in The Den at Fox Creek qualifier on June 16.

Connor Goggin (Chicago) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the Fox Bend Golf Course qualifier on June 18.

Jake Hennessy (Oak Lawn) finished as medalist at -6 in the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Weibring Golf Course at Illinois State University on July 7.

Tim Hoss Jr. (Champaign) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the University of Illinois Golf Course qualifier on June 17.

Jack Junge (Lincolnshire) earned medalist honors at -4 in the Lake Bluff Golf Club qualifier on June 28.

Jack Kemper (Elmhurst) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the Fox Bend Golf Course qualifier on June 18.

Tommy Kuhl (Morton) is the 2018 State Junior Amateur winner and played in all 10 of the Illinois men’s golf team’s 2020-21 tournaments en route to another Big Ten title for the Orange and Blue.

Michael Nutter (Kildeer) earned medalist honors in The Hawk Country Club qualifier on June 29.

Connor Polender (Lake Bluff) finished as co-medalist at -6 in the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Stonebridge Country Club on July 6.

Brandon Rowe (Oakwood) tied for medalist honors at -2 in the University of Illinois Golf Course qualifier on June 17.

Jeremy Schwab (Beach Park) earned medalist honors at -3 in the Pinecrest Golf Club qualifier on June 16.

Wyatt Spier (Macomb) tied for medalist honors at -3 in the PrairieView Golf Club qualifier on June 15.

Jason Wombacher (Byron) tied for medalist honors at -3 in the PrairieView Golf Club qualifier on June 15.

ABOUT THE COURSE - MISTWOOD GOLF CLUB

The Illinois State Amateur Championship visits Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville for the first time in 2021. The public facility was designed by Ray Hearn and opened in 1998. The late Jim McWethy, who passed away last June, bought the club in 2003 and longed for the club to be a hotspot for both paying customers and elite amateur golfers alike.

“This is a big deal,” said Todd McWethy, Jim’s son who now oversees Mistwood’s operations with his sister Gretchen Hupke, in the July Chicago District Golfer preview of the event (CLICK HERE to read). “We wanted to host this for years. It’s the most prestigious amateur tournament in Illinois. We hope we can do it right and do it again.”

To that end, McWethy brought Hearn back to the property for a two-year, multi-million dollar renovation that was completed in 2012. The course features 20 St. Andrews-style sod-wall bunkers, which help the course feel more like Scotland than the southwest suburbs of Chicago. The course will play at 6,808 yards and will be rerouted for the Championship (CLICK HERE to view the routing). One of the most notable stretches of holes, normally Nos. 14-17, will undoubtedly play a distinct role in the outcome of the Championship. Known as “Kelpie’s Corner,” the holes wrap around the lake Loch St. James and feature a par 3, 4, 5 and 3, respectively.

“Part of the renovations was to get tournaments of this caliber,” said Hupke. “[My father] was ‘If you’re going to do it, do it right.’ We want to continue to set the bar extremely high.”

In addition to the on-course modifications, a 5,000 square-foot Performance Center was erected and features hitting bays, custom club fitting, repair services and lessons. A 26,000 square-foot clubhouse was also opened and is home to McWethy’s Tavern and the Great Hall Banquet facility.

Mistwood plays host to the Illinois Women’s Open each year, and previously hosted the 2018 Women’s Western Amateur. The club also was the site of the 2018 CDGA Amateur Four-Ball Championship, won by the duo of Steve Sawtell and Michael Natale, and the 2017 CDGA Mid-Amateur Championship, where Chadd Slutzky emerged victorious.

2019 ILLINOIS STATE AMATEUR

Saint Mary’s rising junior Ethan Farnam entered the final round of the weather-shortened 89th Illinois State Amateur Championship at Cantigny Golf four strokes behind David Perkins. The left-handed Crystal Lake native carded a final round of 3-under 69, including three birdies on the back nine. His efforts were enough to best Perkins and Jordan Less by two strokes.

Farnam will look to defend his title this week, following the event’s cancelation last summer due to the coronavirus pandemic. Joining Farnam in the field are 10 of the top-15 finishers in the 2019 iteration.
 
NOTES

Springboard for Success
A victory in the State Amateur is oftentimes a springboard to further professional and amateur success. Past champions include the likes of:

  • Jim Frisina Sr. (1942, ‘47, ‘54, ‘56, ‘58 champ)
    • 13x U.S. Amateur qualifier
  • Gary Hallberg (1978 and ‘79 champ)
    • 3x PGA Tour winner
  • Joel Hirsch (1988 and ‘89 champ)
    • 2x Senior British Amateur winner
  • Jerry Haas (1982 and ‘84 champ)
    • 8 professional victories
  • Mark Hensby (1994 champ)
    • 6 professional victories
  • D.A. Points (1995, ‘98 & ‘99 champ)
    • 3x PGA Tour winner
  • Luke Guthrie (2009 champ)
    • 2x Korn Ferry Tour winner
  • Vince India (2010 champ)
    • Korn Ferry Tour professional
  • Tee-K Kelly (2013 and ‘15 champ)
    • 1 PGA Tour Latinoamérica win
  • Nick Hardy (2016 champ)
    • 3x U.S. Open participant
  • Patrick Flavin (2017 champ)
    • 1 PGA Tour Latinoamérica win
  • Jordan Hahn (2018 champ)
    • Made PGA Tour debut at the 2021 Valspar Championship

Looking Ahead
Joining Mistwood Golf Club as a first-time Illinois State Amateur host, Wilmette’s Westmoreland Country Club is set to welcome the state’s top amateurs in 2022. The championship will be the first administered by the CDGA at Westmoreland since the 33rd Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship in 2019. 

By the Numbers
+5.3: The lowest USGA Handicap Index® in the field, Michael Cascino
+0.9: The average USGA Handicap Index® of the 132-golfer field
1: This year marks the first time the State Am has visited Mistwood Golf Club
8: The number of players in the field age 50 and older
15: The combined number of wins in CDGA-administered championships by the field
17: The number of teenage golfers in the field

41: The number of players in the field born in the 2000s
58: The age of Phillip Saville, the oldest player in the field
93: The combined number of clubs represented by the 132-golfer field
131: The number of players in the field searching for their first Illinois State Am title, as Ethan Farnam is the only member of the 132-player field with a title.
549: The number of initial registrants that attempted to make the field of 132
6,808: The total distance Mistwood Golf Club will play for the State Amateur

 
Chicago District Golf Association
The Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA) is the regional governing body for amateur golf in Illinois and parts of three other states. The CDGA services more than 400 clubs and 80,000 individual golfers. Golfers receive member offers, a USGA Handicap Index® and competitive playing opportunities, while clubs receive USGA rating and measuring services, turfgrass diagnostics and educational seminars. Midwest Golf House and its Three-Hole 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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