Sometimes it's true that the early bird gets the worm. The first pairing of the day saw Jake Erickson of Springfield card a 5-under-par 67 to take the first round lead in the 83rd Illinois State Amateur. In the same pairing, Andrew Vitt of Chicago posted a 3-under 69 to joining two others in a tie for second.
"I'm very happy with the round. I hit it extremely well today," Erickson said. "I had some good looks that I missed, but I made some good par putts and I guess it all evens out. I was happy to finish with two birdies, so I can't complain."
Erickson's round consisted of six birdies and a bogey, including birdies on his final two holes. Vitt also birdied three of the final four holes to finish strong.
"I'm happy with the way I played," Vitt said. "I hit it in play, which makes the course play much easier." Joining Vitt in second: Paul White of Glen Ellyn and the CDGA 2012 player of the year, Dave Ryan of Taylorsville.
The 59-year old Ryan, playing against players half his age, said, "It's the old cliché, you play one shot at a time and do the best you can. The golf hole doesn't know how old you are."
Derek Rohlfing of Effingham had the shot of the day, a one-hop hole-in-one on the 182-yard par-3 13th hole. "It was definitely a big pick-up for my round," Rohlfing said. His 6-iron shot was the first ace of his career and put him in a ninth place tie at even-par 72 for the tournament.
After Thursday's second round, the field is cut to the low 30 golfers, ties, and any other players within 10 strokes of the lead. They then advance to Thursday's 36-hole finale.
The championship is being conducted on the 7,049 yard, par-72 Aldeen Golf Club in Rockford, Ill.
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