FRANKFORT, Ill. (Aug. 4, 2013) -- The Illinois Match Play Championship Presented by Bettinardi Golf has crowned a new champion for 2013. The Illinois Match Play Championship brings together 64 of Illinois best players in a Match Play only event. Starting with 64 players, the first two rounds of the tournament were competed in four different Regions. Regional host sites were - Balmoral Woods Country Club, Schaumburg Golf Club, Blackberry Oaks Golf Course, and Wedgewood Golf Course. After Rounds 1 & 2, Four Players from each Region were then set to complete at Prestwick Country Club in the Sweet 16.
The weather and golf course for both days of competition for the Sweet 16 at Prestwick Country Club could not have been describes as anything less than perfect. Jack Watson, defending Champion, won the Schaumburg Regional Bracket after beating both John Ramsey and Chadd Slutzky. Both players played even par golf in their respective matches but that was not enough to move past Watson. Watson, who will be playing as a junior this year Wisconsin University, came into the Illinois Match Play Championship playing well recently placing T2 in the Illinois State Amateur and T4 in the Illinois Open.
Ryan Frederick was able to prevail and advance to the Final Four after playing good golf. Frederick beat 11-time USGA Qualifier John Wright in his Sweet 16 Match and moved past Andrew Woodhull in his Great 8 Match. Frederick was 5 under par through 11 holes before eventually winning over Woodhull 3 & 2.
Brian Hickey advanced out of the Wedgewood Region by first beating 2013 USGA Public Links Qualifier Grant Miller and then winning 5 & 4 over Kevin Webber.
Mark Sider advanced to the Final Four winning the Balmoral Wood Region playing very well winning 5 & 4 over Steven Embree and 5 & 4 over Tony Sambo. In both matches, Sider played under par golf easily moving into the Final Four.
In the Final Four, Mark Sider met Ryan Frederick which was a back and fourth match with multiple lead changes. Frederick stood on the 18 tee box one up on Sider. After the tee shots, both players found trees left leaving no shots to the green. Sider, one down, had a back swing but a tree directly in front of him with a decision to make – swing hard to punch a shot under the trees to get it close to the green and possibly break your club or pitch it out and have a 125 year approach to the green. Sider decided to go for the green and made a great shot with the ball ending up the left green side bunker. Sider pulled off a great shot and his club did not break! Frederick, also with only a punch shot to the green was able to advance his shot just short of the green. Still away, Frederick chipped short of the pin by ~12 feet and was not able to make his par putt. Sider hit a very nice bunker shot to 5 feet and made a good putt to win the holes and go into extra innings. Both players shot one over par rounds of 73 in regulation. On the 19th hole, Sider hit his tee shot with an iron down the middle. Ryan, electing to hit driver on the narrow 1st hole, pushed his drive right into some trees. Frederick hit a great punch shot under trees close to the green and again, was unable to get up and down for his par. Sider was able to hit it to the center of the green and two-putt to win and advance to the Final Match in 19 holes.
Brian Hickey met defending Champion, Jack Watson, in the second Final Four Match. Both players played solid golf for the match but Hickey was able to capitalize on an early three putt and errant tee shot by Watson to win a couple of holes early. Up one or two throughout the Round, Watson was able to cut Hickey’s lead to just one after winning the 16th with a par after a Hickey bogie. On the long 220 yard par 3 17th, both players hit their tee shots into the left greenside bunker. A difficult bunker shot of about 30 yards, Hickey hit a great shot to about 5 feet leaving a nice uphill putt. Jack hit his shot a long over the green leaving a tough downhill lie with little green to work with that was running away from him. Not able to get up and down, Hickey’s putt was conceded in addition to the Match giving Hickey a 2 & 1 victory to advance to the Final Match.
In the end – Mark Sider of Highland Park defeated Brian Hickey of Downers Grove to win the 2013 Illinois Match Play Championship. Throughout the final Match, Sider continued his extremely consistent, solid golf that proved good enough for the victory.
View results for Illinois Match Play Championship (cancelled 2016)