Nick Hardy at the Illinois State Amateur
ST. CHARLES, IL (July 21, 2016) -- Northbrook native and University of Illinois junior Nick Hardy broke through, winning the 86th Illinois State Amateur Championship in epic fashion and rewriting the record books in the process Thursday at St. Charles Country Club.
Hardy, who finished second and third in the past two State Ams, left no doubt, firing an 8-under 64 in the third round Thursday to open up a four-shot lead, before walking to the finish line with a final-round 65.
Hardy's four-round total of 260 bested the previous mark, 270, shot by Robert Zender in the 1971 event, by a whopping 10 strokes. Hardy's 28-under-par was also the best score in relation to par, toppling the 13-under-par mark set by former PGA Tour member Jerry Haas in 1984. Hardy's 10-stroke margin of victory was only shy of Rob Grube's 11-shot victory in 2006.
“Going into the final round, I didn't care if I won by one or if I won by 10. I just wanted to win,” Hardy said. “I kept battling out there all day and it happened to be 10. It means a lot to me.”
Two-time and defending champion Tee-K Kelly of Wheaton came in second, finishing at 18-under par. Charlie Netzel of Western Springs and 36-hole leader Brian Ohr of Northbrook finished tied for third at 17-under.
ROUND TWO RECAP
A pair of former high school teammates, Brian Ohr and Nick Hardy, will make up the final pairing of the 86th Illinois State Amateur Championship at St. Charles Country Club on Thursday. Ohr held on to the lead following Wednesday's second round, a 5-under 67, while Hardy sliced the lead to one following a round of 66.
The former Glenbrook North teammates reversed roles on Wednesday, with Ohr going out in the morning, carding six birdies against his first bogey of the championship. Hardy teed off in the afternoon, knowing he was seven shots back of Ohr, but closed the gap to one shot by day's end.
“The round went well today,” Ohr said. “The score isn't as good as yesterday, but I'm actually happier about today. I didn't have the ball-striking as much, I hit 18 greens yesterday but only 13 today, so I scrambled a bit and had to just limit my bogeys.”
The field was cut to 38 players, who will compete in the 36-hole final day on Thursday, with temperatures forecasted to approach triple digits. Play will begin at 7 a.m. for the third round and 11:30 a.m. for the final round, with the pairing of Ohr and Hardy teeing off at 8:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. for their respective rounds.
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