Illinois Amateur: Lederhausen, Brant lead

GLEN ELLYN, Ill. (Aug. 9, 2011) -- Theo Lederhausen (Hinsdale) and Chris Brant (Edwardsville) were two of only four players to break par Tuesday, carding 2-under 69s to lead after the opening round of the 81st Illinois State Amateur Championship at Glen Oak Country Club. Lederhausen tallied six birdies on the 6,741-yard layout, while Brant used five birdies.

“With the wind today you have to swing easy and try to hit it straight and smooth,” said Lederhausen, the leading scorer this past season on Harvard University’s golf team. “You can’t really go hard at it or the ball goes everywhere.”

“The wind picked up through the afternoon and the course is starting to dry out,” Brant, a senior at the University of Iowa, said of the course, which has taken on more than two inches of rain in the past 48 hours. “The conditions made it a little tougher, but as long as you hit it straight, you’re okay.”

The leaderboard behind Lederhausen and Brant is packed with talent, as a pair of former champions, two-time champion Todd Mitchell (Bloomington) and 2007 victor Ravi Patel (Evanston) each fired rounds of 70. Among seven players who shot even-par and sit two back is 2009 U.S. Amateur Public Links champion Brad Benjamin (Rockford).

Due to the wet conditions, the entire field played “lift, clean and place” in the fairway for the opening round to minimize the inconvenience from Mother Nature. Despite the damp ground conditions, most players agreed the course was in good condition on a day that saw highs in the 70s and nary a cloud in the sky.

“It’s tough out there with the moisture in the ground and the swirling wind; it’s a premium to hit in the fairway,” said Mitchell, who himself was at 3-under after seven holes before a double bogey. It got worse for Mitchell, as he slipped to one-over through 13 holes, before settling in and scoring a pair of birdies in the final five holes.

Patel, the only one of the leaders who played in the morning, added, “With the course being so soft, it made it easier to play with the way the wind was.”

The full field continues play tomorrow beginning at 7:30 a.m., with conditions forecasted again in the 70s and sunny. The low 30 and ties will advance to the final 36 holes on Thursday. Admission for the week at Glen Oak is free.

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