Tim Sheppard won his second Illinois Senior title in three years
Tim Sheppard won his second Illinois State Senior title in three years today at Mt Hawley Country Club, posting a final round 70 for a 6-shot victory over Dave Ryan.
The tournament started with Sheppard experiencing a physical limitation in the form of wrist pain, exacerbated by hitting from a plugged lie in the bunker in round one.
Then came anguish of another form.
The final round started with the mental anguish that comes from losing a beloved companion, as Sheppard's dog passed away shortly before leaving for the course for Wednesday's final round.
"I had a very hard time trying to focus this morning,” an emotional Sheppard told the CDGA following his victory. “It was really hard to hit the short shots – the chipping and putting was very difficult."
Indeed, the enjoyment of having a chance to win the state's biggest senior title in his hometown was muted by the loss, but Sheppard composed himself enough to focus on the task at hand.
After going 2-over through seven holes after back-to-back bogeys, Sheppard bounced back with a birdie on No. 8 and closed the front nine at 1-over.
Sheppard didn't get any serious pressure from the members of the final pairing. Dave Feder, who trailed by three entering the final round shot 38 on the front nine after getting derailed by a double bogey on No. 4.
But Dave Ryan of Taylorville was hanging in there, having shot 1-under on the front nine to close the gap to four and then blistering the back nine with a nearly perfect 4-under 32. That back nine -- on which he birdied three straight on Nos. 14-16 -- put Ryan at 5-under for the tournament.
Sheppard, a two-time CDGA Senior Player of the Year who has made match play in three of the last four US Senior Ams, was up for the challenge.
He went on a run of his own, with birdies on 4 out of 5 holes from No. 11 to No. 15, then parred the last three to cruise home with a victory.
View results for Illinois Senior Amateur
ABOUT THE Illinois Senior Amateur
Open to senior amateurs who are residents of the
state of Illinois. A 54-hole event with the entire field
playing 36 holes over the course of two days and the
low 30 and ties play the final 18 on the third day.
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