Feder wields "The Old Billy Baroo" to Illinois Senior Amateur win
Courtesy of Chicago District Golf Association
Courtesy of Chicago District Golf Association

One year ago to the day, David Feder (Lincolnshire) walked off of Mt. Hawley Country Club’s 18th green three shots shy of senior stalwart Tim Sheppard (East Peoria) following the second round of the 34th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship in his quest toward capturing his first CDGA-administered championship. A three-over 75 in the final round the following day left Feder on the outside looking in, as Sheppard hoisted the Earl R. Liff Trophy for the second time in three years.

This year, in the event’s 35th playing at The Preserve at Oak Meadows in Addison, Feder was triumphant in his chase-down effort, as his final-round 69 pushed the Lincolnshire native one shot clear of the field after entering the final round two shots back of 2019 victor Jeff Ott (Dunlap).

Feder, whose 3-under-par round was tied for the lowest of the tournament, made a pivotal change ahead of Wednesday’s 18, going from a relatively new putter to one he had been familiar with for more than a decade.

“I’m not a big tinkerer with clubs,” Feder said when asked about the change. “I kind of stick with something for a while, but I tried the new putter for the first two rounds and, last night, after missing a lot of putts yesterday, I went back to the ‘old Billy Baroo’ and it paid off. It feels good in my hands and I feel like I can make almost anything, or at least put it really close.”

A sense of confidence wafted from Feder immediately, as he birdied four-straight holes from No. 2 through No. 5, the last of which he circled the scorecard on all three days this week, to obtain an early lead.

“I think it was everything,” Feder said when asked what clicked early on. “I was hitting the driver well, I hit a couple of 3-woods a long way, hit approaches to 10-15 feet and I was making the putts.

“I could feel the greens better than I did the last few days with the new putter and, in general, felt more confident with the putter,” Feder added. “In putting, if you’re not confident, it’s probably not going to go in.”

Feder’s lone bogeys of the round came at Nos. 7 and 10. The 58-year-old bounced back with a birdie at the par-5 13th before cruising to the 18th tee having made four consecutive pars and glancing at where he stood amongst his competitors for the first time all day.

“I didn’t check the scoreboard until the 18th tee box and I saw I had a 1-up lead,” Feder said. “I hit driver, which got about three feet off the ground, but it worked.”

Any nerves from his potentially shaky final tee shot disappeared, as Feder nearly holed his third-shot chip from just off the green to tap in for par and await his fate.

Behind Feder, the final group did all it could to put pressure on the eventual champion, as Mark Small (Frankfort) jarred his approach at No. 16 for eagle to join 2018 CDGA Senior Amateur champion Brad Kay (Arlington Heights) at even par to serve as the duo Feder noticed ahead of his final drive. Leaving his birdie attempt on No. 18 just short of the hole, Small was mere inches away from forcing a three-hole aggregate playoff.

In turn, Feder emerged victoriously and earned his elusive first CDGA-administered win with “the old Billy Baroo” by his side.

“Where it ranks, I think is number one, there’s no question about that,” said Feder of the win. “I’ve won a club championship or two or three, but this is amongst the best golfers of the seniors in the state. This is pretty exciting.”

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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