MEDINAH, Ill. – August 25, 2020 –
Mike Small (University of Illinois) tied the Medinah Course One record with an 8-under-par 63 in the second round of the Illinois PGA Professional Championship. Small’s second round propelled him to the top of the leaderboard and he will carry a one-stroke lead into the final round as he looks to win his 13th Section Championship.
Small started the second-round red hot. He eagled the par-5 first hole after sticking a 2-iron to six feet from 230 yards out. He picked up a birdie on the second hole, then drove the green on the par-4 third hole and two putted for birdie making him 4-under-par through the first three holes.
Small added his fourth birdie of the day on the par-4 eighth hole, then chipped in to save par on the ninth and turned at 5-under-par 31.
The bogey-free round continued for Small on the back nine. He birded the par-4 10th to start the back nine and added birdies on 13 and 16 to finish the second round with an 8-under-par 63 and take the lead at 10-under-par.
It was good today. I got off to a good start,” said Small. “I’m happy with where I stand. I needed it. I just tried to get out of my way today. The course was in great shape this morning, it was pure.”
Small is looking to bounce back from last year’s Section Championship after letting a five-stroke lead slip away, and win his 13th title.
“It’s kind of weird,” said Small. “I’ve won this thing 12 times and I blow a lead once and it’s a big deal. I should just forget about it. I should just blow it off and forget about it. But when you look back at it, I had a five-stroke lead with nine holes to play. It was weird, I’ve never done that. I usually finish strong. I would like to contend and be in the mix for another victory before it gets too late.”
Mistwood Golf Club’s Andy Mickelson and Frank Hohenadel are tied for second at 9-under-par 133 heading into the final round.
Mickelson, who was tied for first entering the second round, followed up his first round 66 with a 4-under-par 67. He started his round with a birdie on the par-5 first hole and parred the remaining eight holes to make the turn at 1-under-par 35. Mickelson made the most of the back nine making back-to-back to birdies on holes 12 and 13. He added two more birdies on the par-3 15th hole and the par-5 17th hole to tie Small at 10-under-par for the tournament. However, he carded his first bogey of the tournament after three putting the par-3 18th hole to fall back to 9-under-par for the tournament.
“All and all I’m really proud of the way I played,” said Mickelson. “I played better today than yesterday. Yesterday felt like an easier round of golf, but I played better today. I think the conditions today helped me. It will be a pretty special final group. Frank and Mike both have good vibes out here. I played well here a long time ago in the CDGA Am on this same course. I really enjoy this place. Anything can happen tomorrow, it’s only one shot.”
Hohenadel began the day in fourth place after a 4-under-par 66. He got his first birdie of the round on the par-4 third hole, but gave the stroke back after making his only bogey of the day on the sixth hole. Birdies on holes seven and nine got Hohenadel to 2-under-par for the day and 6-under-par for the tournament, just four-strokes off the lead.
Similar to his co-worker, Hohenadel made his move on the back nine in the second round. He birdied the par-4 10th hole and added birdies on holes 12 and 14. Despite having a few good looks coming in, Hohenadel was unable to make birdie and remained at 9-under-par for the tournament.
“I wanted to come out today and be a little more aggressive and start hitting wedges at flags and be more aggressive with my putts. I left a lot putts short and low yesterday. My game plan today was to just be aggressive.”
Both Small and Hohenadel have won the Illinois PGA Professional Championship at Medinah. One of Small’s 12 victories came at this facility in 2008, and Hohenadel recorded his first major victory here nine years ago in 2011. Although both have seen success in this event at this facility, both of their victories came prior to the Medinah Course One renovations in 2012.
“The course is so much different than 2011,” said Hohenadel. “I think it fits my game better now. I can’t really believe I won the year I did. I don’t know what it is with this place. There is just something about these grounds that have that special feel and I just feel like I have to play well.”
Jim Billiter, who is the only past champion of this event to win on the renovated Course One, is in fourth place following a 3-under-par 68 in round two. Billiter started on the back nine in today’s round and made back-to-back birdies on holes 10 and 11. He would go on to make three bogeys, including back-to-back bogeys on 17 and 18 moving him to 1-under-par for the tournament. Three straight birdies on holes 1-3 to start his back nine got Billiter back on track. He added birdies on the par-3 fifth hole and the par-3 seventh before making his third bogey of the round on the eighth hole. Billiter parred the ninth hole and has a tournament total 5-under-par 137.
Travis Johns (Medinah Country Club) and Roy Biancalana (Blackberry Oaks Golf Club) are tied for fifth place entering the final round. Johns started the round at 5-under-par and tied for the first place, but carded a 1-over-par in the second round to drop to fifth place.
Biancalana carded a 1-under-par 70 in the first round and was tied for ninth coming into today’s round. A 3-under-par 68 brought him to 4-under-par 138 for tournament.
Blaine Wright (Chicago Highlands Club) and Nick Papadakes (Onwentsia Club) are tied for seventh after the second round. Wright carded a 1-under-par 70 in round two, while Papadakes recorded a 3-under-par 68. Both are currently sitting one stroke clear of the top nine qualifying spots.
Curtis Malm (White Eagle Golf Club), George Goich (Flossmorr Country Club), Brian Carroll (The Hawk Country Club), Steve Orrick (Country Club of Decatur), Garrett Chaussard (Skokie Country Club), Sean Gervais (Chicago Golf Club), Carson Solien (Oak Park Country Club) and Michael Strain (Ivanhoe Club) are tied for ninth place and currently fighting for the last Illinois PGA qualifying spot for the PGA Professional Championship.
The final round of the Illinois PGA Professional Championship will begin tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. with the lead group teeing off at 11:10 a.m. The top nine finishers will qualify for the 54th PGA Professional Championship at the PGA Golf Club on April 25-28, 2021.
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Illinois PGA Communications