CHICAGO, Ill. – October 4, 2023 – Roy Biancalana (The Hawk Country Club) continued his strong 2023 season by defending his Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship title at Ridge Country Club on Wednesday. Biancalana defeated David Paeglow (Kishwaukee Country Club) 4 and 2 in the Championship Match to defend his title. He now joins Jim Sobb as the only other player to win this event three times and is the only player to win the event in three consecutive years.
“It was a war of attrition this week,” said Biancalana. “Six rounds of golf in three days with it being this hot was really tough. But it’s always good to be in company with (Jim) Sobb, and it’s fantastic to be the first person to win this event three times in a row.”
Biancalana earned the number one seed of the 2023 Illinois PGA Senior Match Play with his victory in 2022. However, he also won the Stroke Play Qualifying Round on Monday with a 3-under-par 67. He drew the 32nd-seeded Dave Erickson (St. Andrews Golf and Country Club) in the Round of 32. He defeated Erickson, 7 and 6, on Monday afternoon to advance to the next round.
Biancalana faced Tim Troy (Zigfield Troy Golf Club) in the Round of 16. Troy kept the match close on the front nine, but Biancalana would close out the 16th-seeded Troy, 2 and 1, to advance to the next round.
Mike Hasse (The Golf Academy at Terra Cotta) earned the ninth seed in the 2023 Illinois PGA Senior Match Play and faced Biancalana in the Round of 8 on Tuesday afternoon. Biancalana went down early in the match but would not go down without a fight. He regained a 1up lead on the ninth hole and never trailed in the match again. He took a 2up lead on the 15th hole and won the match 2up to advance to the semifinals.
The first Semi-Final Match featured Biancalana and host PGA Professional, Rich Dukelow. Biancalana was in control of this match from the start. He won the first hole and never looked back. He closed out the match on the 16th hole and won his Semi-Final Match 4 and 3 to advance to the Championship Match where he faced Paeglow.
Biancalana’s impressive week continued in the Championship Match. He took a 1up lead on the second hole and rolled through the front nine winning four of the first six holes to go 4up. Fatigue started to set in towards the end of the front nine as Biancalana started to hit some errant shots. Paeglow would capitalize on these opportunities and win the seventh hole and ninth hole to cut into Biancalana’s commanding lead. With just nine holes left to play Biancalana had a 2up lead.
The lead continued to shrink as Paeglow birded the par-4 10th hole and Biancalana held just a 1up lead with eight holes to play. Biancalana would turn things back around with an impressive par on the 12th hole, getting up and down from behind the green to regain a 2up lead. He then made another impressive par on the lengthy par-4 13th hole after hitting his tee shot into the left fairway bunker. He opened a 3up lead on the 15th hole with yet another par and found himself dormie with just three holes to play. Biancalana closed out the Championship getting up and down again on the 16th hole for par to defeat Paeglow 4 and 2 and secure his third consecutive Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship.
“On about the eighth hole in the Championship Match I started feeling light-headed, and I wondered If I would be able to finish,” said Biancalana. “I hit the worst shot I’ve hit in the last 20 years on the ninth tee. I had a little food at the turn and just dug deep to try and hang in there. I started feeling better on the back nine and then my short game kicked in and helped me hold the round together.”
Paeglow also had an impressive week. After securing the second seed of the 2023 Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship Paeglow rattled off four victories to get into the Championship Match for the first time since 2020. He drew John Varner (Beverly Country Club) in a Semi-Final Match that proved to be one of the more impressive matches of the week.
Every hole that was won between the two players in this match was won with a birdie, including Paeglow’s birdie on the 18th hole to send the match to extra holes. At the end of 18 holes, both players had carded 2-under-par 68s with just one bogey a piece.
Paeglow then chipped in on the 19th hole after hitting his tee shot into the right rough. Paeglow left his second shot short. His ball hit the top of the greenside hill and rolled back to the bunker but did not fully get into the bunker. Paeglow had a severe upslope and was short-sided. With Varner already in for par, Paeglow needed to get up and down to extend the match. He holed out the chip shot from the tough lie to win the match in 19 holes and advance to the Championship Match.
The Illinois PGA season continues next week with the E-Z-GO Illinois PGA Players Championship at Twin Orchard Country Club. This event will mark the final Bernardi Illinois PGA Player of the Year points event of the year and also serves as the final Regular Division Major. The Senior Division season wraps up on October 17 at the Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship at Ruth Lake Country Club.
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Illinois PGA Communications