LAKE BLUFF, Ill. – October 6, 2021 – Roy Biancalana (Blackberry Oaks Golf Club) has had a strong showing in 2021 and his 2 and 1 victory over Doug Bauman (Biltmore Country Club) in the Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship was the cherry on top as he also secured the 2021 Illinois PGA Errie Ball Senior Player of the Year Award.
“I didn’t hit my irons well at all this week,” said Biancalana. “I found something on the 14th hole in the Championship Match today and I was able to pull it together at the end. I’m most proud of the way I hung in there without having my A-game. I tend to get down on myself when I’m not playing the way I know I can, but I didn’t do that.”
Biancalana’s week started on Monday afternoon. Entering the week atop the leaderboard in the Errie Ball Senior Player of the Year point race earned him the two seed and a first-round bye. He picked up his tournament in the Round of 32 defeating 31st seeded Tim Troy (Zigfield Troy Golf Club) 1up. He went on to win both his matches on Tuesday, defeating 15th seeded Marc Woodcock (The Village Links) 5 and 4 in the Round of 16. Waiting for Biancalana in the Quarterfinal Matches was 10th seed Dave Erickson (St. Andrews Golf and Country Club). Biancalana won that match in a 7 and 6 route to earn a spot in the Semifinals.
The Semifinal Matches took place Wednesday morning at Shorearces. Biancalana drew 22nd seeded Kevin Healy in the Semifinals. Biancalana was in control for most of the match as he turned 2up. He extended his lead to 3up on the 11th hole. Healy would battle back though, winning holes 12 and 13 before tying the next four holes. Biancalana would win the match 1up and advanced to the Championship Match where he faced Bauman.
An opening hole bogey by Bauman gave Biancalana the early lead in the Championship Match. The two would trade pars the next eight holes in a scrappy front nine. Biancalana held a 1up lead with nine holes to play.
Bauman kicked it into gear on the back nine. He birdied the 10th hole after leaving his approach shot about eight feet from the pin. Biancalana hit the front of the green with his approach shot, but Bauman cashed in his great shot and tied the match. Bauman won the 11th hole to take the lead in the Championship Match. After driving the ball to the right side of the fairway, Bauman hit his approach just past the hole and two-putted for par to win back-to-back holes.
The two players tied with pars on the par-3 12th hole. The 13th hole looked to be in Bauman’s favor as he drove the ball in the center of the fairway. Biancalana was in the right rough but was able to hit the green and two-putt for par to tie the hole and remain 1down in the match.
The par-3 14th hole proved to be the turning point in the match. Bauman had the honors and left his tee shot short of the green on the right-hand side. Biancalana hit 4-iron off the tee and left himself about 12 feet for birdie. Bauman ran his putt from off the green past the hole and made bogey, Biancalana made his par to win the hole and tie the match as the players moved to the par-5 15th hole.
Biancalana and Bauman both got home in two on 15. Biancalana was away and lagged his eagle putt up close to the hole. Bauman would three-putt from the front of the green and Biancalana made his par to win back-to-back holes and go 1up for the first time since the ninth hole.
Bauman pulled his tee shot left off the tee on 16 and was forced to retee. Biancalana found the fairway and played his approach shot to the middle of the green. Bauman, who was playing his fourth shot, attacked the pin and went over the green. The hole was conceded and Biancalana took a 2up lead with two holes to play.
Both players made routine pars on the par-4 17th hole and Biancalana closed out the match 2 and 1 to secure his first career Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship.
With the win, Biancalana secured the 2021 Illinois PGA Errie Ball Senior Player of the Year Award. This marks the third time he has won this honor in four years. Biancalana finished inside the top ten in the Senior Division seven times in 2021 including two victories and a third-place finish at the XXIO Illinois Open Championship.
“The goal is to win the Player of the Year Award every year,” said Biancalana. “This is my third time winning the senior honor in four years. My goal was to win both the regular and senior Player of the Year and I was really close to doing that. I had a really good year.”
The Illinois Senior Players Championship will be held next week at Beverly Country Club. This tournament will feature the top 32 Illinois PGA Professionals on the Errie Ball points list and also marks the final Senior Division tournament of the season.
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