MUNDELEIN, Ill. – August 30, 2023 – Roy Biancalana (St. Charles, Ill) claimed his third Illinois Senior Open today at Pine Meadow Golf Club, after shooting rounds of 68 and 72. Biancalana becomes the first person in the thirteen-year history of the tournament to win three times. John Platt (Plainfield, Ill) came in second with two rounds of 71. Amateurs Ted Pecora (Winnetka, Ill) and Mike Karney (Crystal Lake, Ill) both finished at one-under-par to share the low amateur honors for the main championship.
Round one began on Monday, as 111 players arrived fighting for a chance to add their name to the growing list of Super Senior Open Champions. Defending Champion Doug Bauman (Lakewood, Ill) got things going, playing in the second group off in the morning. Bauman would have a rocky first round, finishing with a 74 and only three birdies on the card. The 111-player field marked the largest field size in history for the Illinois Super Senior Open.
The stars were indeed out in the morning for Round One, as then two-time champion Biancalana followed Bauman; playing in the third group. After going out in 1-under-par 35, Biancalana turned on the gas and fired off three birdies in a row to start his back nine. With pars the rest of the way in, Biancalana set the pace for the rest of the field after round one, finishing at 4-under-par 68. Right behind him, and in the same pairing, was the ever-dangerous Ron Waytula (McHenry, Ill) (a), who fired an opening round 69. A pair of Dave’s followed Biancalana and Waytula after round one, with Dave Esler (St. Charles, Ill) (a) and David Passaglia (Kildeer, Ill) (a) rounding out the top four with opening round 70s.
Round two presented a whole different challenge for the players, as a cold front moved in overnight to bring temperatures down into the lower 60s. A northerly breeze also helped tame the lower scores as the day went on, bringing trouble into play on almost every hole. As play began, the field quickly realized the challenge that lay ahead.
“The weather was more difficult today; the wind blew which made every shot more tough,” said Biancalana. “It was tough out there.”
Biancalana entered round two sitting on a one-stroke lead, which quickly vanished after a bogey on the first hole. In fact, the first four holes for Biancalana were anything but smooth sailing. After the bogey on one, Biancalana birdied the second hole, which ranked as the third easiest par-5 on the course, to get back to the four-under mark. As Biancalana approached the third tee, he knew exactly the challenge that lay ahead. The third hole ranked as the hardest hole for the tournament due to its sharp dog-leg left nature that brings a pond into play on the left and a heavily wooded area on the right. Biancalana’s drive found the pond on the left, which led to a double-bogey six on the hole. At that point in time, Passaglia and Pecora found themselves atop the leaderboard at 3-under-par.
“I hit a couple really bad shots, and overall just played inconsistent,” said Biancalana. “I had a good attitude throughout the round which helped me hang in there.”
That good attitude would pay off for Biancalana, as he countered the bogeys from early in the round with a pair of birdies on holes four and nine.
Sneaking up the leaderboard as the front nine moved along was Platt, who started his round at 1-under-par. A string of birdies on holes four, five, and eight pushed Platt to the three-under mark through nine holes. Biancalana and Pecora joined Platt at three under after nine to tighten the last nine holes of the championship. The showdown was set with nine holes to play.
A bogey on the 10th hole from Platt pushed him one back of the leaders, but his never-give-up mentality allowed him to rattle in a long birdie putt from off the green on the par-3 12th hole. At that point in time, all three players remained gridlocked at 3-under-par.
Pecora began to slip after a bogey on the par-5 13th hole. After the bogey, Pecora missed birdie putts on 14 and 15, which all but eliminated his chances for the title.
The battle was on between Platt and Biancalana with four holes to play. After another bogey from Biancalana on the par-4 14th, Platt found himself in the solo lead for a brief time.
However, after finding the par-5 15th green under regulation, Biancalana once again turned up the heat by birdieing both the 15th and 16th holes to take a one-stroke lead over Platt with two holes to play. Biancalana then stuck his tee shot on the 160-yard par-3 17th hole to all but lock up the championship. As he made his way to the 18th tee, however, Biancalana had no clue where he stood in the championship.
“I had no idea what was happening,” said Biancalana. “There weren’t too many shots where I would have changed my strategy, until 18. I got on the phone and called the pro shop to see where I stood which helped me dictate my strategy on the 18th.”
A par on 18 solidified the championship, with Biancalana securing his third career Illinois Super Senior Open championship.
“The course was in great shape,” said Biancalana. “The greens were the best I’ve ever seen them, and everything else was in great shape.”
Pine Meadow Golf Club was once again the host of the two-day championship. Host Professional Dennis Johnsen, PGA, who founded the tournament in 2011, was also in the field; finishing in a tie for 14th.
The Illinois PGA would like to thank the long-standing partners of the Illinois Open’s series: Titos Handmade Vodka and Illinois Bone and Joint Institute.
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The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 840 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is one of the 41 regional Sections that comprise the PGA of America. The Illinois PGA Foundation focuses its community efforts on promoting the goodwill and growth of the game with an emphasis on activities that benefit youth. Foundation initiatives include: GolfWorks Illinois, Youth-based Scholarship Funds and the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. For more information about the Illinois PGA and the Illinois PGA Foundation, please visit www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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Illinois PGA Communications