WOODSTOCK, Ill. – May 13, 2021 – Jim Billiter (Ivanhoe Club) came back from 4-down in the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship Match to win his third Illinois PGA Match Play title (2015, 2017, 2021). Billiter becomes just the eighth person in Illinois PGA history to win the Match Play Championship three times. Bull Valley Golf Club played host to the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship for the first time since 2005.
“This is always a fun week,” said Billiter. “You play one-on-one, and you get to meet new guys and catch up with some of the guys you don’t always see. I played against some great guys earlier in the week and I was lucky to sneak by guys like Chris French and David Paeglow. This Section has a lot of great players. I’m just fortunate to have played well enough to get by these guys.”
Billiter faced Garrett Chaussard (Skokie Country Club) in the Championship Match. Chaussard, who made his fourth straight appearance in the Match Play Championship, won three of the first four holes to go 3-up. Chaussard made par on the seventh hole to take a 4-up lead. Billiter would go on to birdie six of the last 10 holes, winning six of the last nine holes.
Both Chaussard and Billiter stuck shots within five feet on the par-3 eighth hole and tied with birdies. On the ninth hole, Billiter wedged his approach shot to eight feet and made his second straight birdie to win his first hole of the match and cut into Chaussard’s lead. Chaussard made the turn 3-up.
Carrying over momentum from the previous holes, Billiter made a 30-foot putt on the par-4 10th hole to card his third straight birdie and trailed Chaussard by two with eight holes to play. Both players would par the 11th hole and Chaussard remained 2-up.
The par-4 12th hole was playing about 290-yards on the final day of the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship. Billiter, who drove the green in the Semifinals earlier in the day, went for it again off the tee. His drive cleared the water but rolled back into the fescue. Meanwhile, Chaussard had hit his drive out of bounds on the left-hand side. Billiter was able to hack his ball out of the fescue to get up and down for birdie and trim Chaussard’s lead to one.
After pars on the 13th hole, Billiter got up and down again for par on the 14th hole to tie the match. After driving his ball into the trees on the par-5 15th, Billiter stuck his third shot inside five feet and made birdie to take his first lead in the match with just three holes to play.
Pars on the par-3 16th left Billiter 1-up with two holes to play. He hit the par-5 17th green in two and would two-putt for birdie to secure his third Illinois PGA Match Play Championship title.
“I want to congratulate Garrett Chaussard,” said Billiter. "Making four finals in a row is incredible. He’s a heck of an opponent and a great player. If you make bogey, he's going to beat you. I started down four. I figured I needed to make some birdies to win some holes. I didn’t start great, and even if I made bogey on the ones I doubled I still would’ve lost. I birdied six of my last 10, which is not normal for me, but I was making some putts and hitting good shots. I made Garrett press a little bit, which is usually what he does in this event. So, it was good to make him work hard. He’s an amazing player and I was really lucky to get past him and all the guys I played against.”
Billiter started his week finishing fourth in the qualifying round after carding a 1-over-par 73 on Monday. His performance earned him the fifth seed in the Illinois PGA Match Play Championship. In the Round of 64, Billiter defeated 60th seeded Nick Murn, 5 and 3. He would go on to defeat 28th seeded Mike Kinasiewicz, 5 and 3 in the Round of 32 later that afternoon.
On Wednesday, Billiter defeated 16th seeded Andrew Adamsick, 5 and 4, in the Round of 16. He faced 29th seeded Chris French in the Quarterfinals in the afternoon and defeated him 1-up with a par on the 18th hole to secure the match. Billiter’s Quarterfinal match marked his first match of the week that made it past the 15th hole.
Billiter took on David Paeglow in his Semi-Final Match. He got off to a great start winning two of the first three holes taking a 2-up lead and never relinquished his lead. Despite some back-and-forth, Billiter remained 1-up through holes 11-16 and closed out the match with a birdie on the par-5 17th hole to advance to the Finals.
The 2021 Illinois PGA Match Play marked the first of four Majors on the Illinois PGA schedule. Billiter’s victory marked his fourth career Illinois PGA Major Championship.
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