GLENVIEW, Ill. – October 22, 2015 – In one of the closest player of the year races in Illinois PGA history, Brian Brodell edged out Jim Billiter to capture the 2015 Illinois PGA Player of the Year award. Brodell secured the title after finishing tied for third in the final major on the Illinois PGA calendar – The Illinois PGA Players Championship held at Eagle Ridge Resort in Galena, Ill. Also recognized are Brian Carroll as the Illinois PGA Assistant Player of the Year and Jim Sobb as the Senior Player of the Year. All three will be honored at the Illinois PGA Special Awards Ceremony on Thursday, October 22, at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.
“After finishing in the top three the previous three seasons in the player of the year race in the Indiana PGA, it means so much to me to finally win this award,” said Brodell. “My father (Bill) won three player of the year awards during his time in the Wisconsin PGA so I have some work to do to catch him but I’m extremely honored to be recognized by the Illinois PGA as the Player of the Year.”
Brodell, 33, PGA teaching professional at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, Ill., began his season with a top 25 finish in the opening stroke play event held at Bloomington (Ill.) Country Club. He followed that up with a runner-up finish in the 64th Illinois PGA Match Play Championship, where he lost to champion Billiter in 21 holes in the final match.
After a top 15 finish in the second Illinois PGA stroke play event, Brodell finished tied for 12th in the 66th Illinois Open Championship – the year’s second major. Brodell headed into the final three events of the season – two stroke plays and the Illinois Players Championship – needing strong finishes in order to pass Billiter, 29, who won two Illinois PGA majors in 2015. Brodell finished tied for third, tied for seventh and tied for third, earning enough points to pass Billiter and win player of the year honors by 28.33 points. Billiter didn’t play in the final event due to a scheduling conflict.
Born and raised in Appleton, Wis., Brodell graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Political Science, where he was a member of the golf team all four years. Following graduation, he served as the assistant men's golf coach at Wisconsin (2007-2011) before moving on to Purdue University in the same position for four seasons (2011-2014).
Brodell was the 1999 Wisconsin Junior Player of the Year, 2000 Wisconsin High School Player of the Year and 2003 Wisconsin State Amateur champion. The Player of the Year honor is Brodell’s first award in the Illinois PGA.
In the race for the Illinois PGA Assistant Player of the Year award, Carroll took the points lead early in the 2015 Illinois PGA season and remained consistent throughout.
Carroll, 32, PGA apprentice at Royal Hawk Country Club in St. Charles, Ill., began his season with a top five finish in the Bloomington (Ill.) Country Club Classic before winning the opening assistant stroke play event at Bull Valley G.C. in Woodstock, Ill. He followed that up with a top 10 finish in the next Illinois PGA stroke play at Itasca C.C. and won Assistant Stroke Play #2 held at Cress Creek C.C. in Naperville, Ill.
In four of the final five events, Carroll finished no lower than tied for eighth, including a tie for third in the season-ending Illinois PGA Players Championship. He also won the season-long Assistant Match Play Championship.
Carroll won the award by 570.17 points over Chris Green from Indian Hill Club. In 2014, Carroll finished second to eventual Assistant Player of the Year, Mick Smith, by only 65.09 points. The Assistant Player of the Year honor is Carroll’s first award in the Illinois PGA.
Carroll graduated from The George Washington University in 2006 with a degree in Finance and Sport & Event Management. Among his many honors, Carroll was a two-time NCAA Academic All-American, a National Finalist for the 2006 GCAA Byron Nelson Award, 2005 Atlantic 10 Student Athlete of the Year, three-time Atlantic 10 Academic All-Conference, and three-year captain and MVP.
Carroll and his wife, Mary, live in Crystal Lake, Ill., and are the parents of a son, Charlie.
The Illinois PGA Senior Player of the Year race was a three-way battle for the majority of the season between Sobb, Doug Bauman and Mike Harrigan, with Sobb taking the lead for good after finishing tied for second in the 2015 Illinois Senior Open Championship.
Sobb, 60, PGA director of golf at Ivanhoe Club in Mundelein, Ill., finished tied for second in the opening senior stroke play event of the season. In the first senior major of the season, the Senior Match Play Championship, Sobb finished as the runner-up to Doug Bauman, falling 1-up in their back and forth final match held at Shoreacres.
After a couple strong finishes in the next two senior stroke play events, Sobb posted his first victory of the season by winning the Illinois PGA Senior Championship/PNC in a playoff over Bauman. Sobb posted rounds of 69-73 (-2) and won the three-hole playoff 13 to 14. The victory was Sobb’s ninth career Illinois PGA senior major title.
Following the tie for second in the Illinois Senior Open, Sobb won the Senior Classic Championship at Biltmore C.C., posting the only round under par on a day with difficult weather conditions. Following the victory, Sobb had mathematically earned enough points to secure the 2015 Illinois PGA Senior Player of the Year title before the season’s final event – The Senior Players Championship.
Sobb, a Palatine native and two-time Division II All-America recipient at Western Illinois, has compiled one of the better playing records among current Illinois PGA Professionals. He’s won three Illinois PGA Championships (1995-99-2000), and four Illinois Match Play titles (1990-93-95-2011). In the latter year, he also won the Illinois Senior Match Play, becoming the only player to sweep both match play crowns in the same year.
He’s played in the Radix Cup 22 times, more than any other professional, and second only to Joel Hirsch’s 23 appearances, with a record of 13-5-4. A two-time winner of Illinois PGA Golf Professional of the Year (1995-2000), he also collected the Bill Strausbaugh Award for service to his fellow Professionals in 2012.
On October 23, Sobb will be inducted in the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.
The Illinois PGA Senior Player of the Year honor is Sobb’s sixth in his 10 years on the Illinois PGA senior circuit. His margin of victory this season was 364.65 over Bauman and 461.32 over Harrigan.
Sobb and his wife, Tina, live in Barrington, Ill., and are the parents of a son, Ryan, and a daughter, Abbey.
The Illinois PGA
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 830 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is the 12th largest of the 41 regional entities or “Sections” that comprise the PGA of America.