BARRINGTON, Ill. – August 22, 2022 – Kyle Donovan (Oak Park Country Club) and Jeff Kellen (Butler National Golf Club) are tied atop the leaderboard after round one of the Nadler Golf Cars Illinois PGA Professional Championship at Makray Memorial Golf Club. Both players carded 3-under-par 68s on Monday.
Donovan was the leader in the clubhouse following the morning wave. He started his round on the back nine and went bogey-free carding three birdies. He made back-to-back birdies on holes 15 and 16. He finished his front side with a birdie on the par-5 18th hole to shoot 3-under-par 33.
Donovan made his first bogey of the day on the par-4 first hole to fall back to 2-under-par. He went on to par the next four holes before getting back to 3-under-par with a birdie on the par-5 sixth hole and regained the lead. Donovan dropped back to 2-under-par one hole later before making his fifth birdie of the day on the eighth hole to finish at 3-under-par 68 in his first career Section Championship round.
“I felt like I hit the ball well all day today,” said Donovan. “Makray is definitely a tough test. I hit all the pars 5s in regulation and was putting for three on all of them so that helped today. I just kept the ball in play and tried to stay below the hole and just made sure to not put myself somewhere that I wouldn’t be able to get up and down from. You just have to manage your expectations out here. Everyone is going to make a bogey here and there. If you can just keep the ball in front of you and not compound your mistakes you should be in good shape.”
Kellen had an up-and-down first round. In total, Kellen made four birdies, two eagles, three bogeys, and a double bogey. He came out of the gates hot, making birdie on his first hole of the day but gave the stroke back on the very next hole. His first eagle of the day came on the par-5 15th hole and got him to 2-under-par and one shot off the lead at the time. He made bogey on the 16th hole but made back-to-back birdies on the 17th and 18th holes to turn in a share for the lead at 3-under-par 33.
The rollercoaster continued on Kellen’s back nine, as he made double bogey on the first hole and bogey on the second hole to fall back to even par. The par-4 third hole was playing 330 yards today. Kellen pulled driver and drove the green leaving himself about eight feet for eagle. He poured in the putt to get back to 2-under-par. The eagle on three seemed to settle Kellen down as he made five pars and a birdie to close out his round and shoot 3-under-par 68.
“It was an up and down day,” said Kellen. “I got off to a good start with a birdie on 10. I made a nice 10-footer. Then I made a mess of 11 and made bogey before a pretty wild stretch from 15 to 18 and that continued into the front nine. I calmed down after the eagle on three, but it was just nice to put a good round together. I haven’t played very well the last couple of years, so it was fun to get something going.”
Brian Carroll (The Hawk Country Club) and Roy Biancalana (Blackberry Oaks Country Club) are tied for third place after carding 2-under-par 69s in round one. Carroll was in the second group out this morning and was the early leader at one point in today’s round. After a bogey on the 11th hole, Carroll made birdie on the 12th hole and made back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to turn at 2-under-par 34.
A bogey on the par-3 fourth hole dropped Carroll back to 1-under-par. He closed his round out with birdies on six and eight but also bogeyed the seventh hole to finish at 2-under-par 69.
“I’m very happy with how I played today. I hit it really well,” said Carroll. “I think I hit 15 greens today and 11 fairways. So, the ball striking was there. I hit a few good putts, but the course is tough. If you hit it in the wrong spot, it’s almost an automatic bogey if not worse. I hope to keep doing what I did today and put myself in a good position after tomorrow going into the last round.”
Biancalana, who is fresh off his first career Illinois Senior PGA Professional Championship win, carded three birdies and one bogey in his first round. Starting the Championship on the front nine, Biancalana stayed patient making seven straight pars before getting his first birdie to go down on the eighth hole. Biancalana got to 2-under-par with a birdie on the 10th hole but followed it up with his first bogey of the day on the 11th hole. He hit his second shot on the par-5 18th hole into the greenside bunker and was able to get up and down for birdie to finish the day at 2-under-par 69.
Three players are tied for fifth place at 1-under-par following round one. Included in this group is 13-time Illinois PGA Professional Champion, Mike Small (University of Illinois), and the 2021 Champion, Andy Mickelson (Mistwood Golf Club).
Small started his Championship on the back nine. He carded a bogey-free back side with two birdies to make the turn at 2-under-par and one shot off the lead. He then bogeyed two of the first four holes on the front nine to drop back to even-par. A birdie on the par-5 sixth hole got Small back in the red numbers and he finished his round with three pars.
Mickelson found himself in the lead several times throughout the first round. He also started his Championship on the back nine. He carded a bogey-free back side and made back-to-back birdies on the 14th and 15th holes to turn at 2-under-par and one shot off the lead. He then jumped into a tie for the lead with a birdie on the first hole. Mickelson dropped back to 2-under-par on the second hole before finding himself back in a tie for the lead after a birdie on the eighth hole. He finished the day with a double bogey to fall back to 1-under-par.
2015 Illinois PGA Professional Champion, Jim Billiter (Ivanhoe Club), Garrett Chaussard (Skokie Country Club), Matt Rion (Briarwood Country Club), and Curtis Malm (White Eagle Golf Club) are all tied for eighth place after carding rounds of even-par 71 and round out the top-10 heading into round two.
Following the conclusion of the second round, the field will be cut to the low 60 players and ties. The nine finishers (and Small) will qualify for the 2023 PGA Professional Championship.
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Illinois PGA Communications