ELGIN, Ill. – September 18, 2020 – Host PGA Professional Jonathan Duppler won the 2020 Illinois PGA Match Play Championship at Elgin Country Club on Friday, September 18, 2020. Duppler’s Match Play win marks his first career Illinois PGA Major Championship victory.
“This is special. The whole week was fantastic,” said Duppler. “The weather was great, the golf course was in great shape. The Illinois PGA staff was awesome. Everything just came together for me. Before the week started, I was feeling good. I had shoulder surgery in March, and I was finally feeling healed up. I didn’t play great at the Section Championship. I was kind of testing the shoulder out there and I got through that test. I came back here to my home course ready to play and it was fantastic.”
A tough week of four matches ended with Duppler facing off with defending back-to-back Match Play Champion Garrett Chaussard, the Director of Instruction at Skokie Country Club, who was looking to become the third Illinois PGA professional to three-peat at this event.
Duppler, who has worked at Elgin CC since 2006 and served as head PGA Professional since 2010, got off to a hot start in the championship match eagling the par-5 first hole. He parred the next four holes to get out to a quick 3-up lead. He would never let that lead go. He made bogey on the par-5 8th hole to drop to 2-up, but birdied the 9th to get back to 3-up.
Although the back nine featured more back-and-forth, Duppler never relinquished the lead. Chaussard won the 10th hole with a birdie, but Duppler answered with a birdie of his own on 11, getting back to 3-up. Chaussard then answered on the 12th hole bringing the match back to 2-up in favor of Duppler. After tying on the 13th hole, Duppler made his second eagle of the round on the par-5 14th hole and went 3-up with four holes to play. Chaussard, however, would not go down easy and made another birdie on the par-4 15th hole. Duppler carried a 2-up lead into the final three holes of play and secured his first ever Illinois PGA Major Championship victory with a par on the par-3 16th hole, and won the match 3 and 2.
“I think the local knowledge was huge this week,” said Duppler. “I was just watching some of the guys in my group on Tuesday that have never played the course before and I wished I could’ve told them not to hit some of the shots they did to avoid making mistakes. It’s a unique piece property. I’m happy to be here and happy to get the win.”
The week started with Duppler earning the 11 seed following an even-par 72 in the stroke play qualifying round on Tuesday. The top 18 seeds received byes in the Round of 64. Duppler’s first match was against Bill Sakas (Glencoe Golf Club) in the Round of 32. He defeated Sakas 4 and 2 after falling behind early in the match. Duppler went on to face Cam Beeler (GOLFTEC-Halsted Row) in the Round of 16. Duppler defeated Beeler 5 and 3 in a match that he never trailed in.
Duppler faced Jeff Kellen (Butler National Golf Club) in the Round of 8. He led early on in the Elite 8 matchup, making the turn 1-up on Kellen. Kellen started the back nine with a birdie to tie the match. A Duppler double bogey on the par-4 13th hole brought the match to 1-up in favor of Kellen, and Duppler found himself trailing in a match for the first time since the Round of 32.
Both players made birdie on the 14th hole and parred the 15th and 16th holes. Duppler entered the final two holes 1-down. A birdie on the par-4 17th hole brought Duppler back to all square in the match. He closed the round out with a par on the 18th hole to advance to the Semi-Finals.
Duppler faced Travis Johns (Medinah Country Club) in the Semi-Finals. He fell behind early in the match, dropping two of the first four holes. He and Johns tied the remaining five holes and turned with Johns leading 2-up. Duppler got hot on the back nine birdieing the 10th and 11th holes to win both holes and tie the match. He made par on the 13th hole to win his third straight hole and take a 1-up lead. Johns made birdie on the 14th hole to bring the match back to all square. Wins on 15 and 16 gave Duppler a 2-up lead with two holes to play. Johns, however, extended the match with a birdie on the 17th hole after driving the par-4 green. Duppler held a 1-up lead on the 18th tee and made par to win the match 2-up to advance to the Championship Match, which he would go onto win.
“The whole route I faced this week was fantastic. I faced some really good golfers,” said Duppler. “Jeff Kellen, oh my gosh, he can really hit it. Same thing with Travis, I mean Travis is Travis. And then Garrett doesn’t miss. Garrett is a great player. You can’t give him anything. You have to play solid. I just closed my eyes in that final match and three hours later I was hoisting the trophy. It hasn’t really sunk in yet, I’m just really happy I could get it done.”
The Illinois PGA Match Play Championship, sponsored by Harris Golf Cars, marked the end of the 2020 Illinois PGA open division regular season. The field has now been set for the Illinois PGA Players Championship, which will feature the top 35 players on the Illinois PGA Bernardi Player of the Year list. The Illinois PGA Players Championship will take place Monday-Tuesday, October 5-6 at Conway Farms Golf Club.
About the Illinois PGA/Illinois PGA Foundation
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.www.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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