HINSDALE, Ill. – October 17, 2023 – Dave Hannon (Links and Tees) won the 2023 Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship at Ruth Lake Country Club on Tuesday, October 17. Hannon came from two strokes behind to secure his second Senior Division victory of the season.
“The round started off great. I hit a lot of good shots,” said Hannon. “I made a couple of birdies early, which offset some of the bogeys later. I was just trying to hit quality shots, which I was able to do down the stretch. The conditions were a little bit better today, which made it fun to play out there.”
Low temperatures and high winds resulted in a tough day on Monday afternoon for the first round of the Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship. Danny Mulhearn (Glen Oak Country Club) held the 18-hole lead after round one, carding an even-par 71. Hannon recorded a 2-over-par 73 in round one and was paired with Mulhearn for the final round.
The final round featured much better playing conditions for the field. Hannon was chasing Mulhearn for the Championship, but it wouldn’t take long for him to close Mulhearn’s gap. Hannon made a nice par on the par-5 second hole to remain at 2-over-par for the Championship, while Mulhearn made a double-bogey to fall out of the lead and into a tie with Hannon. Hannon then capitalized on a great tee shot on the very next hole. He rattled his tee shot on the par-3 third hole off the flag stick and had a tap-in birdie to take the lead at the Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship.
The third hole seemed to be the turning point for Hannon, who then went on to birdie the fifth hole and the seventh hole. He made the turn leading the Championship with just nine holes to play.
The leaderboard began to tighten up as the players made the turn. Hannon made bogeys on the 10th hole and the 14th hole to open the door to the groups in front of him.
Billy Rosina (Flagg Creek Golf Course), who was in the penultimate group carded a bogey-free front nine with three birdies to join Hannon at even-par for the tournament. At one point on the back nine, he was tied with Hannon for the lead, but a string of bogeys dropped Rosina out of contention and he finished in fourth place with a 3-over-par 145 for the tournament.
Mike Troy (Zigfield Troy Par 3 Golf Course) was also in the penultimate group and made a valiant effort to chase down Hannon. Troy birdied two of his first six holes and made the turn at 2-over-par for the tournament. His birdie on the par-5 15th hole put him in a tie for the lead but he recorded another bogey on the tough 17th hole and was unable to birdie the 18th hole to tie Hannon and force a playoff. Troy finished T2 with a 2-over-par 144.
Last year’s Illinois PGA Senior Players Champion, David Paeglow (Kishwaukee Country Club) carded the low round of the day as he pushed for a repeat victory of this event. Despite being 5-over-par for the Championship with just nine holes to play, Paeglow made the best push to catch Hannon at the top of the leaderboard. Back-to-back birdies on holes 10 and 11 got Paeglow within striking distance of the lead. He then added another birdie on the 14th hole to get to 2-over-par for the tournament. Paeglow had his chances down the stretch to tie the lead, but he missed birdie opportunities on the 16th hole and the 18th hole to finish T2 with a tournament total of 2-over-par 144.
Despite not knowing what the groups ahead of him had finished at, Hannon continued to force the issue and picked up his fourth birdie of the day on the 16th hole to take a one-shot lead. He then made par on the difficult 17th hole, and spun his tee shot back to about 12 feet on the par-3 18th hole. He two-putted for par and secured the Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship for the first time in his career.
“I didn’t know what the other guys were at,” said Hannon. “I just knew that there were a lot of good players nipping at the heels of the lead. I made a nice birdie on 16 and that gave me some more confidence to play the tough 17th hole. I was able to hit some good shots on the last two holes and thank goodness my putter was able to find the cup without throwing the round away. My goal was to not go backwards today and just make as many pars as I could and throw a few birdies in there.”
Roy Biancalana (The Hawk Country Club) finished T5 at the Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship, which was good enough to secure the 2023 Illinois PGA Errie Ball Senior Player of the Year Award. Biancalana has now won this honor in three consecutive years and five times in career. Biancalana appeared in 11 Senior Division/Senior-only events in 2023. He finished inside the top 10 at 10 of these events including victories at the Illinois PGA Senior Match Play, and the Illinois PGA Stroke Play #5. He also had two second place finishes in 2023.
“I think the highlight of the year was the Senior Match Play Championship,” said Biancalana. “I defeated David Paeglow in the Championship Match, and I think that kind of secured the Player of the Year race. Dave is one of my good friends out here, which made for a fun match. It feels good to win the Senior Player of the Year. I’ve done well the last 10 years so that’s exciting.”
The Illinois PGA Senior Players Championship was the final event on the Illinois PGA’s 2023 schedule that was eligible for Player of the Year points. The Illinois PGA will wrap up its season on Wednesday, October 18 at the Illinois PGA Pro-Superintendent at North Shore Country Club.
The Illinois PGA Seniors will now turn their attention to the Senior PGA Professional Championship, which takes place next week, October 26-29 at the PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, Florida.
“A bunch of us Illinois PGA Members are going down to Florida next week,” said Biancalana. “I just want to play solid golf. The minimum goal for me is to finish inside the top 35 to qualify for the Senior PGA Championship. It’s a grind though. It’s a four-day event on the heels of our long season. So, I just want to hit some good shots and see what happens.”
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.ipga.com and join us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram.
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Illinois PGA Communications