FLOSSMOOR, Ill. – August 2, 2023 – 54-holes just wasn’t enough at the 74th Illinois Open Championship as Vince India (Chicago, Ill.) and Dylan Meyer (Evansville, Ind.) wound up tied at 8-under-par on Wednesday afternoon at Flossmoor Golf Club. A three-hole aggregate playoff ensued, the first of its kind since 2012, and India prevailed with a birdie on the third playoff hole to capture his second Illinois Open Championship.
“I had to be really smart about where I hit my shots today,” said India. “They did a great job setting up the course this week. For the most part, I played carefully, but I rolled the ball really well. My putter kind of bailed me out this week.”
A back-and-forth day between India and Meyer ended up needing more holes. Entering the 36th hole of the Championship, India trailed Meyer by one stroke. The par-5 18th hole played as one of the easiest holes of the week at the Illinois Open and both players were looking to capitalize. India left his second shot just off the right side of the green, while Meyer left his second shot short of the green. Meyer chipped his third shot to about 12 feet. India then played his third shot. He putted the ball through the fringe and just missed the eagle putt, but tapped in for birdie to tie Meyer at 8-under-par. With a chance to win the Championship outright, Meyer left his birdie chance short and settled for par. The players then retreated to the 16th hole for the three-hole playoff and processed to play the 16th, 17th, and 18th holes.
India had the honor in the playoff. He hit his tee shot on the 16th hole into the right fairway bunker. Meyer striped his drive right down the center of the fairway. Both players hit the green with their second shots and ended up in similar spots on the green. India was away and left himself a tap-in par. Meyer then had the opportunity to tilt the playoff in his favor but missed his birdie putt and the players remained tied heading to the second playoff hole.
The par-4 17th hole played at 475 yards into the wind during the final round of the Illinois Open. It was India that striped his drive this time around, while Meyer hit his drive into the right rough. From the middle of the fairway, India pushed his second shot right of the green and ended up next to the greenside tree. Meyer had a difficult shot from the right rough and hit a hybrid over the back of the green. India was away on his third shot. Facing a very difficult up and down, India did his best to hold the green, but his chip ran off the back of the green. Meyer then put the pressure on India as he chipped his third shot to about four feet. Staring a double bogey in the eyes, India made a clutch putt to save bogey and put the pressure back on Meyer. Meyer was unable to convert his par putt and the players moved to the third playoff hole still tied.
India again had the honor on the 18th hole. Having made birdie on this hole twice already in the week, India hit a perfect drive, drawing it off the right fairway bunker into the middle of the fairway. Meyer’s tee shot found the left rough, and his ball nestled down in the rough behind a tree. Meyer tried to hit what he called “the hero” shot and went for the green. His lie made the shot more difficult, and Meyer ended up in the right greenside bunker. With the scales tilted slightly in his favor, India attacked the 18th green again and left himself about 16 feet for eagle. India hit a great lag putt, leaving himself a tap-in birdie to secure his second Illinois Open Championship and become just the 15th player in the event’s 74-year history to win multiple times.
“It feels great to be a two-time champion,” said India. “This is a sport full of losing and I haven’t won anything in a long time. So, this is pretty awesome.”
India carded a 2-under-par 70 in the final round to finish the Championship at 8-under-par 208. Meyer recorded a 1-under-par 71 on day three and also finished at 8-under-par 208.
Quinn Clifford (a) (Chicago, Ill.) won the Low Amateur Award after a 1-under-par 71 in the final round. Clifford finished T3 for the Championship at 6-under-par 210. He started the day tied for fourth place and just one stroke off the lead. His final round was derailed by a stretch of bogeys on the front nine. After back-to-back bogeys on holes three and four, Clifford double-bogeyed the fifth hole. As the top of the leaderboard started to create more space between the rest of the field, Clifford started to battle back. He recorded three birdies on his first four holes on the back nine and capped off a great week by holing out his bunker shot on the 18th hole for an eagle. Clifford finished the week with just one bogey on the back nine and two eagles.
“I had a lot fun this week,” said Clifford. “I came in with low expectations, which I’ve learned is the right way to approach golf. The course was phenomenal. Special thanks to Flossmoor for hosting and the Illinois PGA for running the event. It was a wonderful event. I don’t have a lot of words right now. I just had a great time.”
Defending Champion, David Perkins (East Peoria, Ill.), and Luke Gannon rounded out the top five of the 74th Illinois Open Championship and ended the week tied for third place along with Clifford.
Perkins carded the second-lowest round of the day to climb up eight spots on the leaderboard. Highlighted by seven birdies, Perkins closed in on the leaders with a final-round score of 4-under-par 68.
“I kind of needed a good week. It’s been an up-and-down summer,” said Perkins. “The course was set up very hard this week. You had to make sure you hit the right spots. I thought the Illinois PGA did a great job setting the course up again this week. I was proud of the way I played today. I just stuck it out and was able to get some putts in the hole.”
Gannon started the day tied for the lead at 6-under-par. Multiple times throughout the round, it looked as if Gannon would break through and capture his first Illinois Open Championship. He birdied the first two holes and took sole possession of the lead. Battling against India and Meyer he was in a two-way tie for the lead through 10 holes. He then took sole possession of the lead back with a birdie on the 12th hole. Gannon had a one-stroke lead with six holes to play, but a string of bogeys on holes 14, 15, and 16 ended Gannon’s bid to take home the hardware. Gannon finished the day at even-par for a tournament total of 6-under-par 210.
Varun Chopra (Champaign, Ill.) carded the lowest round of the day with a 5-under-par 67. His final round moved him up 10 spots to finish T6 with a tournament total of 5-under-par 211.
Kyle Donovan, PGA (Chicago, Ill.) and Mike Small, PGA (Champaign, Ill.) tied for 13th place and were the low Illinois PGA Professionals at the 74th Illinois Open Championship. Donovan carded rounds of 71, 72, and 72 for a tournament total of 1-under-par 215 for his best finish at an Illinois Open. Small carded rounds of 69, 70, and 76 for a tournament total of 1-under-par 215.
The Illinois PGA would like to thank supporting sponsors of the 74th Illinois Open, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, Illinois Bone and Joint Institute, and Strackaline for their support of this event, and Flossmoor Golf Club and its staff for hosting the event in 2023.
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Illinois PGA Communications