LAKE FOREST, Ill. – October 6, 2020 – Curtis Malm (White Eagle Golf Club) won the Illinois PGA Players Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club on Tuesday, October 6. Malm battled through windy conditions to hang onto the lead he built in the first round and captured his first Illinois PGA victory of the season by one stroke, carding a tournament total 1-under-par 141.
Malm entered the final round with a two-stroke lead after being the only player under par in round one. Malm carded a 2-under-par 69 in round one, birdieing his last two holes of the day.
“I finished the first round really well. I hit two really good shots into eight and nine to make birdies and finish 2-under. I hit a lot of quality shots the whole day yesterday. Coming into the final round, I didn’t know what was going to happen. I was joking with some guys that I would shoot 80 to 85, but I hit some good shots and some not so good ones and just got it done.”
Six straight pars to start the final round kept Malm in the lead with the field chasing him. He built his lead to four strokes with birdies on the par-4 seventh hole and the par-5 eighth hole. He would drop a stroke at the ninth and make the turn at 3-under-par for the tournament. Tim Streng (Wildcat Golf Academy) and Andy Mickelson (Mistwood Golf Club) made the turn at 1-under-par for the tournament and trailed Malm by just two strokes.
Malm continued his strong play on the difficult back nine at Conway Farms. He got his lead back to three strokes with a birdie on the par-3 11th hole, but gave the stroke back again on the next hole. Streng, who was paired with Malm, tried to make a run at the lead with an eagle on the par-5 14th hole, but Malm would make birdie on that hole as well and remained in the lead by one stroke.
Both players made it interesting down the stretch. After his eagle, Streng would bogey holes 16 and 17 and double bogey the last hole to finish day and the tournament at 1-over-par. Meanwhile, Malm made triple bogey on the par-3 17th hole following a lost ball, and made bogey on the par-5 18th hole to hang onto the win.
“Today was pretty good,” said Malm. “I hit some really good shots. I birdied seven and eight and I thought I was going to really get something going. Then I come back and make some of the worst swings of my life on holes nine and 10 and make bogey on nine and got lucky and chipped in for par on 10. Then I made birdie on 11 and turn around and make bogey on 12. I had an idea where the other guys were. Tim (Streng) played really well and kept it close, but I just did enough to get it done. I didn’t get to play a whole lot this year with how busy we were at the club, but there was more good than bad this week.”
Frank Hohenadel (Mistwood Golf Club) and Chris Green (Glen View Club) tied for second at the Illinois PGA Players Championship. Both players carded even-par 71s in both rounds for a tournament total even-par 142.
Streng finished the tournament in solo fourth place. He registered an even-par 71 in round one and followed up with a 1-over-par 72 in the second round for a tournament total 1-over-par 143.
Brian Carroll (The Hawk Country Club) and Mike Small (University of Illinois) finished in a tie for fifth place with 2-over-par 144s. Carroll carded a 3-over-par 74 in round one and jumped four spots in the final round with a 1-under-par 70. Small carded an even-par 71 in the first round and was in a tie for second entering the final round. He finished the tournament with a 2-over-par 73 in the second round.
Kyle Bauer (Glen View Club) carded the low round of the tournament on Tuesday with a 6-under-par 65. Bauer improved his score by 17-strokes from round one and finished T11.
The Illinois PGA Players Championship marked the final Bernardi Player of the Year points event for the 2020 season. The next event on the Illinois PGA schedule is the Senior Players Championship at Twin Orchard Country Club on Monday and Tuesday, October 12-13.
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