SMALL LEADS IPGA SECTION CHAMPIONSHIP, WEATHER DELAYS HAMPER ROUND 1

SR_PPNC_KDSC02982 Stonewall Orchard Clubhouse DS

MIKE SMALL LEADS RAIN HAMPERED IPGA SECTION CHAMPIONSHIP. ROUND 1 NOT COMPLETE AFTER TWO MAJOR WEATHER DELAYS.

(Reporting from Grayslake IL.)

DSC01300 Mike Small with trophy at OFCC DS

Mike Small is in position to win his 11th IPGA Section Championship.

Just like the movie,” It seems like Old Times” the Illinois PGA Section Championship is playing the way it has before.

10 time winner and defending champion Mike Small, holds a 1 shot lead over Mike Haase with the first round not yet completed.

Weather fronts rolled into Stonewall Orchard Golf Club on two occasions, causing a pair of 80 minute rain delays. Heavy lighting was circling the area most of the day.

10 players did not complete their first round because of darkness. One of those players, Adam Schumacher an assistant at Indian Hill Golf Club is tied with Small at 5 under par. Schumacher had only competed 16 holes, when played was stopped at 7:55 PM. But turned in his card without recording his score on the 16th hole, so he is 5 under par through 15 holes.

First round play will resume at 7 AM. Second round tee times will be delayed until 8 AM.

Small was on 13 when the first delay hit, he added birdies on 16 and 18 after the first restart to finish at 5 under par.

” I made a commitment to come in play mentally tougher,” said Small. Who said he spoke with motivational expert Jim Fannin in the last week. Small said this about his play from earlier in the summer, ” if I was coaching me, I would have benched myself.” Small the head golf coach at the University of Illinois should be glad he didn’t have to make that decision.

Haase in the group behind Small go to five under par before the first rain delay, but then could only manage to finish the final 6 holes in one over par. Haase is a teaching professional at the Golf Academy at Terra Cotta.

Steve Orrick the head professional at the Country Club of Decatur, who won the title the last time the championship was played at Stonewall Orchard in 2012, was in the hunt just two shots back. Orrick said he is “now getting comfortable over the ball” as he implements a couple of swing changes.

Joining Orrick at three under par were John Varner head professional at Beverly Country Club and Bret Leon an assistant professional at Skokie.

2011 champion Frank Hohenadel and current IPGA player of the year points leader Travis Johns, and Conway Farms assistant Matt Slowinski were in at 2 under par 70’s. Curtis Malm the current IPGA Match Play Champion was at 1 under par. Two-time past section champion Jim Sobb shot even par.

After the first two delays the rain did return shortly after the final restart that was at 5 PM, but this time the players played through the rain drops. 12 players did not complete their first round.

The yardage for the day was listed at 6,876, but was playing longer after the first two delays.

Click here to hear interviews with Mike Small, Steve Orrick and Mike Haase.

The Gog Blog will have coverage of rounds 2 and 3.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.