Golf: Ryan Craig ties for ninth at IJGA Junior Amateur
By Paul Johnson For Sun-Times Media July 13, 2012 7:52PM
Ryan Craig of Huntley tied for 14th place at the Class 3A state finals. | Jon Cunningham~For Sun-Times Media
Updated: July 14, 2012 10:35PM
Huntley senior Ryan Craig found himself in a unique position going into Friday’s third and final round of the IJGA-CDGA Junior Amateur Championship at Mill Creek in Geneva.
Craig had never led going into the third day of a three-day tournament, but he came into Friday with a one-stroke lead at 143 overall. Unfortunately, Craig’s third day did not go as well as the first two.
He wound up shooting 77 in the final round for a total of 220, three strokes away from joining the four-way playoff which determined the champion. And it was his final two holes that sealed the deal. He had a double bogey on No. 17 and a bogey on No. 18. Pars on those two holes would have put him at 217 and in the mix for the playoff.
Instead, Craig had to look at the positives of his first two days of stellar play.
“I think I had an off day,” Craig said. “It’s kind of different being in the final group because you’re defending a lead. I was right there. I doubled 17 on a really poor lay-up shot. It happens. I’m pleased with the tournament. I haven’t played this well in a while really, so yeah, I’m pleased with how it turned out.”
St. Charles North senior Dan Shepherd wound up with the same finishing score as Craig, 220, which tied for ninth. Shepherd was steady all week, finishing with a 73 in his final round Friday.
“It’s not bad, I just wanted better,” Shepherd said. “I three-putted three, that was bad. I don’t know. I hit the ball fine for the most part off the tee. I left three or four putts dead in the center just two our three inches short. I had a couple of bad iron shots, but a bunch of good ones, though. It kind of evened out. Based on how I was swinging, I thought I could do a lot better than I did.”
Shepherd, however, chose to focus on his week as a whole. He shot a 75 in the first round, but backed that up with a one-over 72 on Thursday to make the cut. The score to make the cut was a tough 151, and Shepherd topped that by four strokes, putting himself in contention on the tournament’s final day.
“A 151 cut is pretty tough anywhere, but I made the cut, did well,” Shepherd said. “I played the best I could. That’s what I should be happy with. My next tournament is at a course like this (a Chick Evans qualifier July 18 at Winnetka Country Club). I know I can play it. There are so many hazards here that anywhere else is a little easier.”