Golf: Carlos Sainz Jr. in hunt after first round at Illinois Open
By Rick Armstrong firstname.lastname@example.org July 16, 2012 10:02PM
Carlos Sainz Jr. of Elgin tees off Monday during the Illinois Open at the Glen Club in Glenview. | Brian Powers~Sun-Times Media
63RD ILLINOIS OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP
The Glen Club, Glenview
7,208 yards, par 72
1. Travis Johns, Oswego 66 -6
2. Max Scodro, Chicago 67 -5
T3. Eric Meierdierks, Wilmette 68 - 4
T3. Philip Arouca, Wilmette 68 - 4
Carlos Sainz Jr., Elgin 70 -2
Wes Apple (a), St. Charles 72 E
Eric Winters (a), Elgin 72 E
Michael Sainz (a), Elgin 73 +1
Scott Cahill (a), Algonquin 73 +1
Jonathan Parsons, Bartlett 74 +2
Dan Scardina, Bartlett 74 +2
Drew Chuipek, Algonquin 76 +4
Jordan Wetsch (a) St. Charles 76 +4
Mike Picciano, Carpentersville 77 +5
Josh Kopka (a), Carpentersville 79 +7
Michael Holevas, Elgin 82 +10
Updated: August 18, 2012 6:08AM
Now that he’s teaching at two area golf facilities, Travis Johns hasn’t had much time to devote to playing lately. It didn’t look like it Monday.
The Australian pro who lives in Oswego shot 6-under par 66 at The Glen Club to take a one-stroke first-round lead over Notre Dame All-America Max Scodro of Chicago at the 63rd Illinois Open Championship.
“I haven’t played much at all. It seems like all I’m doing is driving in a car, teaching and driving again,” said Johns, who teaches at both Glencoe Golf Club and Twin Lakes in Palatine.
“I was figuring I was just gonna try and not overpower anything, put it in the fairway and on the greens and make some putts because the greens are good, even though we’ve had a lot of heat.”
The heat will be on again Tuesday and IPGA officials announced that players will be allowed to wear shorts.
Scodro, who opened on the back nine, was 5-under at the turn and didn’t have a bogey until his 13th (No. 4) hole. He finished the front nine at even with two bogeys and two birdies.
“If you hit it good and are on the right side of the hole, you can make a lot of birdies like I did on my front nine,” he said.
Philip Arouca (2011) and Eric Meierdierks (2010), who won the event the past two years when it was held at Hawthorn Woods Country Club, are tied for third at 4-under 68.
“Hawthorn Woods, I used to call it Hawthorn Willies because it gave me the willies,” said Johns, who was seventh in this event in 2011. “There’s so much trouble out there and I like to find it.”
Three players tied for fifth at 3-under 69 include Aurora collegian Thomas O’Bryan (Wisconsin) and Aurora native and University of Illinois coach Mike Small, who is seeking his fifth win in the event. Brett Tomfohrde, an amateur from Hinsdale, is also in the group.
The 156-man field will be cut to the top 50 after today’s second round.
Carlos Sainz Jr. led Elgin area competitors, shooting 2-under par 70. He is tied for eighth, the same position he finished last year.
“I played pretty good all day with the exception of a couple squirrelly shots,” said Sainz Jr., who was paired with tourney leader Travis Johns and Matt Slowinski.
“We all finished under par and kind of fed off each other.”
And even though he sank a 35-footer for a birdie on the par 5, 559-yard opening hole, Sainz Jr. said he didn’t “putt all that well. I had 31 putts but still felt pretty good. They were rolling good.”
He also birdied the third hole and then parred the rest of the front nine. He got to 4-under through 13 but had bogeys on 16 and 18.
Younger brother Michael Sainz was in the next group and started strong. He was 3-under through five holes but had a quadruple bogey 8 on the par-4 seventh and finished even par the rest of the way with one birdie and one bogey on the back nine.
Amateurs Eric Winters of Elgin and Wes Apple of St. Charles were both at even par 72 while Algonquin amateur Scott Cahil joined Michael Sainz at 1-over.