BLOOMINGTON – As Champaign’s David Keenan and Chicago’s Larry Blatt met on Tuesday for a total of three playoff holes, Normal’s Matt Specht could only shake his head.
“Very disappointed,” said Specht.
Former Illinois state golfer Ben Murphy couldn’t have said it better.
Keenan and Blatt finished the Illinois State Mid-Amateur Championship with a modest 212 under par for 54 holes as Bloomington Country Club once again showed its teeth at a state event .
Blatt, who closed a three-stroke deficit in the last three holes of regulation, won the playoffs with a birdie par-by-birdie over the nos 16-18. Keenan missed a short birdie putt on the regulation No.18 that could have won the title after Blatt sank an 8-foot birdie putt.
Specht and Murphy, who had a three-stroke lead after shooting 69-67 in the first 36 holes on Monday, had their chances in the tournament for golfers 25 and over. But Specht, who was 2 under after five holes, only managed one more birdie and shot 3 of 74.
Murphy got off to a shaky start, topping 5 points after six holes, but a birdie at par 3 No.8 left him only a few delays. It was as close as possible, shooting 81 to tie Specht and four more for sixth place at 4 of 217.
“Today was a combination of a lot of things. It was tough. The wind is blowing and the greens are very fast,” said Murphy, who lives in Algonquin. “No excuse, though. My game was mostly moody and I missed a lot of putts.
“I still had a chance with five or six holes on the left if I could have made a few birdies. It wasn’t my day today.
Specht was 5 more after his first 13 holes on Monday. He then played the next 28 holes in 6 under to compete for the title with Murphy returning to the field.
However, six bogeys and a single birdie at No.14 the rest of the course shattered Specht’s hopes.
“Today I scratched it there and didn’t hit that well,” said Specht, who played college golf at Bradley. “I didn’t have much of a birdie look and made a few mistakes going in. But if you had told me (before) that I would have a top 10, I would have been super happy.”
Specht would have needed a 69 to qualify for the playoffs.
“I thought my game was good enough to wrestle and knew I would have to pull a number to probably win it, but I just didn’t get my ‘A’ game today,” he said. .
Mike Henry of Bloomington, who was just four behind early in the round, struggled at 79-219 to tie for 15th. Five-time champion Todd Mitchell of Bloomington shot 73-221 to tie for 18th. The top 20 and the Links got exemptions for next year’s event.
Other Pantagraph area golfers were Jeff Wells of Bloomington (73-224), Brian Zimmerman of Normal (77-227), Tom Kearfott of El Paso (82-228) and 2018 champion Logan Stauffer of Bloomington (76 -229).
Photos: Action ends at State Farm Youth Classic
Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @pg_benson