Neither wind, nor rain or cold could slow down Kewanee’s Tom Miler, who won his third CDGA Senior Amateur Championship on Thursday at Elgin Country Club, defeating defending CDGA Player of the Year Dave Ryan of Taylorville in the championship match, 6 and 4. For Miler, representing Kewanee Dunes, it was a record third title in six tries (no one else has won more than once in the 12-year history of the event), and his second consecutive CDGA Senior win.
“I played very well all week, except for some problems on the back nine on Monday,” Miler said following the victory. “Conditions were tough today, but the course was set up well and the grounds crew did well to get it in shape this morning.”
The championship match between Miler and Ryan—a rematch of last year’s thrilling final won 1 up by Miler—teed off with temperatures in the upper 40s and a light rain, with winds gusting at more than 20 miles per hour at times. Both finalists tallied par on the first three holes and a bogey on the fourth, before Miler took the lead by draining a 25-foot birdie putt at the par-4 fifth. After a great up and down by Ryan to save par and halve the hole at the sixth, Miler knocked down another birdie putt, this one from 30 feet, at the seventh to go up 2. On the eighth, Ryan found the trees on the right side of the fairway, while Miler worked his way down the fairway to take the hole.
After pars at the ninth, the match made the turn with Miler 3 up. After halving the 10th, Miler won the 11th and 12th holes to go 5 up, then closed out the victory by winning the 14th.
“With the weather, it was hard to get anything going, tough to make birdies,” Miler added. “I just tried to stay out of trouble and have a chance for par on every hole. The rough was thick, so I tried to keep it in the short stuff to make it easier.”
The victory gives Miler an early season lead in the CDGA Senior Player of the Year point standings—an award Ryan has won in three of the past four seasons.