Dave Ryan of Taylorville posted three of only nine rounds played under par this week--including a final round 70--en route to victory at the 27th Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship. That 70, coupled with a 71 and 70 from his prior two rounds, put the Taylorville native at 5-under par for the 54-hole championship, besting two-time defending champion Tom Miler of Kewanee by eight strokes at Blackstone Golf Club in Marengo.
Ryan virtually led the event from start-to-finish, as one of three golfers posting an opening round of 71. On Tuesday, he scored a workman's 70, with six birdies negating a pair of bogeys and a double bogey, to open up a four stroke lead that was never in danger through Wednesday's final round.
With his second State Senior triumph, Ryan joins some distinguished company as a two-time winner. His first victory came in 2009, his rookie season as a senior. Other two-time champions include Jim Swanson (1989, '93), Lester Sutcliff ('90, '91), Gus Kozina ('97, '99), Rick Ten Broeck (2005, '06), Tom Studer ('07, '08) and Tom Miler ('11, '12).
By finishing second, Miler fell one spot short in his bid to win a third consecutive championship and become the first three-time winner of the Illinois State Senior.
With their 1-2 finish, both Ryan and Miler virtually assured themselves of finishing in the top-4 of the CDGA Senior Player of the Year points for the fifth consecutive year. Ryan won the award three straight years ('09-'11), before finishing third in 2012. Miler finished fourth in 2009 and has been the runner-up in each of the past three seasons. Only the USGA Senior Amateur, beginning this weekend, and the U.S. Mid-Amateur, which Ryan qualified for by earning medalist honors at Onwentsia earlier this month, remain for players to earn points towards the award.
The low 20 golfers earned exemptions from qualifying for the 2014 Illinois State Senior Amateur Championship.