Carroll's lead washed out in deluge

Writing from Hinsdale, Illinois

Monday, August 26, 2019


Three rain delays, the last of which flooded a portion of the golf course, wiped out the first round of play in the 98th Illinois PGA Championship at Ruth Lake Country Club. Because at least half the field did not finish, the scores of those who started were wiped out. The first round will be replayed tomorrow. The schedule for the remainder of what is usually a 54-hole test has not been finalized.

Before that decision, made just before 5 p.m., a number of good rounds had been turned in. The following account reports what had taken place before the third and final rain delay:


On-and-off golf doesn’t seem to bother Brian Carroll. That equanimity served him well on Monday at Ruth Lake Country Club. Hopscotching across a pair of rain delays, and just beating a third to the clubhouse, Carroll scored 5-under-par 66 to take the lead in the still-in-progress Illinois PGA Championship, a lead wiped out when play was halted for the day.

“I’m really happy with the outcome,” Carroll said after finishing his round with a 20-foot birdie putt featuring four feet of break. “I rolled in a couple you don’t expect.”

Carroll’s effort, including birdies on three of his first four holes, earned him a two-stroke lead by 3:04 p.m., when the lighting-warning system hooter blew, forcing the remainder of the field off the course. Unlike the earlier delays, there was no lightning, but the subsequent deluge brought an end to the proceedings for the day and prompted the cancellation.

Jim Billiter (Kemper Lakes) and Chris French (Aldeen), at 3-under 68, share second among those who finished. David Paeglow, the king of Kishwaukee, came in at 2-under 69, with 12-time champion Mike Small carding 1-under 70 with a bogey at the last.

They’re the only players under par, including the majority of the field still to finish. Fifty-nine players from the afternoon contingent of the field of 133 hadn’t even started.

“Stop and go, everybody’s got to do it,” said Carroll, whose other birdie highlights included a 20-footer on No. 13 and a 25-footer on No. 17. “As long as you get your body loose, you’re all right.”

This had been Carroll’s best start in an Illinois major since a 66 to open the 2016 Illinois Open. He finished in a tie for 12th.

In real life, Carroll is the head pro at the Hawk Country Club in St. Charles. He’ll be able to get plenty of work in there before heading to Ruth Lake, jugging his vocation and avocation like the rest of the field.

“I was planning to go there in the morning before I come here, get stuff done and be not too much behind when I get back on Thursday,” Carroll said. “This is not the main part of our job. It’s part of it – we love to play tournament golf and we’re lucky to play great places like Ruth Lake.”

Billiter bounced back from a 1-over 36 on his first nine – featuring a four-putt double-bogey on the 17th hole – with a four-under 32 to finish.

“I was hitting it good,” Billiter said. “If you drive it well, it’s wedges in. Plus I was playing with Curtis (Malm) and we were hitting it right next to each other. So I could see hit shot go into the green, so I had a lot of teaches. I was fortunate to be behind him at certain times.”

Billiter said he’d been missing too many fairways this year, but not on Monday.

“Once I hit fairways, I can get my confidence back like the old days three years ago,” Billiter said. “I know I can go pretty decent from the fairways. From the trees, I have problems.”

Tuesday, he and the rest of the field get to try the same thing again.

Tim Cronin


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