Cooke bids for second Illinois Open title after second-round 65

Writing from Glenview, Illinois

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

David Cooke didn’t quite have it on cruise control, but it was close enough on Tuesday for him to build a three-stroke lead going into the final round of the 70th Illinois Open.

His finish, three birdies in the last four holes of The Glen Club for a 3-under-par 69 and aggregate of 8-under 136, allowed him to break a tie with Tim “Tee-K” Kelly and amateur David Perkins at 5-under 139.

“I’ve been in the mix the last four or five times now,” Cooke said. “I try not to do too much when I’m out there, just play my own game and wait for my chances. Keep the ball in play.”

That sounds pedestrian, but from such caution arises birdie opportunities. Cooke, the winner as an amateur in 2015, took advantage of five of them in the second round, including the big stretch at the finish, which ended with a 200-yard 5-iron second shot over the water to the green of the par-5 18th.

“That was nice,” said Cooke, who eventually settled for birdie.

The occasional European tourist has played often with Kelly dating back to their junior days, but doesn’t know Perkins, the 21-year-old Illinois State senior whose 7-under 65 opened with a 20-foot curling eagle putt on the first hole and a three-foot birdie on the second. Perkins was 4-under for the day after a birdie on the par-3 fourth that was a foot from being an ace, and 3-under the rest of the way.

“I hit the ball good and rolled some putts,” Perkins said. “Four-under after four, you’re cruising. It was a dream start.”

Perkins had a six-stroke lead in the Illinois Amateur at Cantigny in July, then blew up and watched Ethan Farnam lift the trophy. Lesson learned?

“Rough last day, but I took positives from it,” Perkins said.

Kelly, like Cooke, is an international tourist, in his case the PGA Tour Latinoamerica, and making a rare hometown start.

“I played solid, made one bad decision on 17, hitting it in the water and making double bogey),” Kelly said of his 2-under 70. “I feel good about my game and super comfortable with the golf course right now. It’s playing how we’d all love it to play, firm. And the rough’s not easy; if you hit it in there you can get a squirrelly lie around the green.”

The leading trio will tee off at 11:07 a.m., preceded by the rest of the field of 52, of which 20 are amateurs.

Frank Hohenadel, one of four Mistwood Golf Club pros in the field, is fourth at 4-under 140, with Justin Reiger, Nick Hardy, and amateurs Tommy Kuhl of downstate Morton and Jordan Less of Elmhurst at 3-under 141. Twenty players are under par after 36 holes.

Perkins’ 65 matched the score turned in Monday by Chris Boyle, the first-round leader who crashed and burned on his second nine Tuesday at Ridgemoor. Boyle’s 6-over 42, including a double-bogey 7 on the par-5 third, sent him stumbling to a 7-over 79 and even par 144 after 36 holes. Boyle, who took five strokes from 40 yards short of the third green and finished with three bogeys, will likely need to break The Glen Club’s course record of 62 to even get a sniff of the trophy on Wednesday that on Monday night he felt sure he’d be lifting.


Around the Open


Tuesday’s best bounceback round belonged to Eric Meierdierks, whose 4-under 68 at The Glen Club was 11 strokes better than his opening 79 at Ridgemoor and allowed him to make the cut. …  Amateur Max Barr’s scorecard would have been a great linescore in baseball, but three triples and three doubles doesn’t cut it in golf. He added a 95 at Ridgemoor to Monday’s 90 at The Glen Club and finished 261st, last among those playing 36 holes. His highlight was a birdie on the par-3 third at Ridgemoor. … Amateur Dominic Leli rebounded nicely from Monday’s 90 with a par-72 at Ridgemoor, including an eagle on No. 3, but still finished 18-over and tied for 198th. … Ridgemoor averaged 78.58 strokes over two rounds. As expected, the average score was better at Ridgemoor on Monday and The Glen Club on Tuesday, when the name quadrant of the field was on site. … With 20 amateurs making the cut, the first prize of $20,000 could go up.


– Tim Cronin


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