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Flavin Completes The Double

August 9th, 2017

Author: Tim Cronin
Glenview, Ill. -- Patrick Flavin didn’t win a penny at The Glen Club on Wednesday.

He won a place in history.

Flavin added the Illinois Open title to last month’s Illinois Amateur triumph at Calumet Country Club, becoming the second player to score the double in a calendar year, following David Ogrin’s achievement in 1980.

“A little more exciting (day) than I was trying to have,” Flavin said. “But it was a blast, and so rewarding to get the win at the end.

“To win both of them is crazy.”

Flavin’s 2-over-par 74 for 13-under 202 earned him a one-stroke victory over fellow amateurs Nick Hardy and Matt Murlick and low professional Brandon Holtz, all of whom landed at 12-under 203.
A Highwood resident entering his senior year at Miami of Ohio, Flavin led by six at sunrise, held that margin through three holes, but saw the lead evaporate thereafter. When Holtz rolled in a 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 15th hole, they were tied at 13-under.

But for a thinned low punch hook on the par-3 17th that floated into the hay on the left, a position from which Holtz was fortunate to make bogey, the football gear salesman from Bloomington would have been in a playoff, or perhaps won the title outright. His 10-foot birdie putt to tie Flavin on the par-5 18th just missed.

As it was, Holtz’s exploits earned him $13,886, the low professional payout. 

Flavin drew on the experience gained in winning the Illinois Amateur to keep his wits about him when Holtz opened the back nine with three straight birdies to cut the lead to two strokes.

“I was so nervous,” Flavin said. “I got these chills down my spine at the state am, and today, I knew it was going to happen, and I was ready for it. To walk off that last green with pretty much everybody I know out there, that was so cool.”

By the back nine, eight of his high school buddies – a.k.a. Flavin’s Fanatics – were following him around, along with his family, plus girlfriend Emily, his caddie on Monday. His brother Conor was on the bag the last two days.

He also had a confident strategy.

“I knew with that six-shot cushion (at the start) if I could make a bunch of pars, they were going to run out of holes,” Flavin said. “I did that.”

But not easily. A double-bogey on the par-3 fourth and a bogey on the sixth – his first of the week – saw Flavin skid to 13-under. His 15-foot birdie putt on the par-4 eighth was key, he thought, in keeping calm.

“It was dead-center, perfect speed,” Flavin said. “I knew when I made that, ‘I’ve got this, I can just play my game.’ Every putt was huge down the stretch, and I hit a lot of good ones.”

Flavin also made a brilliant par save on the par-3 11th from the left bunker, which was populated by ducks, to prevent a two-shot swing in the middle of Holtz’ birdie binge, but after both bogeyed the 13th, Flavin had a two-stroke lead on Holtz, defending champion Carlos Sainz Jr., and 2014 winner Brad Hopfinger. What had been expected to be a parade was suddenly a drag race.

Holtz made another push with birdies on the 14th and 15th, a 15-footer on the latter that tied him with Flavin. Both parred the 16th, and it was at this juncture that Hardy was making birdies on three of his last four holes to climb to 12-under 203 via a 4-under 68. Ahead of him, Murlick was sneaking in with a 5-under 67 for 203 as well.

But Flavin’s focus was on Holtz.

“On 17 tee, I walked by the scoreboard and saw it was just us two at the top, and that was nice to know,” Flavin said.
Flavin rolled his 25-foot birdie putt on the 17th just behind the hole, but Holtz’ bogey there gave Flavin the ability to play the par-5 18th as a three-shot hole. His 35-footer for birdie just missed.

“I thought it was in,” Flavin said.

Holtz thought his putt at the last, a 10-footer for birdie and a tie, was in as well.

“I tried to put a little pressure on him, but he played solid, making putts all over the place,” Holtz said of Flavin. “If you keep digging, you never know.”

Holtz goes back to his day job selling football gear to youth teams on Thursday. His competitors mostly go back to college.
Murlick fashioned his 67 with a holed-out bunker shot for birdie on the first hole, a holed-out fairway shot for eagle on the par-4 second, and three more birdies, offset only by a bogey at the third, a comeback that nearly shoved him into a playoff.

“I made good birdie putts on 14 and 15 that gave me some last-minute hope,” Murlick said. “I needed a couple more birdies.”

He went for the pond-guarded 18th in two from 190 yards, but ended up left of the green, and couldn’t make an up-and-down birdie.

“This was a great tournament for me,” said Murlick, heading into his sophomore year at Marquette. “Probably my best performance so far.”

Hardy recovered from a bogey on the par-5 14th with his birdie blast at the end to climb back into the scrap, parring only the 17th. He heads to the U.S. Amateur at the end of the week, hoping for a big finish to boost his Walker Cup hopes.

“I had a lot of good looks (at birdie),” Hardy said. “Looking back, I should have birdied 13, and 14, I lost two shots with a bogey.

That’s a three-shot swing right there.

“I’m proud of the way I played this week, I just needed one more round. I’ve been knocking on the door for a win ever since I won (NCAA) regionals. I’m hoping U.S. Am is it.”

Sainz ended up in solo fifth in his title defense with a 3-under 69 for 11-under 204, with Hopfinger sixth via a 67 for 205. Eric Meierdierks (73) and teen Tommy Kuhl (67) tied for seventh at 8-under 207.

Around the Open
Amateur Greg Bauman had the round of the day, an 8-under 64 that vaulted him into a tie for ninth with Joo-Young Lee at 7-under 208. ... Seven of the top 12 finishers were amateurs. ... The field averaged 72.73 strokes on Wednesday. ... Thirty of the 51 players making the cut finished under par.