For two years now Jim Sobb has been the man whenever the Illinois PGA holds a match play tournament. This year, though, his reign can to an abrupt halt.
The Ivanhoe pro won the section’s senior match play title in 2010 and 2011, was runner-up in the regular match play in 2010 and became the first player to sweep both titles last spring. To do it he had to win five matches in three days in the senior event and six in three days in the regular version.
Sobb, 56, tried to do it again on the same courses where he pulled off his historic sweep. He got by his first match Tuesday in the IPGA regular match play event at Kemper Lakes in Hawthorn Woods, edging 68th-seeded Jeremy Anderson, assistant at Twin Orchard in Long Grove, by a 1-up margin. But three-time winner Doug Bauman, from Biltmore Country Club in Barrington, eliminated Sobb 5 and 4 in his second match.
The 62nd annual tourney – first of the IPGA’s four major tourneys of the season — runs through Thursday.
The tourney started with 116 players, with the entrants seeded according to last year’s Bernardi point standings that determined the IPGA player-of-the-year. Sobb is the No. 4 seed and drew a first-round bye. Top-seeded Rich Dukelow of Cantigny, in Wheaton, also drew a first-round bye before winning his first match 5 and 4 over Michael Campbell of Village Links of Glen Ellyn.
“I’m sure everybody will be after me, but a couple things in my favor is that I’ve played these courses so many times,’’ said Sobb, who beat Dukelow 3 and 2 in last year’s final. While a Sobb title defense is now impossible, Dukelow advanced to the semifinals.
Last year the senior and regular match play competitions were held on successive weeks. This year the senior version is again at Shoreacres, in Lake Bluff, but on May 29-31 so Sobb will get some welcome rest before seeking his three-peat there.
ND golfer leads U.S. Open survivors
Notre Dame golfer Max Scodro, of Chicago, carded a 7-under-par 65 to earn medalist honors at Monday’s 90-player U.S. Open local qualifier at Schaumburg Golf Club.
Others qualifying for sectional play were Jack Perry of Evanston (67), former Illinois Amateur and Northwestern golfer Ravi Patel, Hinsdale’s Brett Tomfohrde and Libertyville’s Michael Schachner (all at 68) and Glencoe’s Jason Shapiro (69).
Most figure to bid for spots in the U.S. Open proper at a June 4 sectional elimination at Village Links of Glen Ellyn.
Cantigny’s “Double Jeopardy’’ ready soon
The frequently controversial 555-yard No. 2 hole on the Woodside course of the 27-hole Cantigny complex will re-open May 25. Erosion problems along the banks of a stream that lined the fairway of that hole, dubbed “Double Jeopardy,’’ forced closing of the entire nine.
Rick Jacobson’s design firm, in Libertyville, supervised the re-contouring of the fairway and that eliminated the blind second shot that had been required previously.
“We made a good hole even better,’’ said Cantigny executive director Mike Nass. “It was a hard decision to take Woodside out of play for so long…For fairness and playability, this is a huge step forward.’’
Here and there
The recently-sold Ditka Sports Dome, in Bolingbrook, will re-open Saturday, but strictly as a restaurant, now called McQ’s. The indoor golf area is being renovated and the first shots won’t be hit there until November….Acquiring Ryder Cup tickets might still be possible, assuming you’re willing to buy at least four tickets to the May 24-27 Senior PGA Championship at Michigan’s Harbor Shores course. For details contact www.RyderCupAdmin@pgahq.com…..The fourth annual Sunshine Marathon, a fundraiser for the Chicago District Golf Assn. charity arm, is Saturday at the Zigfield Troy course in Woodridge….A record 1,364 players entered the July 5-8 U.S. Women’s Open at Wisconsin’s Blackwolf Run. They range from 11-year old Californian Elizabeth Wang to Arizona resident Bobbi Lancaster, 61….A new Chicago company, NewSpin Golf, is about to introduce SwingSmart, a game improvement tool that provides instant information on key elements of the swing….Kewanee’s Tim Miler was the champion in the rain-shortened Illinois Public Links Championship at George Dunne National in Tinley Park….The 54-hole Illinois Mid-Amateur concludes today (WEDNESDAY) at Flossmoor.