Crystal Lake's Ethan Farnam entered Thursday's final round of the Illinois State Amateur Championship four shots off the lead, but the 2017 Prairie Ridge graduate still had every reason to believe.
“I just told myself, ‘You don’t need to try harder or do anything different today,’” Farnam said. “Your low score is going to come back truly like it has, and I just put all my faith in that."
Farnam, who will be a junior at St. Mary’s College of California in the fall, fired a 3-under par 69 in the third and final round at Cantigny Golf Club in Wheaton to finish with a three-round total of 208 (69-70-69) and capture the title.
East Peoria’s David Perkins, who led Farnam by four shots after Day 2, and Elmhurst’s Jordan Hurst tied for runner-up and were two shots behind Farnam. Algonquin’s Garrett Tighe, a 2019 Jacobs graduate, tied for 26th with a 220 (71-75-74).
Farnam joins Spring Grove’s Jordan Hahn as the last two Illinois State Amateur champions.
“It just means so much,” Farnam said. “I played a solid 36 holes at the U.S. Amateur qualifier last week, and I fell a little short. I was just so depressed. I just couldn’t understand why my good golf couldn’t get me to where I wanted to be. To bounce back so quickly, it feels so good."
Farnam took the lead over Perkins with an 80-foot birdie putt on the par-3 No. 13. Perkins took a double bogey on the same hole.
"It was from one side of the green to the other," Farnam said. "I hit it right on my line and I'm watching it hit the center of the pin and it just drops in. I think when the putt's that long, I free myself up, and with about 10 feet left, I'm like, 'Oh, that has a really good chance.'"
From there, Farnam made a birdie putt on the 14th – his fourth birdie of the last round and 10th of the tournament – to move to 8 under, and finished with four straight pars to secure the come-from-behind win.
Farnam finished the tournament with 42 pars and two bogeys. He shot 6 under on the back nine.
"Coming down the final nine, I kind of just turned on my irons," Farnam said. "That's what got me that comeback."