McHENRY – After shooting even par during the second round of the McHenry County Men’s Amateur Golf Tournament at McHenry County Club, Riley Bauman stopped and did the math.
Bauman, who has challenged for the tournament title in previous years, wasn’t counting his strokes. He was simply trying to figure out the last time he played at McHenry
“I haven’t played here since high school – when we had high school matches,” said Bauman, whose 71 on Saturday was the best of 51 scores. “Six years? Maybe seven … depending on how you look at it.”
The 2010 Crystal Lake Central grad didn’t win the tournament title. But the low score of the day vaulted Bauman from seventh to third, finishing with a two-round score of 148. Marengo’s Hunter Simonini and Huntley’s Ben Allen also had a 148, with Bauman taking third place on a tiebreaker.
Northfield’s Steve Sawtell, a social member at McHenry Country Club playing in his first county amateur, was the overall champion with a 1-under 141, and Barrington’s Matt Haussmann was second with a 147.
“The course was in good shape. If you were hitting good shots, it was going where it needed to go, so that’s always nice,” said Bauman, who birdied the last hole to shoot 1-under on the back nine and finish in the top three. “My putting was definitely much better. I made more 5- and 6-footers – that was really killing me (Friday).”
Sawtell, who fired a tournament-best 3-under 68 on Day 1, said he played more conservatively with a five-stroke lead entering the final round. He shot 73 in the second round to seal the win.
“I knew that the pins would be tougher, and I knew that they would set it up harder,” said Sawtell, who birdied the 17th and 18th to win by six strokes. “I was very conservative. I steered away from things. I just wasn’t as aggressive as I was yesterday, and I didn’t make any dumb errors.”
McHenry’s Ron Waytula was sixth overall with a 149, followed by Lake Villa’s Nate Daugherty (151), Cary’s Don Langland (155), Spring Grove’s Phil Webb (155), and Huntley’s Tyler Ross (156) and Fox River Grove’s Jonathan Barber (156).
Woodstock’s James Hagen shot a 75 in the final round for a two-day total of 157 to clinch the A Flight championship. Hagen, 24, hit two balls into the bushes on the ninth, but saved par going into the turn.
“(On Friday) I hit the ball pretty awry, and today I didn’t pull out the driver except for once,” Hagen said. “I just kept it in play with a 3-wood and 4-iron, tried to hit some more greens and give myself more opportunities to make birdies.”
Hagen has played in the tournament since he was 18, nearly winning the championship in 2013 – when he was edged by Don Langland Jr. in a one-hole playoff.
“I went back a step today, in the A Flight,” Hagen laughed. “But, hey, you take what you can get.”
2016 McHenry grad Nick Hansen placed second in the A Flight with a 162, Lakemoor’s George Myers (163) took third, Crystal Lake’s Mark Gates (163) was fourth, and Crystal Lake’s Kevin Karney and McHenry’s Casey Guth each had 168s.
Marengo’s Ron Pearson edged Woodstock’s Keith Steinwehe, 176-177, to claim the B Flight, followed closely by McHenry’s Ron Erickson (179), Cary’s Jeff Brown (181), and Cary’s Dan Powers (182).
“I’ve never played the course. It’s a difficult course if you don’t have a short game,” Pearson said. “Bunker play got me today, but it was just a fun day. I wasn’t trying to win anything.”
“I can’t do much better,” Steinwehe added. “Just one short. I never play out here, but I liked it. ... The only thing I didn’t like was (hole) No. 2. It’s got two trees in the middle of the fairway. I didn’t hit it, but it’s in the way usually.”
Tournament Director Mike Haase, who also runs the McHenry County Junior Golf Association, brought back the county amateur after a one-year absence. It had been run every year since 1984.