Former Northern Illinois golfer Bryce Emory won the 94th Chicago District Golf Association Amateur Championship on Thursday with a 2 & 1 victory in the 36-hole championship match over Blake Johnson at Edgewood Valley Country Club.
With a 2-up lead and two holes to play, Emory sunk a dramatic putt on the 35th hole to claim the title.
“I had a 45-50 footer and I was just thinking about getting it close and put some pressure on him,” said Emory. “The last thing I was thinking about was making it but I put a great stroke on it, it kept turning and the next thing you know it was dead center and it dropped.
“It felt great but still hasn’t really sunk in. It was a marathon out there this week, I played somewhere around 120 holes in four days. I was fortunate enough to have my dad out there the last two days and to be able to make the putt, walk off and give him a hug, I couldn’t ask for a better week.”
On Monday (June 24), Emory finished in a tie for third in the 36-hole stroke play portion of the CDGA Amateur Championship. Emory carded a 74 in the first round of stroke play and a 72 in the second round to claim one of the 16 spots in the match play finals of the championship.
Emory advanced to the quarterfinals with a 6 & 5 win over John Ramsey of Glenview, Ill., on Tuesday (June 25).
Two more match play wins on Wednesday (June 26) moved Emory into today’s final match. He opened Wednesday with a 1-up victory over Charlie Netzel of Western Springs, Ill., in the quarterfinals. Emory then finished the afternoon with a 2 & 1 semifinal triumph over Kyle Nathan of Glenview, Ill., who played collegiately at the University of Maryland.
“I think you always have to enter a tournament thinking that you can win it,” said Emory. “I have been playing well for the past month-and-a-half so I knew that if I kept playing like that I would put myself in pretty good position and maybe I would have a chance to make it to match play. That is what I did, I didn’t hit the ball as well as I had been coming in, but my short game and my putting bailed my out in the first couple of rounds. As the tournament went on, I starting hitting the ball better.
“Coach (Tom) Porten came out and watched yesterday and helped me a little bit with my swing, he gave me some tips that helped me start hitting the ball like I had been, I made some putts on top of that and the next thing you know we were having a celebration.”
During his senior season at NIU in 2012-13, Emory won the Jim West Intercollegiate, the first individual title for a Huskie since 2010, and was twice named Mid-American Conference Golfer of the Week.
The CDGA Amateur Championship is one of the oldest amateur competitions in the Midwest; the championship is open to any amateur among the CDGA’s 90,000 members that has a handicap index of 5.4 or under.