Golf: Frank Hohenadel ready to defend IPGA championship
By Tommy Stokke For Sun-Times Media August 8, 2012 9:52PM
Frank Hohenadel | Supplied photo
Updated: September 10, 2012 1:38PM
Frank Hohenadel came into last year’s Illinois PGA Championship at Medinah Country Club relatively unknown in the golf world, especially to those competing in the tournament.
Hohenadel left a first impression that many won’t soon forget.
Playing in the event for the first time in his career, Hohenadel broke University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small’s eight-year winning streak and gave himself the confidence to deal with raised expectations this year.
In just over two weeks, Hohenadel, an assistant pro at Midlothian Country Club, will look to defend his title on Aug. 27 to 29 at Stonewall Orchard Golf Club.
“I’m a lot more confident this year and playing a fuller schedule,” Hohenadel said. “I hadn’t had much luck in the last four or five years before winning that tournament. This year I feel like I have a lot to prove to myself, and others. I’m out there to show it wasn’t a fluke.”
The tall, lanky left-hander said he wasn’t shocked at last year’s result, but surely he surprised the rest of the field. He would’ve been pleased with a top-10 finish, which is the same goal he carries in this year.
“There are so many good players that for me to say I expect to win again is just unrealistic,” he said. “Hopefully, I play well and get into the top 10 again.”
According to Hohenadel, it was his first tournament victory since college, when he played for Paul Downey at the University of St. Francis. With the Saints the only scholarship offer out of high school, Hohenadel attributes his late-blooming success to his time there.
“I thank coach Downey all the time for the opportunity. I don’t know what I’d be doing without it. It’s doubtful I’d still be involved with golf.”
And involved he is. Hohenadel has spent the past two winters in Florida working not only on a course, but also on his game. He credits his time there for what he says was “by far the biggest win in my life.”
“It’s been a great thing for my game. It’s 80 degrees every day compared to having to play in domes in Illinois,” he said. “I’ve never had a swing coach since I started playing at 14. I just go out there and play, and doing it in Florida is a big reason for (the improvement in) my game.”
Hohenadel, who made $12,000 in winning last year’s IPGA, has doubled his tourney schedule this season and made the cut in all nine events he’s played so far.
Such success has prompted more than a few friends and playing partners to mention the PGA Tour to Hohenadel. But he said he’s fine with the career path he’s on now.
“I’ve never had that dream,” he said of playing on the tour. “I know where my game is at, and I think I’m playing as well as I can. People will say if I got to play more I’d be better, but I have no plans to do that.
“I’m hoping to parlay this win into a nice career with good results and a professional job. I know the idea sounds great, but you have to give up a lot to go for it. That’s not something I’m ready to do.”