Golf: Just like old times for Joseph Kinney, Jack Watson
BY RICK ARMSTRONG email@example.com July 22, 2013 9:02PM
John Wright of Aurora hits a tee shot during the Joliet Amateur Golf Tournament in June. Wright was in third place after Monday's first round of the Illinois Open. | Corey R. Minkanic~For Sun-Times Media
64th Illinois Open
The Glen Club, Glenview
7,215 yards, par 72
Joseph Kinney, Antioch 65 -7
Jack Watson, Lincolnshire 67 -5
Steve Orrick, Mt. Zion 68 -4
John Wright, Aurora 68 -4
Fox Valley area scores
68 — John Wright, Aurora.
70 — Chris Ioriatti, Joliet.
71 — Thomas O’Bryan, Aurora; Bryce Emory, Aurora; Drew Chuipek, Algonquin;
72 — Brian Bullington (a), Frankfort;
73 — Curtis Malm, Aurora; Tony Ross (a), Lemont; Andrew Godfrey (a)
Homewood; Nick Zurowski (a), Mokena.
74 — Michael Sainz, Elgin;
75 — Rick Sterioti, Naperville;
76 — Michael Troy, Naperville; Gabe Aprati (a), New Lenox; Rich
Dukelow, Orland Park; Frank Hohendadel, Tinley Park; Visanu Tongwarin,
77 — Chris Niemiec, St. Charles; Raymond Knoll, Naperville
78 — Dave Kohley, Homer Glen; Glenn Przybylski, Frankfort.
79 — Travis Johns, Oswego;
80 — Dan Scardina, Bartlett;
85 — Brian Groszek, St. Charles.
Long time no see.
Joe Kinney and Jack Watson hadn’t crossed paths since 2009, when Kansas State freshman-to-be Watson caddied for Kinney, then a recent K-State grad, at the Western Amateur Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club.
In the four years since, Kinney has toiled on mini-tours while Watson has transferred schools twice, stopping at Kent State before landing in Wisconsin, where he is preparing for his redshirt junior season this fall.
They met again Monday, this time at the top of the first-round leaderboard of the 64th Illinois Open Championship. Kinney shot 7-under 65 and leads Watson by two strokes.
Both fired bogey-free rounds at The Glen Club’s 7,215-yard layout, softened by heavy pre-dawn rains.
The 156-man field, 30 of whom broke par, will be cut to the top 50 players and ties after Tuesday’s second round in the 54-hole event. It features a total purse of about $85,000, with the top pro likely to take home $17,000.
“I felt like all parts of my game were going good,” said Kinney, a 26-year-old Antioch pro whose previous best here was a tie for 11th in 2007. “I hit the ball solid, didn’t have any big misses and I putted the ball great.”
Kinney started his round on the 10th hole and went out in 6-under 30 with six birdies, including three straight from Nos. 12-14.
“It’s been awhile since I had a nine where everything went in the hole,” said Kinney, who has played five events on the National Golf Association Tour this year, missing the cut three times with finishes of 35th and 39th to earn just under $2,400.
“This is my second Illinois Open, I played once in high school but didn’t make the cut,” said Watson, who is coming off a second-place finish at last week’s Illinois State Amateur in Rockford.
“I hit a lot of fairways, made some good putts and had one (for birdie) lip out at 18.”
Aurora amateur John Wright, who missed the cut at last week’s state amateur in Rockford, fired a 4-under 68 and is tied for third.
While most of the leaders were taking advantage of the shorter par 4s on the back nine, Wright started at No. 10 and made the turn at 1-under, then added three birdies on the front despite three bad tee shots.
“I had two pulls and one block at 1, 7 and 8, but every time I was able to find the ball and save par and even made birdie on one,” Wright said. “It easily could have been a five- or six-stroke swing.”
Four-time winner and University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small also started at No. 10 and was 4-under with four holes to play, but finished even par 72 after making two bogeys (Nos. 6 and 9) and a double bogey (No. 8) down the stretch.
“It’s just erratic. It’s weird, I haven’t hit it good for a long, long time,” Small said. “But I grind it out. I compete and get what I can out of it. On No. 8, I just chunked it in the water. I hit it like a 15 handicap, maybe a 20. Pfffftt!”
Northern Illinois graduate Bryce Emory turned pro before the start of Monday’s round and shot 1-under 71.
He’s tied with Wisconsin junior and Waubonsie Valley graduate Thomas O’Bryan.
Elgin’s Carlos Sainz Jr., who won The Players Cup for his first PGA Tour Canada victory on Sunday, had a mid-afternoon tee time and was 4-under through 17 holes at press time.
Sainz, 25, earned $27,000 with his first Canadian Tour win.