ITASCA – After two rounds of match-play golf at the 34th Chick Evans Junior Amateur Championship on Wednesday, one thing became clear: The seeds do not matter.
Through all the upsets and playoff holes of the day, two local golfers, Cary’s Daniel DePrey and Algonquin’s Jack Ramsett, emerged as quarterfinalists in the Illinois Junior Golf Association event at Itasca Country Club.
“I think the lower seeds didn’t really have anything to lose, and maybe the upper seeds weren’t really expecting us to play that well,” DePrey said. “They might of thought it would be a walkthrough, and it wasn’t."
Only one of the top-eight seeds entering match play is still playing.
DePrey, seeded 20th after two rounds of stroke play Monday and Tuesday, started Wednesday with a win over fellow local golfer, Spring Grove’s Jordan Hahn. The recent Cary-Grove grad defeated 13th-seeded Hahn, a senior at Richmond-Burton, 3 and 1.
DePrey kept it rolling into his second macth, where, after a back-and-forth front nine, DePrey took control. He won four of the next seven holes to win the match, 3 and 2, over fourth-seeded Andrew Huber.
DePrey was eliminated in the round of 16 last year at this event. He will play 28th-seeded Hunter Nesselroad in the quarterfinals Thursday.
“He [Huber] went 1 up early in the match and he chipped in a few times, and I just didn’t let that bother me,” DePrey said. “I got lucky on a few holes, too, which kind of helped me.”
Ramsett, a recent Jacobs grad, went a much more difficult route on his way to the final eight. The 23rd-seeded golfer needed 19 holes to win his opening match against 10th-seeded Kevin McEneany.
“We both played pretty bad, and I guess I just played a little better,” Ramsett said. “The whole round was very stressful.”
Ramsett, who missed the cut at last year’s tournament, went to work quickly in his second match against seventh-seeded Benjamin Johnson, winning the first three holes. Ramsett never relinquished the lead and held on for a 2 and 1 victory. He will play 31st-seeded Jacob Krugman in the quarterfinals.
“I played the second round a lot better than my first round,” Ramsett said. “I played sharper and made a lot more putts. Those first three holes really set the tone.”
Local golfers in general fared better at this year’s tournament. Last year, only two local golfers reached the final 16, and one advanced beyond that. This year, a quarter of both the Round of 16 and Round of 8 were occupied by golfers in the Northwest Herald coverage area.
Hampshire’s Chris Boyle and Algonquin’s Joe Addante were the other two local golfers that advanced to the Round of 16. Boyle advanced one round further than his previous attempt at the tournament. Boyle parred the 18th hole to win his first match, 1 up.
The recent Jacobs grad then lost in the next round to Krugman, 2 and 1, to end his tournament.
Addante battled through his first match of the day to come away with a 2-up victory. The Jacobs student followed the win with the tournament’s longest match of the afternoon. Addante and Matt Yonkovich went 24 holes before Yonkovich finally got the win.
"We both thought it was funny how good we were both playing and we both really wanted to win," Addante said, "and, unfortunately, only one got to advance."