May 17, 2001
University of Illinois Men's Golf Coach, Mike Small shot a final round 1-under par 71 to win the 2001 Motor Werks Illinois PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club in Long Grove, Illinois. Small was a former member of the PGA Tour (1998) and Nike Tour (Buy.com Tour) (1996-2000).
Severe weather suspended play three times during the first round of the event resulting in 42 players not completing their rounds. Small withstood the delays to post a first round best 69, good enough for one-stroke lead over Rover Forest Country Club Head Professional, Terry Russell. Defending champion Jim Sobb, Head Professional at the Ivanhoe Club, looking for his third consecutive Illinois PGA Championship victory, posted a 3-over-par 75 and was six-strokes off the lead.
Although the skies were clear on Tuesday, 20-30 mph winds presented more difficult playing conditions than the cloudy skies and heavy rains on Monday. Harrigan and Small took advantage of their morning tee times by posting a score of 73 each. Harrigan had a two-day total of 144 (E) putting him in second place heading into the final round, 2-strokes behind the leader Small (142 -2). The "cut" was set at 155 (+11) with 56 players advancing to the final round.
Wednesday brought plenty of sunshine and humidity as the heat index climbed all the way to 97 degrees. Bittersweet Golf Club Teaching Professional Dino Lucchesi's game was also on the rise. Lucchesi began the day at 4-over par (148). He recorded a final round of 67, which included an eagle on the 7th hole, and was the low round of the tournament. His tournament total of 215 (75-73-67) secured 2nd place, 3-strokes better than Harrigan's 218 (71-73-74).
Sobb recorded a final round 1-under-par 71. His tournament total of 221 (75-75-71) resulted in a tie for 4th place with Glen Oak Country Club Head Professional Daniel Mulhearn (75-77-69).
Small held off Lucchesi by hitting every green in regulation but one. His one-under-par 71 was good enough to win the first major championship of the year. "This is like Christmas," said Small. "This is awesome. My two wins on the Nike Tour (1997) were great, but this is the next chapter in my life."
The top three finishers of the Illinois PGA Championship earn exemptions for the PGA Tour's 2001 Advil Western Open on July 5-8 at Cog Hill G & CC.
Thank you to Motor Werks for their sponsorship, also to presenting sponsors E-Z-GO, Bobby Jones, True Temper, and Pro Link for their support. Special thanks go out to Emil Esposito, Janet Dobson and Bryan Moran at Kemper Lakes Golf Club for their continued support as our host of this event.