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    Five Illini ready for U.S. Amateur
    Zach Barlow will be one of five Illini at the U.S. Amateur next week in Tulsa.

    Zach Barlow will be one of five Illini at the U.S. Amateur next week in Tulsa.

    Aug. 20, 2009

    Tulsa, Okla. - It has been home to three U.S. Open Championships and a record four PGA Championships, now the famed Southern Hills Country Club in Tulsa, Okla., will be home to the 2009 U.S. Amateur Championship Aug. 24-30. Among the competitors next week at both Southern Hills and Cedar Ridge Country Clubs will be five current University of Illinois players. The tournament caps off a successful summer for Illinois men's golfers around the country.

    "Having five guys at this prestigious event shows the potential of our team and is a testament to our program," junior Scott Langley (Manchester, Mo./Parkway South) said.

    Langley qualified on July 27-28 by shooting 138 over 36 holes at the Country Club at the Legends in St. Louis. He has been busy during the last six weeks. Since the start of July, Langley has finished 14th at the Sahalee Players Championship, repeated his title at the Metropolitan Open title, shot 68 and 69 during the last two rounds of the Porter Cup, qualified for the U.S. Amateur, and nearly made the match play round at the 107th Western Amateur. He traveled to Champaign this week to fine tune his game prior to leaving Thursday for Oklahoma.

    "I'm feeling good about my game," Langley said. "I haven't had many really bad rounds this summer, but it seems there has always been one that has kept me from finishing higher. I'm looking forward to putting it all together next week."

    Senior Zach Barlow (Percy, Ill./Trico H.S.) was an alternate from St. Louis after shooting 139, but will be in the field next week. Barlow had the most significant accomplishment so far this summer, advancing all the way to the final match at the Western Amateur. He followed that with a top-ten finish at the Illinois Amateur. In July, he and Luke Guthrie (Quincy, Ill./Quincy H.S.) advanced to match play at the U.S. Amateur Public Links Championship at blistering Norman, Okla. Barlow began the summer with a respectable 12th-place showing at the Sunnehanna Amateur in Pennsylvania.

    Guthrie has played as well as anyone in state. After Barlow won last year's Illinois Amateur, Guthrie used a final round 65 to claim the title this year at Bloomington Country Club on Aug. 11-13. Guthrie was triumphant at his qualifying tournament for the U.S. Public Links at Lick Creek Golf Course in Pekin on June 26 then won his U.S. Amateur qualifying tournament by some nine shots at Arrowhead Country Club in Edelstein, Ill., with two rounds of 64. He reached the second round of match play at the U.S. Public Links before falling in 19 holes. Two weeks ago, he had two solid rounds of 68 and 69 at the Western Amateur in Lake Forest, Ill., prior to winning the Illinois State Am.

    Perhaps what demonstrates the depth of this Illinois team the most is the fact that sophomore Mason Jacobs (Metropolis, Ill./Massac County H.S.) and senior Clayton Parkhill (Champaign, Ill./Champaign Central) weren't in the five-man line-up at Big Tens and NCAA, yet both are having productive summers culminating in qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.

    "I'm starting to see some results," Jacobs noted. "I'm hitting the ball well and making cuts at some big tournaments."

    Parkhill was second only to Guthrie at the U.S. Amateur qualifier at Arrowhead with a 36-hole total of 137 and also qualified for the Western Amateur.

    After qualifying for the U.S. Junior Amateur during his high school years, Jacobs has done a nice job stepping up in class this summer. He most recently made the 30-man cut at the Illinois Amateur, then posted a three-under par 69 in the final round to finish 22nd. He also made the 48-man cut at the Western Amateur after rounds of 75 and 70. Jacobs qualified for the U.S. Amateur with a 36-hole score of 135 on July 29 at the Lakeside Golf Club in Lexington, Ky. He said he was motivated by how well his teammates have done.

    "I was the third or fourth one in, so it will be pretty cool to play practice rounds with some familiar faces and share the experience with my teammates," Jacobs said.

    Langley and Parkhill will take that one step further. One of the 104 groups for the first 36 holes features that duo playing together first at Cedar Ridge on Monday at 8:20, then at Southern Hills at 1:35 pm Tuesday. Guthrie plays Southern Hills starting at 1:35 pm Monday then tackles Cedar Ridge at 7:30 am Tuesday. Barlow tees at Cedar Ridge at 2:15 pm Monday then Southern Hills at 9 am Tuesday. Jacobs schedule is just the opposite of Barlow, playing Southern Hills at 9 am Monday then Cedar Ridge at 2:15 Tuesday.

    The 64-man match-play tournament starts Wednesday, Aug. 26 with first-round action. Second and third rounds are Thursday, Aug. 27, quarterfinals are Friday, Aug. 28, and semifinals on Saturday, Aug. 29 with the 36-hole final on Sunday, Aug. 30.

    You can follow the action live at usamateur.org.

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