Golf: Chadd Slutzky leaves them hanging with opening-round lead of Illinois State Amateur

“Sorry guys, I’m just not that exciting,” Chadd Slutzky said Tuesday, ending an interview with a smile and shrug of his shoulders.

Maybe not, but the 36-year-old financial trader from Deer Park, with offices in Chicago and Arlington Heights, turned in some spectacular golf Tuesday in the opening round of the 84th Illinois State Amateur.

Slutzky fired a 6-under par 66 at Cantigny Golf in Wheaton and holds a four-shot lead over three players — Matt Weber of St. Charles, Nick Hardy of Northbrook and Blake Johnson of Winnetka — who all came in on a cool, breezy day with rounds of 2-under 70.

“Having no bogeys helped,” Slutzky said. “I had four birdies and an eagle. Chipped in from the front edge of the green on 14, the par 5, for the eagle and all the birdies were on puts from eight feet or less, nothing crazy.”

The only other players under par in the 126-player field were Patrick Flavin (Highwood), Kyle Kochevar (Glen Ellyn) and Andy Mickelson (Lockport), who are ied for fifth at 1-under 71.

After Wednesday’s second round, the field will be cut to the top 35 players and ties, and anyone else within 10 strokes of the lead for Thursday’s final 36 holes.

Slutzky is bidding to become the first non-collegiate player to win the event since 2004, but doesn’t think his early lead holds great meaning.

“I don’t expect anything,” he said. “Maybe I’ll make the cut now.”

Weber, a recent Burlington Central High School graduate who will be playing at Indiana University in the fall, said he knew he had to “just stay patient” after getting an eagle and two double bogeys on his front nine. He rebounded with four birdies on the back.

“You don’t win on the first day of a 72-hole tournament,” the youngster said. “Somebody who shot 4 over today could end up winning it. There’s a long way to go.”

Defending champ Tee-K Kelly of Wheaton could be in that boat. The Ohio State sophomore from Wheaton, struggled to an opening 73 after playing 36 holes Sunday at Notre Dame and qualifying for the U.S. Amateur.

“I’ve gotta hit it better if i want to compete later in the week,” he said. “I only hit six or seven greens (in regulation) out there.”

Kelly is happy to be close to home — he lives five minutes away — but said he’s only played Cantigny about three times in the past five years.

Raymond Knoll, an Iowa sophomore from Naperville who came out of Monday’s qualifier to play in last week’s John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities, three over par at 75.

“I played the qualifier at Notre Dame, too (after missing the Deere cut) and got edged by Tee-K for the final (U.S. Amateur) qualifying spot, so I’m the first alternate,” he said. “If it was gonna be anybody, I’m glad it was him. We grew up playing a lot together.”

Other Naperville players were Matt Shipley (75), Raymond Knoll (75), Jordan Yamamoto (76), Eric Izzo (77) and 16-year-old Alex Bassetto (80).

Other Elgin area scorers were: Timothy Kay (Bartlett, 74), Blake Biddle (St. Charles, 74), Daniel O’Brien (St. Charles, 76), Mark Esposito (Elgin, 84) and Mike Sterling (Elgin, 86).

Thomas O’Bryan, a junior at Wisconsin from Aurora, shot 74 and is tied for 17th. Maple Park’s Pat Cesario shot 83.

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