Golf: Naperville North graduate Raymond Knoll’s summer of fun continues at Western Amateur

Raymond Knoll watches his tee shot on No. 2 during the second round of the John Deere Classic on July 11.  | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images
Raymond Knoll watches his tee shot on No. 2 during the second round of the John Deere Classic on July 11. | Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

Raymond Knoll’s fun summer run of golf continues at Beverly Country Club in Chicago next week when he competes in the 112th Western Amateur Championship.

It caps a month to remember for the Naperville North graduate, who is a sophomore on the University of Iowa golf team.

He started by tying for first in the Monday qualifier for the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic in the Quad Cities earlier this month, missing the cut after two rounds but shooting even par in the second.

“It was my first time trying a Monday qualifier,” Knoll said. “I talked with (Deere Tournament Director) Clair Peterson after the second round and he said, ‘That’s really a stellar round for not even knowing you were gonna play at the beginning of the week.’

“He said he’d keep his eye on me. I’d love to come back and play there on a sponsor’s exemption.”

Knoll followed it up by winning the Illinois State Amateur at Cantigny in Wheaton the following week, and is coming off a tie for 32nd in this week’s Illinois Open, which featured 81 amateurs in the field of 156.

“This was my second time here,” Knoll said of the 54-hole event at The Glen Club.

He struggled to an 83 in gusting winds in Wednesday’s final round after opening 74-69.

“Last year, I missed the cut,” he said. “(On Wednesday) I didn’t play too hot, starting with a four-putt on No. 1 that featured two 360-degree lipouts,” Knoll said. “Then I had back-to-back plugged lies on Nos. 2 and 3. I hit some good shots but couldn’t get anything going today.”

Competing against many of his college friends and the pros, Knoll noted, gave him “a lot of positives from the week. I’m not too upset. I can take a lot away from it.”

At the Western Amateur, Knoll will be one of 14 players from Illinois competing in the prestigious event that features 156 of the best young golfers in the world. The field includes 40 international players from 14 different countries as well as his Iowa teammate Brian Bullington of Frankfort, Illinois, and Wheaton’s Tee-K Kelly of Ohio State.

Bullington led this week’s Illinois Open after two rounds, but also shot 83 on the final day to drop to a tie for 16th.

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