So much for the drought.
University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small hadn’t won an Illinois PGA major in two years but finished strong Wednesday at the South Course at Olympia Fields Country Club and won his 10th overall.
Small shot a 3-under 68 and came from two strokes down after 36 holes to claim the 91st Illinois PGA Championship by a four-stroke margin over three other players.
“This is the one that means a lot to me because we’re PGA members and this is a big deal to us,” said the 47-year-old Small.
The Aurora native had rounds of 69-72-68 for a 54-hole total of 209.
Tied for second at even par 213 were St. Charles Country Club pro from Aurora Curtis Malm, Medinah pro Travis Jones of Oswego and second-round leader and Glen Oak pro Matt Slowinski.
Small made par on the first six holes and was able to overtake Slowinski, who started with three straight bogeys.
Malm was the runnerup for the second year in a row and led briefly after making back-to-back birdies on the third and fourth holes. Three putts on two of the next three greens led to bogeys that put Small in control.
Malm has won three state majors, the Illinois Open as an amateur in 2000 and the past two PGA Match Play crowns.
“I need (Small) to retire,” joked the 35-year-old Malm. “It just has to be your day. One of these days it’s going to be mine. I’ll be holding the trophy and we won’t be talking about runnerup.”
Other area pros and their finishes were: T12 Brian Brown, Naperville CC; T24 Jonathan Duppler, Elgin CC; T38 B.J. Paul, GolfTec Naperville; 65 Patrick Lenski, Geneva GC.
Mark Esposito of Naperville recently shot rounds of 71-68 for a 5-under total of 139 to win the 2013 Blackberry Oaks Club Championship by four strokes.
Aurora’s John Wright was second at 143 (71-72), Plainfield’s Nick Corban took third at 145 (75-70) and Bristol’s Jim Waugh was fourth at 147 (74-73), winning a scorecard playoff with Chris Blankenship.
Flight winners were: A, Bill Budicin (156); B, Jeff Figlewicz (161); C, John Steiner (169); and Senior, Joe Sells (133).