Joe Demory found it very easy to smile Sunday afternoon after his round of golf at Emeis Golf Course.
Playing at his collegiate home course when he starred for the St. Ambrose University golf team, Demory put together a sizzling round of 2-under par 70 in the final round of the Quad-City Amateur golf tournament.
In recent QC Ams, Demory and Sundays haven’t mixed well. He has taken a number of leads into the final round only to watch them wither away.
That wasn’t the case on a sultry afternoon when temperatures reached the mid 90s and the heat index was pushing 110. The 37-year-old had the only under-par round in the championship flight and held off former Illinois Class A state champ Tyler Bussert by three strokes for his first QC Amateur title.
“I’m glad I finally did it,” Demory joked, “I’ve had plenty of opportunities.”
Maybe the tournament being delayed from its usual Memorial Day weekend dates because of the COVID-19 pandemic factored in. It might have helped getting help recently from Matt Hasley, his lone teacher in his solid career. Maybe, too, did the course conditions. Playing firm and fast, the field had to adapt to playing more like a links course than a traditional one as greens were hard and not as receptive to approach shots as is the case on a much softer track in May.
“The golf course played way different than it normally does, which was fun,” Demory said. “It’s a different type of golf and with the wind blowing, and how it was blowing, you always had to pay attention to it.”
Bussert, back in town and contemplating his future after a year at Western Carolina University, was doing a great job of handling those conditions as well. Tied with Demory after Saturday 71s, they found themselves battling at the top when 18-hole leader Matt Skahill (69-77—146) struggled to a 3-over start after three holes. Bussert started really rolling on the back side when he had consecutive birdies on Nos. 11, 12, and 13.
But his fate was all but sealed with a wayward tee ball on No. 15 that sailed out of bounds and led to a double-bogey when he just missed an 8-foot putt to save bogey.
"That one really hurt," said Bussert, who was coming off a week in which he qualified to play in next month's Illinois Open. "I wish I had that one back."
Bussert, who also logged a T9 finish at the Waterloo Open last week, couldn't bounce back from that in his final three holes.
“There was only one swing that I was disappointed with,” said Bussert of his round. “I really hit it solid and putted well. It played tough out there today. There were spots where if you missed it, it was guaranteed bogey.”
Despite the tough conditions and slick greens, Demory said he hit 15 of 18 greens in regulation in a round that consisted of four birdies — including back-to-back on Nos. 13 and 14 — and just two bogeys — on 3 and 16. Bussert countered four birdies with three bogeys and that fateful double on No. 15.
That two shot swing on 15 gave Demory all the cushion he needed coming in despite a bogey on No. 16.
Skahill, Kyle Yerington (72-74—146) and Ryan Sergeant (71-75—146) all tied for third, two strokes ahead of three-time QC Am winner Ben Peters (72-76—148).
Demory noted the conditions dictated that the “artist” had to be brought out of the golfer to play well.
“It was fun and the course was in great shape,” said Demory, also praising head pro Ron Thrapp for pulling together the tourney on relatively short notice after the coronavirus-forced postponement.
Sandry takes seniors title: In his first foray into senior division play, Bruce Sandry held on for the title in the 50-64 age group.
“I haven't played enough competitive events to get a feel for it again,” said Sandry, a one-time regular on the Quad-City Am Tour who carded a Sunday 79 for a two-day 152 total.
Sandry's biggest bobble was finishing with a double-bogey on the par-5 18th hole. But he still held off Jeff Tucker (77-76—153), Dave Holmes (76-78—154) and Tim Buckwalter (78-77—155) for the crown. Pieter Hanson had the best senior round of the day with a 74 to finish with a 159 total for fifth place.
Be the first to know
Get local news delivered to your inbox!