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updated: 7/27/2011 9:09 PM

Arouca wins Illinois Open duel with Schachner

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  • Philip Arouca with his first Illinois Open championship trophy at Hawthorn Woods Country Club.

    Philip Arouca with his first Illinois Open championship trophy at Hawthorn Woods Country Club.
    Courtesy Illinois PGA


On a day of zigs and zags and ups and downs, things ended on a bit of a downer after one final zag by Libertyville's Michael Schachner.

Trailing by just a stroke to Philip Arouca on the final hole of the 62nd Illinois Open at Hawthorn Woods Country Club, Schachner of Libertyville hit a 6-iron from 176 yards to a back left pin.

Only problem was he hit it a little too far left and it landed on top of small rock about 10 feet off the green.

"I wanted to have an opportunity to make a birdie, so I was trying to get it in there," Schachner said. "I just kind of hit it a little fat. It was a bad swing."

His next shot -- from atop the rock -- went directly into a nearby bush and thus the tournament was over and Arouca of Wilmette was a 3-shot champion, finishing at 11 under and ending a day that began nearly five hours late courtesy of some morning thunderstorms.

"It'll definitely sink in when I cash the ($15,000 winner's) check," he said.

Arouca admitted he made things a little tense for himself by double bogeying No. 12 while Schachner birdied to erase Arouca's 3-shot lead.

"It actually could have been a blessing in disguise because I think something clicked for me on the last six holes," Arouca said.

"There was a lot going on out there," said Schachner, who took home $10,000 for his second place finish. "A lot of really good shots ... and a lot of bad ones."

Mike Small's quest for a record-tying fifth Open victory wasn't to be. The University of Illinois golf coach shot 1-under Wednesday and ended up a disappointing 1-over for the tournament.

"I just didn't play well," Small said. "I hit an iron in a guy's back yard, I hit a driver into the water -- I hit some bad shots."

So, Gary Pinns' record of 5 Open wins stands for another year.

"Gary always teases me about it, he says, 'Don't be doing it, don't be getting that thing,'" Small said.

The youngest player in the tournament and in Illinois Open history, 15-year-old Doug Ghim of Buffalo Grove, survived a rough start -- with bogeys on five of his first seven holes -- to rally for a final round 74.

"I had about five or six lip-outs for pars and birdies," the sophomore-to-be said. "It just wasn't the start I was looking for. But I got it rolling better on the second nine."

And his 220 total for three rounds left him in a tie for 37th, capping a three-day event he won't soon forget.

"It was a cool experience," Ghim said. "Plus they have an electronic leaderboard by the putting green ... now that's quite the experience."