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updated: 9/1/2011 12:16 PM

Frank Hohenadel wins 89th Illinois PGA Championship

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  • Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinois PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Champion - Frank Hohenadel of Tinley Park, Ill., holds the Jim Kemper Cup after the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.).

      Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinois PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Champion - Frank Hohenadel of Tinley Park, Ill., holds the Jim Kemper Cup after the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.).

  • Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinis PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Championship Runner-Up - Matt Slowinski of Glen Ellyn, Ill., hits his drive on the 17th hole in the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.

      Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinis PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Championship Runner-Up - Matt Slowinski of Glen Ellyn, Ill., hits his drive on the 17th hole in the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.

  • Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinois PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Champion - Frank Hohenadel of Tinley Park, Ill., hits his approach shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.

      Photo courtesy of Nick Novelli/Illinois PGAThe 89th Illinois PGA Champion - Frank Hohenadel of Tinley Park, Ill., hits his approach shot on the 16th hole during the final round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship which took place on Wednesday, August 31, 2011 at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club.

 
Special to the Daily Herald

At the conclusion of the second round of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship, Frank Hohenadel was asked if he knew Mike Small. He didn't and went on to say that Small didn't know him either, but hopefully he would following the final round.

That hope became reality when Hohenadel was exiting the scoring area, and Small was the first to congratulate him with a handshake.

Hohenadel captured the 89th Illinois PGA Championship going wire-to-wire in his first attempt. He carded a 1-over-par 72 in the final round. His 54-hole total of 207 (-6) was four strokes better than runner-up Matt Slowinski.

"It's all been such a blur," said Hohenadel. "It's been a dream. My goal coming in was to sneak into the top 10 and go to the national event. I've been playing well so I thought I had the potential to do that. Winning it? That was never really a goal."

Hohenadel, 28, PGA assistant golf professional at Midlothian Country Club, arrived to the first tee with Slowinski and was holding a three-stroke advantage. Both players got off to a great start by making birdie on the par-5 first hole. Hohenadel increased his lead to 5 after he made birdie on the par-3 third hole while Slowinski made bogey. Roles revered on the par-3 seventh hole where Hohenadel stumbled with a bogey, and Slowinski took advantage by making his second birdie of the day.

Slowinski, 33, PGA assistant golf professional at Glen Oak Country Club in Glen Ellyn, birdied the par-4 13th hole to cut his deficit down to two strokes. Following the par-4 14th hole, both competitors would be tied for the lead after Hohenadel double-bogeyed.

"I gave away two shots there," said Hohenadel following his round. "I was telling myself, 'It's an even game. Four holes left. Finish strong.'"

And finish strong he did. Hohenadel went on to chip-in for par on No. 15 while Slowinski struggled on the green, missing both his par and bogey putts following a difficult approach shot out of the rough.

"I was just trying to give myself a putt at par," Slowinski said. "I hit both putts exactly as I wanted to. I can't be disappointed in that. There are some tricky breaks out here but that's golf. I'm happy finishing second and qualifying for the National Championship next year in California."

Hohenadel parred his way in while Slowinski bogeyed two of his last three holes, giving Hohenadel the Illinois PGA Championship title.

Defending champion Mike Small, 45, men's head golf coach at the University of Illinois, finished with a 2-over-par 73 and a 54-aggregate total of 212, good for a tie for third place. His record-setting run of eight consecutive titles and nine overall came to an end Wednesday.

"When I played well I won all those tournaments," Small said. "This year I didn't play well, so that's how it should be. You know you won't win every one you play in. I had a good run."

Hohenadel won $12,000 for his victory and qualified for the 45th PGA Professional National Championship, which will be contested June 24-27, 2012, at Bayonet and Black Horse Golf Courses in Seaside, Calif., along with Small and the top 10 finishers. Small is exempt from qualifying for the National Championship, due to his past champion status in the event.

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