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updated: 8/2/2013 9:33 PM

Michigan pro takes IWO title again

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  • Elise Swartout, a Michigan pro, earned the 2013 Phil Kosin Illinois Women's Open title at Mistwood Golf Club with a 3-under 69 on Friday.

      Elise Swartout, a Michigan pro, earned the 2013 Phil Kosin Illinois Women's Open title at Mistwood Golf Club with a 3-under 69 on Friday.
    Photo courtesy of Zach Dillman/This & That Photogr

 
 

There were possibilities for Chicago golfers to make significant history in Friday's final round of the 19th Illinois Women's Open at Mistwood in Romeoville.

Berwyn's Nicole Jeray tried to become the first professional to win the event three times.

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Burr Ridge's Samantha Postillion hoped to give her family a fourth IWO title, her mother Kerry having won three times in the 1990s.

Well, Postillion led for most of the final round and Jeray made it to a playoff -- but neither could overcome Elise Swartout. She became the fifth Michigan golfer in the last six years to win the premiere Illinois event.

Swartout, who played collegiately at Western Michigan and splits her residence now between Ann Arbor and Orlando, Fla., shot the day's low round -- a 3-under-par 69 -- and beat Jeray with a four-foot birdie putt on the second hole of their sudden-death playoff. Swartout set up the winning putt with a 58-degree wedge shot from 82 yards.

In her third year as a professional, Swartout picked up her first win. She will compete in the Ohio Women's Open next week, then goes to LPGA qualifying school. Swartout had struggled on the LPGA's satellite Symetra Tour and spent this year playing in state opens and Canadian events.

"This year has gone really well," she said. "Everything's clicked. I've been playing real solid, and I knew I had it going. Everything was coming together except for winning."

She took care of that problem Friday, putting pressure on the leaders with a starting time an hour earlier than theirs. Postillion led through 11 holes, then made bogey at No. 12 and triple bogey six at the par-3 13th. She faded to a solo fifth-place finish as the low amateur in the field.

Only Jeray, playing with Postillion in the final twosome, was up to Swartouot's challenge after the start of play was delayed an hour by early morning rains. Her only time at the top of the leaderboard came when she holed an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole to force the playoff.

"That was cool," said Jeray, the IWO champion in 1998 and 2003. "Win or lose I was happy to get into the playoff. Of course I wanted to win it, but these young kids are fearless. (Swartout) hit it tight on the first and second holes."

Unlike her LPGA Tour events, Jeray rode a cart in her rounds with her mother Bridget as only a nominal caddie. The most critical part of her week may have been a three-hour putting session with Dr. Jim Suttie, the swing guru who moved his base to Mistwood earlier in the week.

Jeray, who picked up $3,000 for finishing runner-up to the $5,000 that Swartout earned for winning, returns to the LPGA Tour at Richmond, Va., in two weeks and then has events in Canada and Portland. They're critical career-wise for the 42-year-old Jeray, who is the only Chicago player to make it to the LPGA circuit in the last two decades.

"I've got to get in the top 100 to get into the Evian (Masters)," she said. "I'm 111th now, but I can do it if I can putt."

Phil Kosin 19th Illinois Women's Open final results

Mistwood Golf Club, Romeoville

Par: 72 -- 216

T1 Elise Swartout 71 73 69 -- 213

Nicole Jeray 70 73 70 -- 213

T3 Chelsea Harris 73 71 70 -- 214

Caroline Powers 70 73 71 -- 214

5 Samantha Postillion 71 71 74 -- 216

T6 Brittany Atterbury 75 73 71 -- 219

Jennifer Hong 75 72 72 -- 219

P. Phuntumaabamrung 72 75 72 -- 219

Ginny Brown 73 72 74 -- 219

Kris Yoo 73 70 76 -- 219

T11 Jackie Szymoniak 72 78 70 -- 220

Erica Popson 70 76 74 -- 220

T13 Alexandra Steward 74 75 72 -- 221

Katie Jean 71 78 72 -- 221

Lisbeth Brooks 76 71 74 -- 221

Heather Angell 75 71 75 -- 221

Katie Dick 71 72 78 -- 221

T18 Milena Savich 73 73 77 -- 223

Erika Malik 72 74 77 -- 223

20 Jessica Yuen 74 78 72 -- 224

21 Morgan Jackson 73 76 76 -- 225

22 Jessica Hauser 74 77 75 -- 226

23 Colleen McSween 74 79 74 -- 227

T24 Kristi Cardwell 77 75 76 -- 228

Jessica Smith 72 79 77 -- 228

T26 Leighann Cabush 76 77 76 -- 229

Sam Troyanovich 75 78 76 -- 229

Jennifer Niemiec 79 72 78 -- 229

29 Mari Chun 75 76 79 -- 230

30 Chelsea Bach 72 78 81 -- 231

T31 Kelly Voigt 76 77 79 -- 232

Kim Anderson 75 77 80 -- 232

Megan Godfrey 72 79 81 -- 232

34 Cynthia Bounleutay 78 75 84 -- 237

• For more golf news, check out lenziehmongolf.com. Len can be contacted by email at lenziehm@gmail.com.

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