GOLF: Wiggins, Illig win club championships
Ian Illig and Colton Wiggins know their way around area golf courses.
Both 18-year-olds claimed club championships Sunday, and neither tournament was particularly close.
Illig, of Homer City, rode a dominating first round to the Chestnut Ridge Golf Course title, finishing at 135 to win by 12 strokes. Wiggins, of Indiana, won the Meadow Lane championship, at 142, 10 strokes ahead of his closest competitors.
“It’s a fight every year and we have fun,” Wiggins said. “Sometimes it goes your way, sometimes it doesn’t. For the other guys today, I guess it didn’t go their way. I was just feeling it. There’s nothing you can do about it, that’s just golf.”
Wiggins won his third championship at Meadow Lane. Illig’s win was his first, in just his second try, at the Blairsville course.
“I played in some other tournaments, but this is really the last tournament I get to play in before I leave for school,” said Illig, a 2013 Homer-Center High School graduate who will attend Campbell University in North Carolina, “so I really wanted to go out with a bang where I felt like I had accomplished this summer in golf. It was pretty much the last thing this summer I really wanted to win.”
Illig shot a 7-under-par 64 in the first round Saturday, giving him plenty of breathing room Sunday in the final round.
“I didn’t really do anything spectacular, but I hit a lot of really good approach shots,” he said of his first round. “I hit 17 of 18 greens. … I was on the green and having putts for birdie on almost every hole, and I made a couple good ones, a couple long ones.”
Illig fired an even-par 71 on Sunday, which was more than enough for the championship. Chris Matava took second at 147, and Mike Dixson and Shawn McMillan tied for third at 153.
“I didn’t want to have my mindset as going out there trying not to screw it up,” Illig said. “I wanted to go out there and think I was on a clean slate with everybody else and play. That way I don’t start thinking about a number and start messing it up.”
Wiggins fired an even-par 70, with a 3-under 32 on the front nine Sunday, including an eagle on the par-4 No. 3. He opened the round a stroke behind Ray Blystone.
“I felt pretty comfortable coming into today,” Wiggins said. “I just played the same golf I’ve always played.
“The front nine really got the round started, and I didn’t have to do too much on the back nine. Luckily, they didn’t do anything fantastic, or I didn’t have to match anything.”
Rick Adair, Kevin Jack and Rick Moorhead tied for second at 152. Blystone shot an 84 to finish sixth.
“It seems like we have a pretty elite championship flight,” Wiggins said. “There are eight other guys this year and they’re all great golfers. We can all play great. I’m just playing the best I can, and that was enough against these guys. That’s always great. Win or lose, it’s always fun playing against the same group of guys, because we all get along.”
Wiggins, who will be a sophomore at IUP this fall, will try again next week to add to his title haul in the Indian Springs Golf and Country Club championship. The last person to hold the title at Meadow Lane and the VFW course at the same time was Colton’s grandfather, Walt Wiggins.
“It’s always nice to get the first one out of the way, then maybe try for another one,” Colton Wiggins said. “That would be nice, too.”
Kathy Glassford pulled away for her second straight and third overall ladies’ championship at Meadow Lane. She began the day a stroke behind Vicky Nastase and one ahead of Kathy Whitesel, then shot an 87 to finish at 172, five ahead of Nastase and Whitesel.
Other flight champions at Meadow Lane were: Todd Redinger (160), first; Garet Weston (161), second; Jeff Cribbs (172), third; Todd Drzewiecki (182), fourth; and Adair, senior. Wiggins also won the junior championship.
Other flight winners at Chestunt Ridge were: Adam Dunlap (155), first; Chad Yancy (163), second; Bob Elder (172), third; and Emily Slifka (180), fourth.