On an absolutely perfect day for championship golf, Baley Lehr dominated the course to defend his Illinois Valley Men’s Golf Championship against the largest field in years.
“It always feels great to win and to beat a large and competitive field felt even better,” Lehr said.
Lehr carded an even par on the front nine before he put the tournament away with a birdie barrage as he sank four in a row.
“I really grinded the first nine and then things just felt better on the second nine and I really felt good,” said Lehr, who fired a 69 on Saturday to enter Sunday with a one-shot lead over his father, Brian, and a three-stroke lead over five other golfers. “I hit long drives that led to short pitch shots and makeable putts.’
Lehr cruised through the last five holes at even par to outlast his nearest competitor by seven shots with a two day total of 137.
The two nearest pursuers were Troy Bauer and Jesse Cavanaugh, who each carded a 144.
Bauer shot a blistering 66 on Sunday, including a 32 on the front nine, but began too far behind to catch Lehr after shooting a 78 on Saturday.
Bauer took second place over Cavanaugh — who carded a 72 on Saturday — on a scorecard playoff.
“I knew Troy put up a 66 and Jesse was there too as well as (tournament co-director) Mason (Kimberly), so I wanted to stay focused and play the golf course,” Lehr said. “The course was in really great shape. To be truthful, both courses were very fair and played well. The pin placements were fair. They did a great job.”