Andrew Ruthkoski, Muskegon, MI - photo by Jeff Reiter
Wheaton, Illinois – October 7, 2014 – For the second consecutive year the Chicago Open produced a champion who plans to use the event as a stepping stone to the PGA TOUR.
Andy Ruthkoski, 31, of Muskegon, Michigan, won the championship with a 10-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a two-man sudden death playoff at Cantigny Golf in this far western Chicago suburb.
Coming in second was Casey Pyne, 26, of downstate Bloomington, Illinois, who could manage only a par on the final hole, the 18th on the venue’s Lakeside nine. Both players finished regulation play of the 54-hole event at 2-under par, as three days of high winds and temperatures mostly in the 50s made for challenging scoring conditions.
Among five players tied for third at even par were defending champion and Elgin native Carlos Sainz, Jr. - who recently earned conditional status on the PGA TOUR - and University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small, a former Tour player whose Illini team currently is ranked No. 1 in the nation.
A 2005 graduate of Michigan State, Ruthkoski took home $10,000 of the tournament’s $50,000 purse, and now will move on to the first stage of the PGA TOUR’s Web.com qualifying school tournament, Oct. 21-24 in Pinehurst, North Carolina.
This was the 100th anniversary of the first playing of the Chicago Open, which began in 1914 and boasts such Hall-of-Fame past champions as Gene Sarazen, Sam Snead, Ben Hogan (three victories), Byron Nelson (two), Ken Venturi (two) and former World No. 1 Luke Donald. Since its revival last year after a 13-year hiatus, the tournament has been conducted by and for the benefit of the Illinois Junior Golf Association.