Nick Hardy feeling back at home in Illinois during Lincoln Land Championship

Nick Hardy feeling back at home in Illinois during Lincoln Land Championship


SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — University of Illinois graduate Nick Hardy has been pleased with his success so far this season on the Korn Ferry Tour.

That continued after the first round of the Lincoln Land Championship on Thursday at Panther Creek Country Club.

Hardy started at 4-under through the first seven holes and finished at 2-under 71.

“I played well the first few holes,” said Hardy, who began on No. 10. “I think those are more of the easier holes on the course. I was happy to take care of those and play well on those.”

Hardy, 24, is 16th in the KFT point standings with five top-10 finishes, including a third-place finish in The Bahamas Great Abaco Classic at Baha Mar in January.

“I’m in good shape on the points list,” the Northbrook native said. “I’ve been playing this summer. I’m happy with how consistent my game has been week in and week out. There’s been a lot of positives to take away from this year.”

Hardy attributed that to a positive mindset, something he needed down the stretch. He had three bogeys on the last nine holes but also two birdies. His tee shot on No. 8 forced a punch-out that led to a long bunker shot to the pin.

He salvaged a bogey and converted a tricky two-putt to save par on No. 9 to close the round.

Hardy said he was pretty happy with his day overall.

“I just made some mistakes today,” Hardy said. “I had four bogeys but I played pretty well. The wind’s going to pick up this afternoon, so I got a good number in for a first round. So, I’m still in it for the weekend.”

Hardy, who last appeared in this tournament two years ago, feels nothing but good vibes, even if some of his college acquaintances and all of the spectators can’t come out to see him play due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“I love central Illinois. It’s obviously close to home for me and I love it here,” he said.

“With the COVID going on, you obviously can’t have spectators out here otherwise I’m sure there would be some buddies that would come out here. It’s too bad but it’s just good to be back here.”

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