NORMAL — Kurtis Rogers didn't go to his golf bag and find a white towel to wave. No one really would have blamed him.

Instead, the Decatur captain simply walked over to David Marquardt on No. 12 green at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State and shook hands. Marquardt started quickly with five birdies on the first eight holes and blitzed Rogers, 7 and 6.

And with that, the Signature Cup was officially clinched.

Bloomington-Normal took a seven-point lead into Sunday's singles matches and never let off the accelerator. The host team won 11 of 14 matches and cruised to a 22-6 victory in the Ryder Cup-style event.

"We definitely had some players who played very well out there," said Bloomington-Normal captain Craig Onsrud. "Decatur just had to bring it, but couldn't find it this weekend. That's how I look at it." 

Marquardt was among five Bloomington-Normal golfers to go 3-0 during the weekend. He was joined by Mike Henry and Matt Gumm among the men and Marisa Milligan and Sarah Lyman for the women.

Onsrud, Grant Milling and senior Jay Sparks went 2-0-1, while Mike Cushing was 2-1. All 16 players who competed for Bloomington-Normal earned at least a half-point. 

About the only thing Bloomington-Normal didn't do was set a record for biggest victory margin, which was 23-5 in 2014.

"It's kind of like what I said on Thursday, we have a lot of people playing good golf," said Onsrud, who is Ironwood Golf Course's professional. "It's going to be hard to be beat on your home course."

The rout, which came a year after the teams battled to a 14-all tie at Red Tail Run Golf Club in Decatur, gave Bloomington-Normal a 10-1-1 lead in the series.

Afterwards, Onsrud and Rogers said they'll look at the event's format this winter and possibly make changes going forward, perhaps to an every other year schedule like the Ryder Cup.

"Over the years we've had a lot of relationships built and that is long lasting," said Rogers. "We've had a lot of fun the last three, four, five years where it's been very good competition and not what I would consider on the edge of gamesmanship. That's been really, really wonderful."

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Chad Burrus got Decatur off to a good start Sunday by beating Tom Kearfott, 3 and 2. But that was followed by three Bloomington-Normal victories from Cushing over Matt Bean, 5 and 3; Tyler Weaver beating Kyle Rogers, 5 and 4; and Lyman taking care of Amy Rankin, 5 and 4.

That left a close call between Marquardt and Alan Bardwell for the decisive point to clinch the victory. Marquardt's victory came minutes before Bardwell was finishing off a 3 and 2 win over Daniel Miller.

"They came out guns ablazing," said Kurtis Rogers. "We were back-pedaling and trying to figure out what we were going to do. They had us from the start. They have good players. When their good players play well, it's hard to guard. You have to make more birdies, and it's hard to do."

Marquardt was Bloomington-Normal's hottest player for the weekend. He shot 4-under on his own ball Saturday when he and Gumm teamed up for a best ball victory.

Things didn't change Sunday.

"On the first hole Kurt hit one pretty close and I followed up to foot-and-a-half," said Marquardt. "It was a gimme and he missed the putt. I felt pretty relaxed and comfortable from there on out."

Marquardt had two more kick-in birdies at Nos. 5 and 8. He also sank birdie putts of 10 feet at No. 2 and a 25-foot downhiller at the long par-3 seventh.

"When you see a golfer who plays better than you and makes more birdies than you, then you just congratulate them and say well done," said Kurtis Rogers.

Only two matches came down to the 18th hole, both in the same foursome.

Henry was 3-down with five left against Hunter York before mounting a furious rally, which included birdies on Nos. 15 and 16, that gave him a 1-up victory. Onsrud's birdie putt slipped just past the cup on the 18th as he settled for a halve with Josh Alldridge.

Decatur's other victory came when John Doyle beat Ben Kilborn, 2 and 1. Burrus and Doyle went 2-1 for the weekend to pace Decatur.

Spirit of Signature Cup awards: Henry and Kraig Rogers were named winners of the Richie Hammel Spirit of the Signature Cup awards named in honor of the late Decatur captain and given for sportsmanship, attitude and being a good team player.

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Contact Jim Benson at (309) 820-3404. Follow him on Twitter: @Pg_Benson



Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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