116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
MARION — As the final golfers finished up their first rounds Thursday afternoon in the TrueNorth Greater Cedar Rapids Open, Solon native Sterling McIlravy headed to the clubhouse at even par to find his newlywed wife, Logan.
One of the benefits of being “local” is the ability to unwind with your loved ones while much of the field drawn in by the $30,000 winner’s purse has to settle into hospitable, yet unfamiliar surroundings between rounds.
“It’s a double bonus because not only do I have my wife there, but also my parents and siblings,” said McIlravy, the son of Iowa wrestling great Lincoln McIlravy. Sterling recently moved with Logan to his family’s home in Solon while decisions on his future were being made.
Sterling and Logan met at Iowa Lakes in 2017 during his freshman year when they both played on the golf team.
After a year together at Iowa Lakes, McIlravy transferred to Kirkwood, where he redshirted to fix eight torn ligaments in his ankle.
“I thought I had torn one ligament and it got to the point where it would bug me after every round,” McIlravy said. “There was a piece floating in there and it would get pinched and it would just drop me.”
After a successful 2019 with the Eagles, the 2020 season was canceled for Kirkwood and McIlravy decided to move on to Ball State in Muncie, Ind.
It was not a good fit.
“Nothing against the state of Indiana,” McIlravy said. “I like being home. I like Cedar Rapids, I like Solon, I like everything around here. Everything about being in Iowa is very comforting for me.”
With two years of college eligibility left, a decision had to be made.
“After talking with Bryan (Haas, swing coach), my wife and my parents, we decided that going pro is the best thing for my career,” McIlravy said.
So two weeks ago, he played in the Iowa Am for the final time and registered last week for the Waterloo Open as a pro.
“Basically when I go to enter for a tournament, I click the pro box,” McIlravy said. “That’s the only difference.”
That and he is now condo shopping with Logan in the Tiffin area.
“It’d be great (to earn a decent payday this week), but I didn’t turn professional for the money,” McIlravy said. “I did it because I want to eventually compete against the best in the world. The goal is to never get consumed by making money and to just continue to enjoy playing golf.”
At 7-under par with a first-round 65, Carson Roberts secured the lead with six birdies and an eagle. He is tied with Ethan Brue atop the leaderboard. Seth Fair is third (66).