Four-way tie for Illinois Women's Open lead

Two-time winner Nicole Jeray and Sarah Burnhan, Hannah Kim and Lexi Harkins, three recent college graduates turned pro, share the lead at 4-under-par 68 after one round of the Illinois Women's Open. The story is on our News page.

Michael Kim runs to record victory in John Deere Classic

Michael Kim romped to a nine-stroke victory Sunday in the 48th John Deere Classic, setting a scoring record – 257 strokes – and getting surprised by his parents at the 18th green in the process. The final-round story is on our News page.

Kim led by five entering the final round. The story on Round 3 is on our News page.

Kim led by four at the conclusion of Friday's play. The story on Round 2 is on our News Page.

The tournament started with Steve Wheatcroft's 62 and defender Bryson DeChambeau's injury-related withdrawal. The full story on Round 1 and more on our News page.

U.S. Senior Women's Open, Senior Players, John Deere previewed in special edition of Illinois Golfer

The biggest week in Illinois golf in memory is here, and so is our 30-page special edition previewing it. Inside you'll find a comprehensive preview of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open, plus previews of the Senior Players Championship and our perennial, the John Deere Classic. Enjoy!

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor 

Park's WPGA victory spotlighted in July's Illinois Golfer

July’s Illinois Golfer is a firecracker – click here or on the cover to download – featuring on-the-scene tournament reports on:

• Sung Hyun Park’s playoff victory in the Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes;

• Emilee Hoffman’s charge to the title in the Women’s Western Amateur at Mistwood;

• The amateur squad’s comeback victory in the Radix Cup at Oak Park;

• and David Perkins’ sudden-death triumph over Illinois State teammate Trent Wallace in the CDGA Amateur at Briarwood;

• plus wrapups on the Illinois Junior and Lincoln Land Championship, notes from here and there, and commentary on the pace of play in the LPGA, along with the schedule, stats and the most complete course guide in Illinois!

And we’re happy to announce a mid-July issue, featuring previews of the maddest week in golf: the John Deere Classic, Senior Players Championship and the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open! 

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor

WPGA to Sung Hyun Park in sudden-death

Writing from Kildeer, Illinois

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Happy Canada Day!

Sung Hyun Park isn’t flashy, but she gets the job done.

Making birdies on both holes of a sudden-death playoff, for instance.

That gets the job done.

Park did that on Sunday afternoon to win the 64th Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club.

In a three-way playoff with fellow South Korean So Yeon Ryu and Japan teen sensation Nasa Hataoka, she birdied the 18th to match Ryu, then ran in a seven-footer for birdie on the 16th after a brief thunderstorm delay to win her second major championship in as many years.

Maybe it could have been seen coming. Park played her last 30 holes without a bogey, and had only three bogeys all week. She scored 3-under-par 69 on Sunday to finish at 10-under 278. She had opened with a bogey-free 66.

Now she’s a double major winner, the Women’s PGA on her resume to go with last year’s U.S. Women’s Open title.

“This is one step forward,” Park, 24, said through an interpreter. “I still can’t believe what I’ve done, but I’m really happy.”

Park started the day four strokes behind Ryu, but her 69 combined with Ryu’s 1-over 73 was almost overlooked considering Hataoka’s course record of 8-under 64. She can be overlooked no longer. With her Korean nickname, “Dan Gong,” which translates to “Shut up and attack,” she never should have been.

Park’s 1-under 35 on the inward nine featured a 14-foot birdie putt on the par-4 14th and a brilliant par save from the edge of the water hazard on the 16th. She could have made anything with a bad shot, but her perfect chopped-out wedge stopped 2 1/2 feet from the cup for a kick-in par save. It was the shot of the championship.

“It was my first time hitting from that kind of spot,” Park said. “I did what I do with a bunker shot. I felt, ‘I got this!’ when I hit it.”

Thus, the fist pump, a rare display of emotion for her. And finally, a tear or three when she was awarded the trophy.

“I do my fist ceremony when I’m really focused in the game,” Park said. “If I play better in the future, you’ll see a lot of fist ceremonies. It’s my first time feeling this kind of emotion.”

Park had to match Ryu’s birdie putt on the first playoff hole, Kemper’s 18th, and did so, making a 10-footer to send the playoff to the second extra hole after Ryu dropped an 18-footer from the fringe.

“I think I was in my zone,” Ryu said. “I knew where the line was. That was a really great putt. I thought that would be it.”

It elicited the biggest cheer of the day from the biggest gallery of the week, forced Park to match.

Ryu got to the playoff in madcap fashion, with two lipouts on the second hole leading to a double-bogey, rolling in a 30-foot birdie putt on the 16th, dunking her tee shot on the par-3 17th to set up another double bogey, and two-putting for par at the last to finish off her 73.

“Maybe the biggest regret is 17,” Ryu said. “I don’t think it was a really bad shot. I just drew it more than I expected, and the wind just took it really hard to the left.”

Hataoka, at 2-under starting the final round, roared into contention with two birdies and an eagle on the par-5 seventh to go out in 4-under 32. A bogey on the 10th was followed by a second eagle on the par-5 11th, and birdies on Nos. 12, 15 and 16 got her to 10-under, where she finished after par saves from a bunker and the back collar on the last two holes. The 8-under 64 set a women’s course record at Kemper Lakes and is the lowest final round in LPGA / Women’s PGA Championship history.

“Finally, I was able to play my game today,” Hataoka said through an interpreter.

Hataoka, the 19-year-old winner in Arkansas last week, finished at 1:09 p.m., when Ryu was 12-under through 12 holes. She had a two-hour wait, the last 30-odd minutes was spent practicing, before commencing the playoff. She hit the fairway with her tee shot on the 18th but hammered her 7-iron approach to the back collar, from which she wasn’t able to convert for birdie after Ryu rolled hers in from the collar.

“I did feel nervous going in, but haven’t won a major so I had nothing to lose,” Hataoka said. “When I finished, I didn’t think I’d be in a playoff. Before the tournament started, I thought double-digits under par would be a good score, so I’m pleased with that.”

Jessica Korda (closing 68) and Angel Yin tied for fourth at 7-under 281, and ended up the low Americans. Defending champion Danielle Kang finished tied for 33rd at 2-over 290 with a closing 73.

 

Around Kemper Lakes

 

Brooke Henderson’s temper got the better of her on the 11th hole. After hitting a poor chip from behind the green that got nowhere near the putting surface, she slammed her wedge against the bag, snapping the shaft in two. That left her a club short the rest of the way. She escaped with a par and a red face after the Canadian’s fireworks display on Canada Day, and finished tied for sixth at 6-under 282. ... Sung Hyun Park’s 286-yard driving average was best of the leaders on Sunday and second-best overall, behind only Maude-Aimee LeBlanc (293 yards). ... Ryu was going for her third career major to go with titles in the ANA Inspiration and the U.S. Women’s Open. ...

Sunday’s scoring average was 73.32, with 21-under par rounds. The 16th hole played the toughest (4.370) and the 18th third-toughest (4.288), but the par-3 17th was a relative pushover at 3.096, 11th most difficult. Jeong Eun Lee’s quintuple-bogey 9 at the 16th skewed that hole’s average. ... The course averaged 73.89 strokes for the week, with a ringer score of 49. The eighth hole proved toughest, at 4.254 strokes, but the par-3 13th yielded the fewest birdies (27). ... 

The size of the gallery was much larger on Sunday, with hundreds of cars parked in the public lot at the Lake County Fairgrounds, a 20-minute ride away. The crowd, perhaps 10,000 including guests of title sponsor KPMG, gave the final round the feel of something important. That atmosphere had been lacking the first two days, and wasn’t much better on Saturday, though in that case the heat index of 108 surely kept some people away. It was only 100 on Sunday. ... A 15-minute lightning delay at 3:45 p.m. stopped the playoff with Park and Ryu waiting to putt on the 16th green. ... How not to finish: four-putt the last green, as Mel Reid did for a double-bogey on No. 9 to follow bogeys on the previous two holes (including a three-putt on the eighth hole) for a closing 6-over 78. ...

Next on the horizon: In less than two weeks, the triple-header of the inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club in Wheaton, the Senior Players Championship at Exmoor Country Club in Highland Park, and the John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis.

Tim Cronin

Hoffman 8 and 7 winner over Nowlin in Women’s Western Am Final

Writing from Romeoville, Illinois

Saturday, June 30, 2018

Emilee Hoffman opened the 118th championship match of the Women’s Western Amateur with an unusual eagle 2. The California-based Texas Longhorn ended it with a 35-foot birdie putt that never wavered from its target.

That putt, her ninth birdie of the day, brought her an 8 and 7 victory over Tristyn Nowlin of Richmond, Ky., and the Illinois golf team, in the double-round final.

She didn’t know it. So focused was Hoffman, she began to walk off the green to Mistwood Golf Club’s 12th tee until referee CeCe Durbin announced the outcome.

“I thought we had one more hole,” Hoffman said. “I had no idea.”

That’s focus. Hoffman all but had blinders on in the course of her dissection of Nowlin, a friend from junior golf and even now an occasional foe on the college scene. She hit fairway after fairway, green after green, and made putts from near and far in the course of not only Saturday’s final, but the entire week. She started with a 7-under-par 65 in the first round of stroke-play qualifying to match the course and Women’s Western Am 18-hole records, and then had seven birdies in Saturday morning’s 18.

Add in the opening deuce and Hoffman posted the match play equivalent of a 64 en route to her 7-up advantage at lunchtime. In other words, Hoffman was the windshield and Nowlin was the bug.

The Women’s Western is second in American amateur golf only to the U.S. Women’s Amateur, with a glittering list of champions. The last three to pull off the medalist-champion double before Hoffman are Stacy Lewis (2006), Ariya Jutanugarn (2012) and Mika Liu (2014). The first two of those three have gone on to capture major championships.

“I don’t even know how to describe it,” Hoffman said after posing for photos with the W.A. Alexander Cup. “I was talking early in the week about how prestigious this event is. It’s just truly an honor. I’m still in shock.”

Her future is bright, especially when her putting is on. She said her game is from tee to green – and that, like her efficiently simple swing, was tremendous – but nine birdies in 29 holes always works. Among the highlights was a stretch of three straight birdies in the morning – a 20-footer on the 11th, a three-footer on the 12th and a 15-footer on the 13th – and a 20-footer for a three on the par-4 10th hole in the afternoon. That got her back to 7-up, and the downhill 35-footer on the next green finished off the match.

“I’ve struggled with my putting for the last year,” Hoffman said. “I’ve worked on it once I got back from college, and it feels so good to see some of the hard work starting to pay off.”

Nowlin was gracious, saying “If you had told me at the beginning of the week I’d make it to the final match, I’d be perfectly fine with that.”

Things went off the beam from the start. Her tee shot on the first hole went wild and she conceded the hole before Hoffman had to hit her second shot. That went down as a 2 on the card for the par-4. Nowlin won the second hole with a birdie – one of two for her in the match – but never really got untracked.

“Today, I really don’t know what it was,” Nowlin said. “I wasn’t really catching them solid. I’d hit a couple left, a couple right. And Emilee is such a great player, she never got herself out of position. Maybe she was out of position once. But that’s golf. That’s how it goes.

“The tough part was, when I’m not comfortable with my swing, I won’t hit aggressive shots. I’ll play the safe shot. But I got down so much, I was forced to hit aggressive shots. The execution just wasn’t there.”

Around Mistwood

Both players had their fathers as caddies. Phil Nowlin is a maintenance worker at a Toyota plant in Kentucky, while Jeff Hoffman has enough time off from his job to be a scratch golfer as well. He’s Emilee’s swing coach, and almost couldn’t caddie for her. Only losing in the sectional qualifying playoff for the U.S. Senior Open, being held this week in Colorado Springs, got him on the bag for his daughter. ... Both players will be juniors in college in the fall. Hoffman, from Folsom, Calif., vows to stay in college before giving the LPGA a shot, which bodes well for a defense of her title at a Chicago-area site yet to be determined in 2019.

Tim Cronin

Henderson shares lead at WPGA, Ko lurks

Writing from Kildeer, Illinois

Friday, June 29, 2018

For several years, Lydia Ko was the name in women’s golf.

A bespectacled New Zealander, Ko beat pros as a teenage amateur, hitting fairways and greens with monotonous regularity, and sank putts from near and far routinely. Ko was a threat every time she teed it up, and the same was true after she turned pro.

She went to contact lenses and kept winning, including two major championships. Then Ko started using David Leadbetter as her teacher, and the winning all but stopped. Last year was her first winless season.

Ko, all of 21, no longer goes to Leadbetter for advice, and is winning again. A recent victory at Lake Merced Golf Club in San Francisco was her first since the 2016 Marathon Classic.

Friday’s 6-under-par 66 at Kemper Lakes Golf Club on Friday morning was a big step to her winning a third major championship. It moved her to 4-under 140 through 36 holes of the 67th Women’s PGA Championship, two strokes behind co-leaders Brooke Henderson, So Yeon Ryu and Sung Hyun Park, major champions all.

They’re at 6-under 138, with Spain’s Carlota Ciganda alone in fourth at 5-under 139. Ko, Moriya Jutanugarn and Annie Park – the only American among the leaders – are joint fifth at 140.

“I was able to hole some putts,” Ko said of her eight-birdie round, which included five straight at one juncture. “Did I change my setup? Not that I know of.”

Something changed, and it worked. Maybe it was the ethereal notion of mental attitude.

“My goal was just to make the cut,” Ko said, and understandably since she was 2-over at breakfast, dodgy territory for a player in quest of playing the weekend. “I had small goals, wanted to take small steps.”

Beginning with dropping a left-to-right 15-footer on the first hole, those steps added up. She also birdied the third hole, and then Nos. 8 through 13 to race to 7-under. Bogeys on the 14th and 16th set her back, but a birdie on the par-3 17th brought the smile back.

So did winning at Lake Merced to break the drought.

“It gave me a lot of confidence,” Ko admitted.

That characterization can also be applied to Henderson, who specializes in stalking the leader board of this tournament. The 20-year-old Canadian’s second round 1-under 71 might be a rather pedestrian score, but the combination of five birdies and four bogeys puts her at 6-under 138 entering the weekend. Given that she’s tied for fifth, won and taken solo second in her three WPGA starts, look out.

“Definitely the birdies are a good sign, the bogeys not so much,” Henderson said. “But it was tough early this morning, really windy, and it just took a couple holes to adjust to that.”

The last birdie was at the last, a 12-footer that, she said, “makes me feel a little bit better. I feel I can see the line really well on this course, and I’ve been hitting putts with solid speed.”

That duo, as well as Ryu and Park, played before the afternoon heat and humidity got ridiculous. At 4 p.m., it was 92.4 degrees with a heat index of 106, according to the club’s weather station. The only mitigating factor was a southwest wind of about 12 mph, if standing in front of a blast furnace with a fan can be considered a mitigating factor.

Two-time major winner Ryu, who played in Ko’s group, celebrated her 28th birthday with a second straight 69, and called it “one of the best birthday gifts I’ve ever got.”

Her five birdies – three in four holes – included a chip-in bird, but more than that, she only had 26 putts on Kemper Lakes’ slickening greens.

“Right now I feel really great on the putting green, so all I need to do is just keep confidence on the greens and on the golf course, Ryu said.

Park’s also won a major, last year’s U.S. Women’s Open, which proves that Kemper Lakes, as it did in the 1989 PGA Championship, when Arnold Palmer contended early and Payne Stewart succeeded late, brings the best in the field to the top of the scoreboard. 

Around Kemper Lakes

Defending champion Danielle Kang scored 3-under 69 and is at 2-under 142. But for bogeys on her 16th and 18th holes, she’d be two off the lead. Her birdie on the par-5 fourth, a dogleg guarded by water, was amazing, in that her tee shot splashed into the pond, but her fourth splashed into the cup from 112 yards. “I hit it pure into the water, so I wasn’t really upset,” Kang said. Her bogeys down the stretch – a missed three-foot putt on No. 7 and a missed two-footer on No. 9 – were because, she said, she “kind of hit a wall, to be honest. I’m an aggressive player, and I kept pushing, and my body started getting really tired.” ...

Lee-Anne Pace was off the pace in the second round, and a few holes after getting angry and hitting a stake with her sand wedge, was out of the tournament completely. The wedge had been damaged by the slash at the stake at the eighth hole, which she double-bogeyed, and she realized it when the ball came off the clubface strangely out of a greenside bunker on the 14th hole. Pace called an official over and realized she’d damaged the club outside the normal course of play. Since she’d used it again, she was disqualified. Pace was 6-over at the time. ... Angel Lin authored the shot of the day, a chip-in for an eagle 3, the highlight of her 3-under 69 for a 36-hole aggregate of 2-under 142. She finished her round 3-3-3-3. ...

The pace of play was abysmally slow again. When Golf Channel’s replay began at 7 p.m., Jaye Marie Green was one off the lead and had four holes to play. She birdied the par-5 15th to tie for the lead, but triple-bogeyed the watery par-3 17th to fall three off the pace and finished tied for eighth with a 2-over 74 for 3-under 141. Her round took 5 hours 45 minutes. ... Amelia Lewis fired a sextuple-bogey 11 on the par-5 seventh hole en route to an untidy 81. She totaled 14-over 158, but even an albatross on the hole would have placed her at 149, and missing the cut (3-over 147) anyway. ... There were only 18 rounds under par in the second round, compared to 50 in the first. ... Attendance was either affected by the heat or disinterest, or both, and seemed to be around 5,500. 

Tim Cronin

It’s Hoffman and Nowlin in the Women’s Western Final

Medalist Emilee Hoffman did Friday what the medalist in most match play competitions does not. She advanced to the championship match – in this case of the 118th Women’s Western Amateur. Hoffman will meet Illinois junior Tristyn Nowlin in Saturday’s 36-hole final at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville. It's a 7:30 a.m. start.

Hoffman, from Folsom, Calif., scored a 6 and 5 victory over Brigitte Thibault, Quebec City, in the morning quarterfinal, then beat Katharine Patrick of West University Place, Tex., 1 up in the semifinal, surviving the steambath that Mistwood is on a hot afternoon.

Nowlin, the pride of Richmond, Ky., scored a 3 and 2 quarterfinal victory over Mokena’s Brianne Bolden, the last Illinois player in the field, and beat Ellie Szeryk of Allen, Tex., and Uxbridge, Ont., 2 and 1 in her semifinal.

Hoffman will be a junior at Texas in the fall, and already has an all-Big 12 team honor to her credit. She was also part of the winning team in the 2017 World University Games.

Nowlin was an all-Big Ten second team selection as a sophomore this season, and scored the second-best season average (72.59) in Fighting Illini women’s golf history. Her best finish was a tie for second in the MountainView Collegiate in March. She’s already no worse than solo second in the Women’s Western.

Whoever wins will join a list of champions that includes Ariya Jutanugarn and Stacy Lewis, both of whom are competing in this week’s Women’s PGA Championship at Kemper Lakes Golf Club.

Women’s Western medalist Hoffman, Mokena's Bolden through to quarterfinals

Emilee Hoffman, the medalist in the 118th Western Amateur Championship, scored victories in two matches on Thursday at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville, to advance to Friday morning’s quarterfinal round.

Hoffman, from Folsom, Calif., meets Brigitte Thibault of Quebec City at 7:30 a.m.

Friday morning’s other matches pit Magdalene Simmermacher of Buenos Aries, Argentina, against Katharine Patrick of West University Place, Tex., Brianne Bolden of Mokena, the last Illinois participant, against Tristyn Nowlin of Richmond, Ky., and Ellie Szeryk, who lives in Allen, Tex. and registers out of Uxbridge, Ont., against Allisen Corpuz of Waipahu, Hawaii.

Corpuz was the medalist in the 2016 Women’s Western Amateur, while Szeryk, who holds dual U.S and Canadian citizenship and is the younger sister of 2017 winner Maddie Szeryk. She’s already committed to follow her sister to Texas A&M.

Bolden, second in last year’s IHSA Class 2A championship, turned back Madeline Sager of Charleston, S.C., 6 and 5 in her Round of 32 match, and then beat Emilia Miglaccio of Cary, N.C., 3 and 2.

Patrick had the toughest time in the Sweet Sixteen round, needing 22 holes to subdue Northwestern graduate Janet Mao of Johns Creek, Ga.

The semifinals are set for Friday afternoon, with the 36-hole final starting Saturday morning.

Kang fights through pain; Sung Hyun Park leads WPGA

Writing from Kildeer, Illinois

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Danielle Kang had a day like many of the countless thousands who have played Kemper Lakes Golf Club over the years.

She played nine holes, then threw up.

Blame it not on the golf course, or how she was playing, but what she had for breakfast.

“The chocolate chip waffles,” Kang said after opening her defense of the Women’s PGA Championship with a 1-over-par 73. “I think it was the waffles.”

The whole waffle, she explained. Having eaten half of one, she couldn’t push away from the table and gobbled up the other half, never mind her sensitive stomach.

It came back to bite her.

“I watch what I eat really well; but this morning I ate (the waffle),” Kang said. “I was hesitant about it and then I still went for it. It was good when I ate it.”

Few knew anything was amiss until she doubled over in pain before hitting her second shot on the 18th hole. She also felt it on the 16th, where a bad third shot cascaded into a double-bogey 6.

“I tried just to hit through (the pain) and I hit it way too hard,” Kang said. “It was a good double, I guess.”

Kang sits seven painful strokes behind leader Sung Hyun Park entering Friday’s second round. Park scorched Kemper Lakes for a women’s course record bogey-free 6-under-par 66, birdieing four of her first seven holes and then comparatively coasting home. The 24-year-old South Korean won last year’s U.S. Women’s Open and tied for 14th in last year’s Women’s PGA at Olympia Fields.

“I really liked how it felt,” Park said. “I changed my putter and some change in my putting routine.”

Park needed only 27 putts to get around the Ken Killian-Dick Nugent layout with her TaylorMade Black blade.

Behind her is a logjam, starting with Jessica Korda, Jaye Marie Green, Brooke Henderson and Brittany Altomore, who scored 5-under 67 and are tied for second. Korda was in first, establishing a women’s course record, and she and Green held a share of the lead until Park finished at 6:40 p.m. to grab the lead and the course record as well. Henderson and Altomore finished shortly thereafter.

Korda, the older of the two sisters on the LPGA Tour, scattered six birdies across her scorecard on a virtually windless day, against only a bogey on the par-4 10th, in stitching together a 5-under-par round.

“Finally, a golf course that benefits the long hitters,” Korda said of Kemper Lakes, which played to 6,635 yards on Thursday, and featured six par 4s of 390 yards or longer.

She hit only 11 fairways and 11 greens, but scrambled well. Only on the 10th, a normally benign start to the back nine, did missing the fairway cost her. For instance, she missed the fairway on the par-4 fifth but made birdie.

“I could finally hit drivers and had kind of mid-irons to shorter irons in,” Korda said. “It wasn’t a wedge on every hole and an iron or 3-wood off every tee. I had a good time.

“This is a major, and it played like a major golf course.”

It was also a golf course with a reasonably easy set-up. Holes were often set in the corners of greens, but not the corners hidden by bunkers or water. Expect more pernicious pin placements as the week goes on.

Green, with brother Matt on her bag as usual, birdied four of her last 10 holes, including the par-4 ninth to finish off her 67.

Henderson, the winner in 2016 and runner-up to Kang last year, outdid Green, making birdies on seven of her last 10, with a front-nine 6-under 30, after bogeying her first two holes and parring the next six. Her final birdie putt, on the ninth hole, was a 40-footer.

“I felt like I was hitting the ball great and making a lot of putts,” Henderson said. “There’s some long par-4s out here, and having a few shorter clubs than my competitors is a big advantage. I can take some bunkers out of play, which makes the fairway a lot wider.”

Altomore played the front nine in 4-under to finish the day.

There were 50 rounds under par and another 20 at par, which makes the likely cut to the low 70 players Friday at 1-under or less. Unless the wind blows, that is, and the expected heat takes its toll.

Around Kemper Lakes

The fabled final three holes took their measure of some players, but not Lauren Kim. She parred 16 and birdied 17 and 18 to finish her first nine, en route to an opening 71. Hyo Joo Kim matched that, while Alena Sharp birdied 15-16-17 before parring 18 to go out in 2-under 34. Stacy Lewis matched Sharp’s exploit by saving par at the last after her trio of birds. The holes played fourth, ninth and 13th hardest, with 18 yielding more birdies (30) than any par-4 except the first hole. ... The scoring average was 73.31. ... There were two aces: Lexi Thompson with an 8-iron on the 166-yard fifth hole, and Brittany Marchand with a 5-iron on the 175-yard 17th. Marchand won a car with her 1. ... 

Galleries in the middle of Lake County didn’t look any larger than those at Olympia Fields at the south end of Cook County last year. There were 80 people watching the Kang-Aryia Jutanagarn (even par 72)-Inbee Park (1-over 73) marquee group when they made the turn, albeit at about 10:30 a.m., and some 30 followed Michelle Wie and her group to the first tee after they played the 18th. No attendance was announced, but it’s unlikely more than 5,000 people were on the grounds through the day. It was steamy – 88 degrees with 98 percent humidity at one point – and is forecast to be oppressive on Friday and Saturday. ...

The pace of play was slow, with morning rounds averaging about five hours. ... Before Thursday, the women’s course record was the 4-under 68 posted by Tracy Hanson in the second round of stroke-play qualifying for the 1992 U.S. Women’s Amateur. ... Golf Channel’s coverage includes a pre-game show at 9:30 a.m., followed by four hours of live coverage before the PGA Tour barges in at 2 p.m.

Tim Cronin

Hoffman scores medalist honor at Women’s Western 

Emilee Hoffman added a 2-under-par 70 to Tuesday’s record-tying 65 to win the qualifying medal for the 118th Women’s Western Amateur with a total of 9-under 135 at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville.

Hoffman, from Folsom, Calif., was never singing the blues about her round. She played Mistwood’s testing back nine in 3-under 33 and earned a five-stroke margin over runners-up Brianne Bolden of Mokena and Julie Houston of Allen, Tex.

Bolden carded her second 70 in succession to finish at 4-under 70, while Houston’s 4-under 68 shared honors as best round of the second qualifying session. Elle Nachmann of Boca Raton, Fla., also scored 68, making the 32-player match play field with a total of 1-over 145.

Lauren Chappell of downstate Charleston joined Bolden in the match play field after finishing at 2-over 146 thanks to a second-round 1-under 71. That duo will represent Illinois.

Eight players, including Jessica Yuen of Bolingbrook, whose closing 3-under 69 brought her to the good side of the cut line, went into sudden-death for the final four match-play spots. Yuen didn’t make it, but Alexis Miesotwski (Schererville, Ind.), Pinya Pipatjarasgit (Sylvania, Ohio), Kenzie Wright (McKinney, Tex.), and Madeline Sager (Charleston, S.C.) did.

Those at 4-over 148 or higher were eliminated.

Match-play starts Thursday with the Round of 32 in the morning and the Round of 16 in the afternoon. Friday features the quarterfinals in the morning and semifinals in the afternoon, while Saturday is reserved for the 36-hole final.

Final holes key to success at Kemper Lakes

Writing from Kildeer, Illinois

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

This 64th Women’s PGA Championship holds much in common with the first 63, aside from the name change – it was the LPGA Championship through 2014.

It offers a major championship title to the winner, plus a good deal of money – $547,500 from the purse of $3.65 million – and the best field of the season, with the top 100 players on the LPGA’s money list teeing it up at Kemper Lakes Golf Club beginning Thursday at 7:30 a.m.

It’s the first professional major at Kemper Lakes since the only other one, the 1989 PGA Championship, which was won by Payne Stewart and lost by Mike Reid.

Stewart birdied four of the last five holes to pass Reid, but only because Reid finished the final three holes 3-over.

They call it getting Kemperized, a term dating to the first Illinois PGA Championship held on the course, in 1979. Mike Harrigan was cruising along with four holes to play, but bogeyed the par-5 15th, the par-4 16th and the par-3 17th, then made a nine on the par-4 18th to hand the title to Emil Esposito, whose final round of 3-over 75 made him a three-stroke winner over Jim Urban. Harrigan landed in a tie for third, four strokes back.

Harrigan was the first to be Kemperized. Many have followed since, including Annika Sorenstam, who had a shot at the 1992 U.S. Women’s Amateur title until she drowned her approach on Kemper’s 18th hole. Vicki Goetze (now Goetze-Ackerman, and an LPGA executive) collected the trophy.

“It’s going to be a really great finish because of 16-17-18,” U.S. Women’s Open champion Ariya Jutanugarn said.

“The finishing holes are amazing,” said Michelle Wie, who remembered nothing of Kemper Lakes from her appearance in the 2001 U.S. Women’s Public Links. “The greens are definitely tough.”

Jutanugarn said after her practice round that she would leave her driver in her bag – not an unusual strategy for her – and subsist on a diet of 3-woods and 2-irons off the tee this week. Kemper Lakes will max out at 6,741 yards, so she may be hitting her approaches first on almost every hole, even if her playing partners aren’t in the fairway.

However, after nearly four inches of rain in the last week, including exactly two inches in a pair of deluges on Tuesday, the fairway will be the place to be. The rough is up, and lush.

“It’s interesting and I like it,” defending champion Danielle Kang said. “It’s a very challenging golf course. It reminds me a lot of Olympia Fields, and there’s a lot of different type of shots you have to hit.”

Like the others, the final three holes, nicknamed the Gauntlet by the members a few years ago, got her attention.

“Sixteen is a long hole, a 5-iron (approach) over the water and the width is very narrow; not a lot of landing spots,” Kang said. “Then 17, that par-3 with the wind blowing into it, if they every tuck (the pin) in the back, sometimes bogey might be a good score.

“I played nine holes and I stood there and go, ‘I don’t know what to do.’ ”

She figured it out last year on Olympia Fields’ North Course, capturing her first victory as a professional, and should be able to figure it out again. She’s also a different player this year.

“I hope I didn’t change as a person,” Kang said. “I always say (winning) gave me more freedom. Before I was very frustrated and driven by frustration just to get it out of the way, but now I’m just driven just to be in contention and kind of enjoying the game again. And I like being the center of attention.”

That she is at Kemper Lakes. Like Brooke Henderson the year before, you can’t turn around at Kemper without seeing her face on something.

“I don’t know about the word surreal, but I love it,” Kang said. “I’m everywhere, on the tickets. I’m on the pamphlets. I’m on the board as you drive in. My name is there. Pictures are everywhere. My favorite color is blue; it’s everywhere. One of the players came up and goes, the vibe is really scary and I realize that you’re the defending champion.”

She’s in one of Thursday’s marquee groups, of course, along with Jutanugarn and world No. 1 Inbee Park. Of the laid-back Park, Kang said, “She’s so chill,” and Thursday, she seemed just exactly that.

“Well, I really treat golf as a job,” Park said. “Not too much emotions involved, because it is your job. You have to just get things done. That is kind of the mindset that I have been going to. There is days where things are not working out as much as you want, and there are days some things are working out as good as you want. But if the emotions are involved in golf, it just gets really complicated. Like every bad shot you play, you just feel so bad.”

Her too?

Tim Cronin

For a complete preview of the Women's PGA, click here to see the June issue of Illinois Golfer.

Rust-Oleum wrapup, U.S. Open and Women's PGA previews in the new Illinois Golfer

 

June is here and so is the June issue of Illinois Golfer, 31 pages strong and featuring the cover story on Chase Wright's playoff victory in the Rust-Oleum Championship last weekend, and more:

• Rememberances of Carol Mann and Red Carparelli;

• How Garrett Chaussard won the Illinois PGA Match Play title;

• A preview of the KMPG Women's PGA at Kemper Lakes, where Danielle Kang will defend;

• A preview of this week's 118th U.S. Open at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club;

• Previews of this week's Radix Cup and the Women's Western Amateur;

• Thoughts on the grind the Tour pro who isn't yet elite goes through;

• Reports on the NCAA men's and women's championships;

• and more, including the biggest course guide in Illinois.

Everything you ever wanted to know about the Radix Cup

Whether or not you were afraid to ask! It's all right here in the Radix Cup Guide & Register, a service of Illinois Golfer. Don't forget, this year's Radix Cup is tomorrow afternoon at Oak Park Country Club in River Grove. Admission is free!

Hardy opens pro career at even par

Writing from Ivanhoe, Illinois

Thursday, June 7, 2018

Nick Hardy has played in two U.S. Opens and a John Deere Classic as an amateur, and a handful of other tournaments, the NCAA Championship included, that has featured either inherent pressure or the kind that is self-inflicted.

Thursday’s first round of the Rust-Oleum Championship was the latter type of pressure for Hardy, as he was playing for money for the first time.

“I’m just glad I got the first round out of the way,” Hardy said. “I want to say it felt no different but it felt different. I was at home. I wasn’t with my team. It was definitely a different schedule, but I got to go on my own time.”

He survived, and nearly thrived. Sitting 1-under for most of the day, Hardy bogeyed the 15th and 17th holes but birdied the 18th to finish at even-par 72. He was tied for 67th when he completed his round, part of the last threesome in the morning wave, but took solace in the 5-footer he sank after a solid approach from the middle of the fairway.

“It’s definitely big for momentum tomorrow,” Hardy said. “Any time you finish with a birdie and know you’ve got a long layoff (until the last tee time), I’m really happy I finished with  two good swings. I can go to bed thinking of those two swings.”

Better that than the first hole. The first swing of his professional career saw him sailing the tee shot into the Ivanhoe Club’s ever-present trees. He then hit a tree trying to escape the forest, but knocked his third on the green from 88 yards and made the par-saving putt. Then he could breathe again.

“That was a big way to start my day,” Hardy admitted. “I was pretty nervous on that hole. That kind of freed me up. You can’t deny it was a different feeling, but I’ve been preparing for it my whole life, to have this opportunity.”

As has everyone else in the field, which is largely comprised of PGA Tour hopefuls but also has a smattering of veterans, including 2003 PGA Championship winner Shaun Micheel and 1993 Masters champion Mike Weir both T57, 1-under 71).

The top 70 and ties advance to the weekend, where the $600,000, including $108,000 to the winner, will be awarded. Thus, Northbrook native Hardy has his work cut out, but having played in majors and PGA Tour tournaments at least brings a sense of familiarity to the scene.

“That stuff definitely helps an amateur,” Hardy said. “I’ve had some good experiences. I’ve learned a lot. I’ve definitely had my hard times, but that makes me able to handle these situations.”

Hardy’s stellar college career, including a pair of Big Ten titles at Illinois, gets him no status in the PGA Tour universe. That will have to be earned, but through sponsor exemptions, beginning with the Rust-Oleum on the web.com Tour and shortly in the Travelers’ Championship and John Deere Classic on the PGA Tour, good performances will pay off in good money.

“I could go 36 more right now,” Hardy said.

First he has to take care of Friday’s 18. After the afternoon wave played through, Hardy's 72 was good for a tie for 79th, seven strokes behind leader Andrew Novak's 65. Other local players included Elgin's Carlos Sainz Jr. (T17, 3-under 69), Chicago's Brad Hopfinger and Vince India (T39, 2-under 70), and Wheaton's Tim "Tee-K" Kelly (T144, 5-over 77).

FYI – Pardon the "1-under" headline earlier; it was based on incorrect live scoring but is still our fault.

Tim Cronin

Chaussard wins IPGA match play

Garrett Chaussard has finally scored a state major. Thursday he won the Illinois PGA Match play with a 3 and 2 victory over Chris Green at Kemper Lakes. Details on our News page.

Greg Martin to renovate Sportsman's

Martin won a six-way competition with his design for a renewed Sportsman's Country Club in Northbrook. Early details on our News page, a story that will be updated. 

Northwestern women advance; Illinois men gird for NCAAs in our May issue

Northwestern’s women’s team advancing from the NCAA regional at Wisconsin to the NCAA Championship is the reason our May issue is out Wednesday rather than Monday. Read all about how the Wildcats escaped Madison, while Illinois did not, in our 27-page digital issue, available here!

Also in this issue:

• Illinois’ men’s team captures its fourth straight Big Ten championship;

• Nick Hardy has the look of a winner on the verge of turning pro;

• Elizabeth Szokol gets her first pro win on the Symetra Tour;

• Road Warrior Len Ziehm finds his way to Key West;

• Tony Albano wins the Will County Amateur;

• and a report on who’s bidding to redo Sportsman’s Golf Course in Northbrook;

plus our comprehensive calendar and course guide, all in May’s Illinois Golfer!

Masters week means our April issue is here for you!

Welcome to the 2018 golf season!

The cool morning aside, it must be golf season. It’s Masters week!

To commemorate it, our 31-page April issue, available by clicking here, includes a preview of the 82nd Masters Tournament, where the cast is not only star-studded but all the stars are playing well, making this year’s garden party at Augusta National among the most anticipated in years.

Also in this month’s issue: 

• Our cover story on the slow-moving Jackson Park reconstruction project;

• A review of 2017;

• A preview of the 2018 tournament season;

• A report on the changes and possible further changes in public golf on the north shore;

• News from around Illinois, including a report on Dylan Meyer’s making the cut at the Valspar Championship on the PGA Tour;

plus a complete schedule of key tournaments for the 2018 season, both local and national, and the most complete course directory to be found in any Illinois-based golf publication.

Enjoy!

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor

Naperville's Andrew Lim in Sunday's Drive, Chip and Putt finals

Andrew Lim is 13 and about to experience the great fun of competing at Augusta National. The Naperville lad is in the finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt competition, thanks to surviving the three stages of knockout competition last year. See how he did in our April issue. Our preview is on the News page.

New Jackson Park price tag: $60 million

Chicago Park District superintendent Mike Kelly said Wednesday the rebuilt Jackson Park-South Shore layout, including infrastructure such as underpasses, would cost about $60 million. A look at the revised project, shown to the public for the first time at the South Shore Cultural Center, is on our News page.

Happy New Year from Illinois Golfer!

Our version of a noisemaker is the final issue of Illinois Golfer for 2017, which you can read by clicking here. December’s offering includes coverage of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame induction ceremony, plus:

• Obituaries for Carol McCue and Roger Packard, whose passings are mourned in the golf community;

• An assessment of the impact Carol had and continues to have on the golf scene;

• A report on how Cog Hill’s team fared in the PGA Junior League national final;

• The news of the John Deere Classic’s record-breaking charity contributions;

• and more, including Mike Small’s winning the PGA of America’s senior player of the year award.

Thanks for reading Illinois Golfer this year, and we can’t wait to serve you again in 2018!

Tim Cronin

Publisher / Editor

Golf world loses Carol McCue

The First Lady of Chicago Golf died over the weekend. Carol McCue, who led the CDGA for 40 years and then helmed Jemsek Golf's public relations operation for two more decades, was 94. Our obituary for a great friend is here.

The Preserve at Oak Meadows featured in October's Illinois Golfer!

Boo!

Our Halloween treat for you is Illinois Golfer’s October issue – click for it here – featuring:

• A report on the reborn Preserve at Oak Meadows, a prototype for how to go about combining storm water retention around a remodeled golf course;

• The details on how Tommy Kuhl dominated this year’s ISHA championships;

• How Adam Schumacher doubled his pleasure at the Illinois PGA Players Championship;

• and news that the USGA is looking for more than 700 volunteers for next year’s inaugural U.S. Senior Women’s Open at Chicago Golf Club.

Enjoy!

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor

September's issue includes BMW, US Am, Western Am, Illinois Open and PGA, travel and the eclipse!

That's everything under the sun, and the moon crossing in front of the sun. No other golf publication in Illinois offers more this month! Click here for the special expanded issue of Illinois Golfer including:

• An in-depth report on the BMW Championship victory by Marc Leishman;

• A review of how close Doug Ghim of Arlington Heights came to winning the U.S. Amateur, including an exclusive interview with Ghim;

• On-scene coverage of Norman Ziong’s victory in the Western Amateur;

• The story of Patrick Flavin’s rare double, finished off at the Illinois Open;

• How Adam Schumacher won the Illinois PGA;

plus the return of travel reports, including:

• Len Ziehm on The Cradle, Pinehurst’s new par-3 course, which opens Saturday;

• Neal Kotlarek on Stoatin Brae, a links-on-a-bluff course in central Michigan;

• plus an off-the-course look at August’s total eclipse of the sun as it crossed southern Illinois, recaps of other tournaments, including Jim Sobb’s Illinois Senior Open title, the Illinois Golfer Calendar and Scoreboard and our Directory, the biggest of any golf publication in Illinois.

Enjoy! 

Tim Cronin

 Publisher • Editor

Marc Leishman wins the BMW Championship

Australian Marc Leishman went wire-to-wire to win the BMW Championship at Conway Farms Golf Club, duplicating the achievement of countryman Jason Day two years ago. Leishman actually did him one better, scoring 23-under-par 261 for an aggregate record. He beat Justin Rose and Rickie Fowler by five strokes and is among the five players who can win the PGA Tour's playoff prize outright by winning the Tour Championship. The final round story is here. The third round story is here. The second round story is here. The first round story is here.

Preview the BMW Championship here!

The Illinois Golfer preview issue of the BMW Championship is here; inside there's a preview of this year's BMW, a look back at the Western Open days at Cog Hill, a form chart, records, a map of Conway Farms and the groupings for Thursday and Friday. Don't miss it!

Adam Schumacher wins Illinois PGA title

Adam Schumacher, a 26-year-old assistant pro at Indian Hill Club, came from behind to win the 96th Illinois PGA Championship on Wednesday on Medinah Country Club's No. 1 Course. Schumacher shot 2-under 69 and raced past three players, including 36-hole leader Jim Billiter, to win the title. The full story is here.

Doug Ghim falls to Doc Redman in U.S. Amateur final

The Arlington Heights star lost a 2-up lead to Doc Redman's eagle-birdie barrage on the final two holes of regulation and lost the first extra hole to finish runner-up. The instant story is here. Illinois Golfer will have a full report in the September issue.

Flavin wins Illinois Open, completes the double

Patrick Flavin won the 68th Illinois Open at The Glen Club on Wednesday, adding that crown to his Illinois Amateur title from last month. Brandon Holtz, Nick Hardy and Matt Murlick finished a stroke behind. The third round story is here. The second round story is here. The first round story is here. 

Norman Xiong wins Western Amateur in 22-hole thriller

Norman Xiong of Canyon Lake, Calif., a sophomore at Oregon, needed 22 holes to beat Doc Redman of Raleigh, N.C., a Clemson sophomore, to win the championship match of the 115th Western Amateur at Skokie Country Club in Glencoe on Saturday. The final match story, with semifinal information, is here. The quarterfinals story is here.  The Round of 16 story, including Nick Hardy's loss, is here. The qualifying story is here.

Western Am, Illinois Open, eclipse golf previews in August's digital issue

It’s August, but Illinois Golfer isn’t dogging it with this month’s 32-page digital issue!

Inside, you’ll find complete reports on Bryson DeChambeau’s victory in the John Deere Classic;

• A look at how amateur Alexandra Farnsworth won the Illinois Women’s Open;

• The story of Patrick Flavin’s triumph in the Illinois Amateur;

• A preview of the star-studded Western Amateur at Skokie Country Club;

• The story of how Emil Esposito won the 1966 Illinois Open at Briarwood, and a look toward this year’s renewal there and at The Glen Club;

• Thoughts on the gimme fiasco in the U.S. Girls Junior;

• and a look – so to speak – at the best location to view this month’s total eclipse of the sun. Hint: it’s just south of Carbondale, and it’s on a golf course.

Enjoy!

Farnsworth captures Illinois Women's Open

Alexandra Farnsworth of Nashville scored 5-under-par 67 on Thursday to win the 23rd Phil Kosin Illinois Women's Open by two strokes over fellow amateur Hannah Kim of Northwestern and Chula Vista, Calif., at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville. Here's the Round 3 story. The Round 2 story is here.  The Round 1 story is here.

DeChambeau wins wild Deere with birdie barrage

Bryson DeChambeau, famous for his same-length irons, overhauled Patrick Rodgers at the finish to win the John Deere Classic on Sunday, scoring 6-under 65 for 18-under 266 to win by a stroke. The Final Round story is here. The Round 3 story is here.  The Round 2 story is here. The game story and notes for Round 1 is here.

Deere preview; WPGA, U.S. Open reviews in July’s digital issue

There could hardly be more golf going on in Illinois and nearby, and July’s digital issue of Illinois Golfer – finally escaped from a technological technicality – brings you the following:

• A preview of the John Deere Classic, ongoing at TPC Deere Run in Silvis; 

• A digest preview of the upcoming summer fixtures, beginning with next week’s Illinois Women’s Open and Illinois Amateur;

• How Danielle Kang won the 63rd Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields:

• How Brooks Koepka trampled Erin Hills en route to victory in the 117th U.S. Open;

• How Maddie Szeryk scored her victory in the 117th Women’s Western Amateur;

• A look at the plan for the Jackson Park-South Shore rebuild and objections to it;

• Our stance on the rebuild, which might cost $50 million when everything is taken into account;

• Plus the summer schedule, scores, and the most complete golf directory in Illinois! 

Find it all here!

Kang wins Women's PGA, edging Henderson

Danielle Kang is the champion of the 63rd KMPG Women's PGA Championship. She shot 3-under-par 68 on Sunday to total 13-under 271 and edge fast-closing defender Brooke Henderson by a stroke on Olympia Fields Country Club's North Course. The game story for Sunday is here.

Saturday: Danielle Kang of the U.S. and Chella Choi of South Korea are co-leaders entering the final round of the 63rd KPMG Women's PGA Championship on Olympia Fields Country Club's North Course. Choi shot 4-under 67, Kang 68 to stand at 10-under 203 entering the final round. The game story for Saturday is here.

Friday: Kelly Shon brushed off an opening 77 with a 14-stroke improvement in the second round of the 63rd KPMG Women's PGA Championship. Her 8-under-par 63 set a women's course record and matched the scores of Vijay Singh and Rickie Fowler in men's competition. She was five strokes behind co-leaders Danielle Kang and Sei Young Kim at the halfway point. Each scored 69-66 for 7-under 135 through 36 holes. World No. 2 Ariya Jutanugarn missed the cut. The game story for Friday's play is here.

Thursday: Chella Choi played in the morning and fired a women's course record 5-under 66, while Amy Yang was 6-under through 17 holes when play was suspended. There are 30 players left on the course who will finish Friday morning. The game story for Thursday's play is here.

The preview: Olympia Fields' North Course faced off with a field of 156 professionals beginning Thursday morning in the 63rd Women's PGA Championship. A dart board might be the best way to pick a favorite, as detailed here on the News page.

Tuesday, the PGA of America, LPGA and KMPG extended their deal for the Women's PGA Championship through 2023. Details on that and an on-course surprise are on the News page. The final preview for the WPGA will run on Wednesday.

On Monday, guest Phil Mickelson joined defending champion Brooke Henderson, Lydia Ko and Stacy Lewis in a shotmaking and trick shot clinic to kick off the week. The story is on the News page.

Bonus issue: Women's PGA preview! 

It’s KPMG Women’s PGA Championship week, and Illinois Golfer presents a special bonus issue to preview it. Click here to find it:

• A preview of the 63rd Women’s PGA, which started as the LPGA Championship in 1955;

• A look at the Chicago roots of women’s professional golf;

• A column on the youth movement on the LPGA Tour, exemplified by defending champion Brooke Henderson;

• A sequence photo analysis of Brooke Henderson’s swing;

• A map of Olympia Fields’ North Course;

• Tee times for the first two rounds;

• and Women’s PGA Championship records.

The only other thing you need to enjoy the Women’s PGA is a ticket!

First look at Jackson Park redesign

The renovation of Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses will get its first public hearing Wednesday night at South Shore Cultural Center, in the middle of five of the 18 holes proposed to replace the current Jackson Park and South Shore courses. The full story is here. And the design is below.

Brooks Koepka wins U.S. Open with 67

A 27-year-old native of Florida found himself at home on the Wisconsin prairie on Sunday. Brooks Koepka outplayed the field and outscored all but one competitor on the day in winning the 117th United States Open at Erin Hills. Brian Harman and Hideki Matsuyama tied for second, four strokes back. The full story on Koepka's triumph is here.

Harman leads the U.S. Wide Open

Brian Harman holds a one-stroke lead in the U.S. Open going into the final round. A dozen players are within five strokes of him as the climax looms at Erin Hills. The full report is here.

Szeryk wins Women's Western Am

Maddie Szeryk, a dual-citizen from London, Ont. and Allen, Tex., beat Dylan Kim of Sachse, Tex., 3 and 1 on Saturday at River Forest Country Club to capture the Women's Western Amateur. The story is here.

Quartet leads Open as favorites fall

Brian Harman, Brooks Koepka, Tommy Fleetwood and Paul Casey, the new Fab Four, are co-leaders of the 117th U.S. Open after 36 holes. The world's top three players: Dustin Johnson, Rory McIlroy and Jason Day, missed the cut. The full story of Round 2 at Erin Hills is here.

It's U.S. vs. Canada in Women's Western Am Final

Dylan Kim of Sachse, Tex., meets Maddie Szeryk of London, Ont., in Saturday's 36-hole championship match of the 117th Women's Western Amateur at River Forest Country Club. Kim beat Sarah White of Caladonia, Mich., 5 and 4 in her semifinal, while Szeryk needed 20 holes to vanquish Sophia Schubert of Oak Ridge, Tenn. The final match begins at 8 a.m. Admission is free.

Fowler leads U.S. Open on bogey-free 65

Rickie Fowler raced to the lead in the 117th U.S. Open on Thursday morning at Erin Hills, his 7-under 65 staking him a stroke ahead of afternoon finishers Paul Casey and Xander Schauffele. The scoreboard bled red with a record 60 players at par or better, including 44 players under the par of 72. The full story is here

U.S. Open preview in June's Illinois Golfer

It’s U.S. Open week, and Illinois Golfer is on the scene at Erin Hills with a preview of the 117th Open in the June digital issue of Illinois Golfer, available here!

There’s more than the U.S. Open preview in the 43-page issue. There’s also a preview of the 117th Women’s Western Amateur, being played this week at River Forest Country Club, and more:

• a look at the agreement between the WGA and WWGA for administration of the women’s championships in a changing golf world;

• thoughts on the lack of a U.S. Open in the Chicago area since 2003;

• an 11-page report on the NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms;

• how Jim Billiter came back to win the Illinois PGA Match Play title at his new home course;

• the news of the amateurs’ triumph in the Radix Cup match at Oak Park;

• a look at Stephan Jaeger’s big victory in the Rust-Oleum Championship at Ivanhoe;

• and the most complete public golf directory in any Illinois-centric golf publication.

All free, and readable online and downloadable at www.illinoisgolfer.net – don’t miss it!


Oklahoma beats Oregon for NCAA men's title

Led by sophomore Brad Dalke, Oklahoma scored a 3.5-1.5 victory over Oregon at Rich Harvest Farms on Wednesday for the NCAA Men's Championship. Dalke beat Sulman Raza, the hero for the Ducks last year, for the clinching point. Full report on the News page.

Illinois falls to Oklahoma in NCAA semifinal

Illinois couldn't achieve the impossible on Tuesday and rally from big deficits in back-to-back matches. After coming from behind to beat Southern California 3.5-1.5 in a morning quarterfinal, the Fighting Illini fell by a similar margin to Oklahoma. The Sooners will face Oregon, which beat Vanderbilt in the semis, in Wednesday's NCAA Men's Championship match at Rich Harvest Farms. The full story is on the News page.

Illinois meets USC in NCAA quarterfinal

Illinois rallied on the final two holes to lock in third place in the NCAA stroke play competition to set up a Tuesday morning quarterfinal matchup with Southern California. A full report is on the News page.

Northwestern second in NCAA Women's

Arizona State beat Northwestern 3.5-1.5 in Wednesday afternoon's NCAA Women's Championship Final. The Wildcats had come from behind to score a 3-2 victory over Southern California in the held-over conclusion of their semifinal. Arizona State similarly came from behind to post a 3-2 victory over Stanford. Details on the News page.

Northwestern in NCAA semifinal vs. USC

The Wildcats beat Kent State in Tuesday morning's quarterfinal, and the 3-2 victory propelled them to the afternoon semifinal against Southern California. Details on the News page.

Northwestern top seed in NCAA Women's

Northwestern captured the top seed in the NCAA Women's Championship, beating Stanford by eight strokes in the three-round stroke play competition. Arizona State's Monica Vaughn won the individual title when Wake Forest's Jennifer Kupcho blew up down the stretch. Details on the News page.

Billiter bests Mulhearn for Illinois PGA Match Play title

Jim Billiter of Kemper Lakes Golf Club beat Danny Mulhearn of Glen Oak, 1 up, on Thursday to capture his second Illinois PGA Match Play crown in three years. Details on the News page.

NCAA Championship preview headlines Illinois Golfer's May issue

The biggest tournament in college golf is coming to Sugar Grove for the last two weeks of May, and the new issue of Illinois Golfer has a complete preview of the NCAA Championships. Click here or on the cover image to read online or download the PDF!

 

Also in the May issue:

• News about the Women's Western Golf Association and Western Golf Association combining management of the WWGA tournament schedule beginning in 2018;

• A Grill Room column by Tim Cronin on the Lexi Thompson marking fiasco and what the new Decision on video evidence and "reasonable judgment" could mean for the USGA;

• Musings on The Masters, and a peek inside the new press center;

• A look at the finalists for this year's Illinois Golf Hall of Fame class;

• How John Wright won the Will County Amateur;

• Booster Mark Rolfing's thoughts on why the Jackson Park-South Shore reconstruction is needed;

• The good news that Cardinal Creek in Beecher is back in operation;

plus the most complete tournament calendar, and the Illinois Golfer Directory, featuring every public course in Illinois and over 600 facilities in all.

Illinois Golfer's opening issue of the season is here!

Welcome to spring, and the 2017 golf season!

Illinois Golfer is back for another year with a 38-page season opening April issue, packed with news and features. The lineup includes:

• A report on the future of Jackson Park Golf Course, where a controversial $30 million rebuild that would include adjacent South Shore is contemplated;

• A preview of the 2017 tournament season, highlighted by the U.S. Open at Erin Hills in Wisconsin.

• A review of 2016’s champions, top moments, and those who we lost;

• A preview of this week’s Masters Tournament in photos highlighting Augusta National from different angles;

• Remembrances of John Barney and James Ashenden, two key men behind the scenes in Chicago golf;

• A look at the nominees for the 2017 class of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame;

• A detailed report on the shrinking inventory of public golf courses in the state;

• Plus, reports on the slow death of Green Acres Country Club, Wilson Golf’s mulligan, Northwestern’s surge in college golf, how local juniors fared in the Drive, Chip & Putt finals at Augusta National, and ...

• A greatly expanded public course guide, now featuring every facility in Illinois where you can tee it up, along with the 2017 tournament calendar.

Enjoy!

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor

Jackson Park: Rebirth or boondoggle?

We ask that question in a special Grill Room column; find it here. It appears that Mark Rolfing, named as the head of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, will be the one who has to find the private money needed to renovate the Jackson Park and South Shore golf courses into a tournament-tough layout. We ask, is this really necessary to further the cause of the game in Chicago?

Balmoral Woods sold

The company that bought Balmoral Park Race Track earlier this year has bought Balmoral Woods, the golf course in Crete owned by the Mortell family for 41 years. Full story on our news page.

Special issue celebrates Illinois PGA Centennial

Click here for the special December issue of Illinois Golfer, which celebrates the local association of professionals turning 100, coincident with the PGA of America itself. There’s a story in that, and it’s contained, along with a feast of other features, in an anecdote-filled 29-page section.

The section covers everything from the formation of the section, which once covered a wide area of North America, to a remembrance of Joe Jemsek, whose influence was felt far beyond the current boundaries of the section. 

Also on the menu of this pro-focused issue:

• A profile of national PGA award winner Dennis Johnsen, the impresario at Pine Meadow;

• A capsule look at this year’s Illinois PGA award winners;

• and a note on four pros whose retirements will leave a void on the local scene.

FYI, we've corrected the profile of Lou Strong to include the last few lines, which somehow were cut off originally.


 

Autumn issue features Taylorville's Dave Ryan, U.S. Senior Amateur champ

Click here for the Autumn issue of Illinois Golfer, with Dave Ryan of Taylorville on the cover and a report on his exciting victory in the U.S. Senior Amateur inside.

Also in the Autumn issue:

• A final salute to Arnold Palmer;

• A report on the IHSA's state championships, where Hinsdale Central's boys won Class 3A and the girls took third in Class AA;

• A look back on Dustin Johnson's victory in the BMW Championship;

• A directory of Chicago-area golf domes;

• The John Deere Classic's record $10.5 million charity effort;

• and more, including Illinois' repeat in the East Lake Cup, the Cog Hill team's coming appearance in the PGA Junior League final, a look at more golf courses on sale, Oak Meadows' search for a new name, and all the usual features.

Farewell to the King – A special issue remembering Arnold Palmer

The King died on Sunday, Sept. 25. Arnold Palmer, 87, died of heart complications in a Pittsburgh hospital the day before he was to undergo surgery. Word of his death swept through golf minutes after the Tour Championship ended, and will reverberate all this week, especially in Latrobe, Pa., Orlando, Fla., his main bases of operation, and Chaska, Minn., where the Ryder Cup will be played at Hazeltine National Golf Club.

Click here for the digital special issue of Illinois Golfer with remembrances of Arnie by publisher Tim Cronin and new contributor and old friend Len Ziehm. Or click on the cover:

If it's momentarily inconvenient to download or read the pages online:

Click here for publisher Tim Cronin's special Grill Room column on Arnie.

Click here for new contributor and old friend Len Ziehm's memories of the King.

Johnson wins BMW by 3 over Casey

Dustin Johnson won the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club on Sunday, beating Paul Casey by three strokes after both scored 5-under-par 67. Johnson's total of 23-under 265 set a Western Open / BMW record for under-par, though the aggregate is three off that record. Roberto Castro finished third.

How Johnson did it, plus all the playoff shakeout, is here.

The Saturday game story is here.

The game story on Friday's play is here.

BMW coverage, Small's success highlight September digital edition of Illinois Golfer

The September digital issue of Illinois Golfer is packed with news, including:

• An on-the-scene preview of the ongoing BMW Championship just in time for the excitement of the weekend at Crooked Stick;

• A look at Mike Small's triumph in the Illinois PGA Championship, and a separate Grill Room column on the success that led to this week's six-year contract extension at Illinois;

• Coverage of Ryan Moore's victory in the John Deere Classic;

and more!

Click here or on the cover for the September issue!

Castro takes BMW lead

Roberto Castro's 7-under-par 65 earned him a one-stroke lead midway through the storm-delayed first round of the BMW Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind. Brian Harman is a stroke behind, withseven more players within three strokes. Read the game story here.

Six-year extension for Small at Illinois

Men's coach Mike Small scored a six-year contract extension, effective immediately, from the University of Illinois on Thursday, the day before the Fighting Illini start their 2016-17 season. The report is on our News page.

Crooked Stick's 2nd BMW opens Thursday

Jason Day and Rory McIlroy are two of the many favorites in the BMW Championship that begins a four-day run at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel, Ind., on Thursday. They also had a few thoughts on Tiger Woods' return to competition next month in interviews on Wednesday. All the details are here.

Small wins Illinois PGA for 12th time

Mike Small came from two strokes behind with five holes to play to score his record-extending 12th victory in the Illinois PGA Championship. He beat Curtis Malm, the leader for the better part of three days, Travis Johns and Brian Brodell by two strokes on Olympia Fields Country Club's South Course.

Here's the game story on Malm's dramatic stumble and Small's comeback finish.

For the report on Tuesday's play in the second round (which finished Wednesday morning), click here.

The report on Monday's first round is here.

Ryan Moore wins John Deere Classic

Leading all the way and winning by two-strokes, Ryan Moore captured the John Deere Classic on Sunday, beating Ben Martin with a total of 22-under-par 262. He made only two bogeys in four rounds, and none in the last 46 holes. Illinois Golfer's story for The Associated Press (which incorrectly insists it was one bogey) is here.

Moore finishes in gloming, leads Deere by 1 after 54

Ryan Moore, winless since 2014, leads the John Deere Classic by a stroke after his third straight 65 for 180under 195. Morgan Hoffman and Ben Martin are right behind after matching 62s. Illinois Golfer's story, filed for The Associated Press, is here.

Bryan, Marino lead soggy Deere

Recent Web.com graduate Wesley Bryan and veteran Steve Marino are 1-2 midway through the storm-delayed second round of the John Deere Classic. Thirty-nine players had yet to tee off and about 110 had yet to finish when play was called with rain falling Friday night at TPC Deere Run. The full story is here.

Deere, Olympic previews; Western Am and Illinois Open reports in August's Illinois Golfer digital issue

Just in time for the weekend, here’s the August edition of Illinois Golfer!

Click here for direct access!

Inside the 28-page issue, you’ll find:

• A story on the John Deere Classic brings in the best young talent in an effort to cultivate loyalty among the new pros;

• A report on how both the Olympics and Deere fields have been hit by pros taking the week off from any golf;

• A look back at the American victory in the International Crown at Merit Club;

• How Carlos Sainz Jr. won the Illinois Open at Royal Fox and Royal Hawk;

• A look at Nick Hardy’s runaway title in the Illinois Amateur at St. Charles Country Club;

• And the cover story on Illinois junior Dylan Meyer’s victory over world No. 2 amateur Sam Horsfield in the Western Amateur.

• Plus “The Buzz,” focusing on the impending closure of Indian Lakes Resort, our schedule and scoreboard, and the most complete golf directory in Illinois.

Thanks for reading!

Tim Cronin, Publisher • Editor

Loupe leads Deere; 1st round incomplete

Andrew Loupe is 8-under after 14 holes at TPC Deere Run with first round play in the John Deere Classic stopped because of darkness. Already finished at 6-under-par 66 are Zach Johnson, Ryan Moore and Patrick Rodgers. Details on the storm-delayed first round are here.

Meyer beats Horsfield, wins Western Amateur

Illinois junior Dylan Meyer beat medalist Sam Horsfield 3 and 1 Saturday to claim the 114th Western Amateur. Each won their semifinal matches in the morning, Horsfield in dramatic fashion. The story of the championship match is here. Friday's action is covered here.

Horsfield medalist in Western Am qualifying; now the fun begins

World amateur No. 2 Sam Horsfield won the qualifying portion of the 114th Western Amateur at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest by nine strokes on Thursday, finishing at 15-under-par 269. The game story is here. The Round 2 details are here. Thursday is the 36-hole battle for the 16 match play berths. The Round 1 story is here.

Carlos Sainz Jr. wins Illinois Open in record fashion

Scoring 17-under-par 197, Elgin's Carlos Sainz Jr. won the Illinois Open by five strokes on Wednesday. He collected $17,500 and an unmeasurable amount of confidence for renewing his PGA Tour quest. Read the full story here. For earlier action, here's the Round 2 story, and Round 1.

U.S. wins International Crown

The U.S. team that struggled on Thursday and rallied on Friday won the 2nd UL International Crown on Sunday. We'll have a complete report in our August issue. The second round coverage of the comeback is here.

The Day 1 story is here.

Miller's Illinois Women's Open win, Crown preview in July's digital issue.

The July issue of Illinois Golfer is here, with a feast of previews and reports:

• A preview of the 2nd International Crown, which starts Thursday at Merit Club in Libertyville;

• A preview of next week's Illinois Open at Royal Fox and Royal Hawk in St. Charles;

• The story of Stephanie Miller's remarkably steady play en route to the title in the 22nd Phil Kosin Illinois Women's Open at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville;

• A report on how Andrew Price outlasted Todd Mitchell to win the 97th CDGA Amateur at Calumet; 

• A look at Connor Prassas' victory in the 47th Illinois Junior at Makray Memorial;

• The details on Jillian Hollis' victory in the 116th Women's Western Amateur in Dayton, Ohio;

• a look back at the remarkably full lives of Leon McNair and Hubby Habjan, who died earlier this month;

• and more, including thoughts on the USGA's back-to-back fiascos in their biggest championships.

All in the July issue of Illinois Golfer, just a click away!

How the pros won the Radix Cup, and more in June's digital issue

The June issue of Illinois Golfer is here, featuring a wealth of stories, including:

• A report on the pros' 11-7 victory over the amateurs in the Radix Cup;

• How Max Homa came from behind to capture the Rust-Oleum Championship;

• The story of Illinois falling short in the NCAA Men's Championship;

• A report on Northwestern's women's team just missing match play in its NCAA go;

• Coverage of Zach Burry winning the 51st Joliet Amateur;

• The final part of our three-part series on Chick Evans' 1916 Double Crown, focusing on what he did in the afterglow of the acclaim;

• and more, including a few thoughts from PGA Tour players on the USGA's delay on ruling on Dustin Johnson, a column on having to cancel the Illinois Golfer Challenge Junior for this year, our Tour Guide, and an updated schedule and scoreboard.

Challenge at Glenwoodie canceled for 2016

Due to a lack of entries, we've made the decision to cancel the Illinois Golfer Challenge Junior Golf Championship for 2016. There simply weren't enough entries to run a competitive tournament worth the time and money of those few who did enter on a par with those conducted since 1989.

Plans for the future will be forthcoming as soon as we can figure them out!

Those whose entries have been received have had their checks returned; we'll keep checking the PO Box for late entries.

Many thanks to those who did enter and who has expressed dismay that there will be no Challenge in 2016. We feel bad about it as well.

– Tim Cronin

Illinois' quest for the NCAA title featured in our May issue

Just in time for the first really good golf-weather weekend of the year, it’s the May digital issue of Illinois Golfer, available by clicking here.

Inside you’ll find:

• A report on Illinois’ men’s team capturing – again – both the Big Ten championship and their NCAA regional;

• A look back at Chick Evans’ victory in the U.S. Amateur to claim the Double Crown a century ago;

• How the Chicago area’s latest Drive, Chip & Putt winner captured the title at Augusta National;

• A report on Kyle Bauer’s win in the Illinois PGA Match Play;

• An entry form for the June 22 Illinois Golfer Challenge Junior at Glenwoodie Golf Course;

• Plus news on the AJGA’s visit to The Glen Club, the opening of Pelican Golf’s club-fotting center at Arrowhead, the grand re-opening of Mistwood, Tim Cronin’s Grill Room, and more, including the most complete course guide in Illinois.


The bold plan for Canal Shores highlights Illinois Golfer's April digital issue

 

Click here for the first issue of 2016, our April digital edition. It includes a cover story on the proposed revitalization of Canal Shores – you might remember it as Peter Jans – plus an essay on The Masters, a preview of 2016, a review of 2015, a look back of Chick Evans' U.S. Open title a century ago, and much more, including the most complete course directory around.

Facebook is now in our bag

Since 1.59 billion users can't be wrong, we've joined the party by adding a Facebook page. Look for it as an adjunct to everything else we're up to. Feel free to like or friend and all that Facebookers do!

Memorial service set for Gary Planos on April 19

A memorial service for Gary Planos, long-time tournament director of the Tournament of Champions at Kapalua Resort in Hawaii, will be held at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, April 19, at Westmoreland Country Club in Wilmette. One of the all-time greats, Planos, an Evans Scholar alum and WGS director, died on March 26 at his home in Kapalua, Hawaii, at 62. The shocking news of the loss of the Chicago native roiled the golf world. An obituary can be found here.

Chicago Golf Club to host inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open in 2018

Chicago Golf Club, which rarely opens its doors, will host the inaugural United States Senior Women's Open in 2018, the USGA announced Saturday. One of the five founding clubs of the USGA, Chicago Golf, located in Wheaton, most recently hosted the 2005 Walker Cup.

"As a founding member of the USGA, Chicago Golf Club is honored to support the USGA's newsest championship by hosting the inaugural U.S. Senior Women's Open," club president Brad Kinsey said. "We look forward to making this, our 12th USGA championship, an exceptional event for players and spectators alike."

Save the date: July 12-15, 2018.

The long-speculated start of a U.S. Senior Women's Open thus not only comes to pass, it comes to the Chicago area, and the classic Charles Blair Macdonald-Seth Raynor layout. The second U.S. Senior Women's Open will be played at Peggy Kirk Bell's Pine Needles Lodge and Golf Club in Southern Pines, N.C., in 2019.

The Autumn Issue of Illinois Golfer

Our gift to you is the Autumn issue – it must still be fall, given the warm weather, no? – right here!


 

Inside is a look at where to find the golf domes when the weather really does get cold, plus the following features:

• A review of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame induction;

• A look back at Jason Day’s dominating victory in the BMW Championship;

• A report on the IHSA’s state championships, and Illinois Women’s Open winner Madasyn Petterson’s title in the girls AA bracket;

• A sneak peek at Mistwood’s new clubhouse;

and more!

When news breaks over the winter, we’ll have it, and put it in context.

Thanks for reading in 2015! 

Tim Cronin

Publisher • Editor

Illinois Golfer

LPGA International Crown to Merit Club

Writing from Chicago

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

It didn’t take long for the LPGA, stunningly shunned by Jerry Rich and his Rich Harvest Farms a fortnight ago, to find a replacement course for the second International Crown.

The eight-country team championship conceived by Rich will be played next summer at the Merit Club in north suburban Libertyville, according to the Golfers on Golf website.

Merit Club hosted the 2000 U.S. Women’s Open, as well as a small-field ladies tournament the year before, but those were accomplished with years of planning. The International Crown will take place next July 21-24, just eight months from now.

Golfers on Golf editor Rory Spears received confirmations of the move to Merit on Monday. The LPGA, which issued its 2016 schedule last week with the Crown on it but with no site beyond “Chicago,” had not confirmed the switch of venues as of Monday night.

Karrie Webb will like the change. A likely member of the Australian team next year, Webb won the U.S. Women’s Open played at Merit. She was on the Australian squad at the inaugural Crown at Caves Valley Country Club, near Baltimore, last year.

Rich abruptly pulled his course out of hosting duties when he and LPGA officials couldn’t agree on aspects of the tournament as yet unrevealed. It’s believed the marketing of the Crown, or the lack thereof in comparison to the 2009 Solheim Cup at Rich Harvest, was one of the motivating factors.

The Crown will start a string of three significant women’s golf showcases in the Chicago area in as many years. In 2017, the Women’s PGA Championship – the LPGA Championship until this year – will visit Olympia Fields Country Club, and in 2018, the Women’s PGA will go to Kemper Lakes Golf Club.

That private club, along with Medinah and pubic Cog Hill, were rumored to be in the running for the Crown. Cog Hill had conflicting dates with four-course outings that could not be changed even if the LPGA was begging, and Medinah is looking ahead to the 2019 BMW Championship. That left Kemper Lakes and Merit, and Merit, with nothing else on its calemdar, appeared to have the inside track.

– Tim Cronin

LPGA International Crown leaves Rich Harvest

Writing from Chicago

Wednesday, November 11, 2016

3 p.m.

The LPGA’s International Crown, a country vs. country team tournament dreamed up by Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich, won’t be played at his backyard course next year.

The LPGA announced on Wednesday afternoon that it will be played elsewhere in the Chicago area. The reason for the move was not announced.

Rich had created the Crown, sponsored by UL, as a complementary international championship to the Solheim Cup, which his course hosted in 2009.

The release said, “Despite this decision, both parties remain open to future LPGA opportunities at Rich Harvest Farms based on the successful partnership in staging the 2009 Solheim Cup.”

Next year’s Crown is slated for July 21-24, less than a month before golf returns to the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

Tim Cronin

No. 1 Day romps to BMW crown

Jason Day is the BMW Championship winner and No. 1 in the world. He achieved the latter by winning the former on Sunday at Conway Farms Golf Club. A final round 2-under-par 69 for a Western Open record-tying 22-under 262 brought him a six-stroke victory over rookie Daniel Berger. Rory McIlroy, from whom he snagged the world No. 1 ranking, tied for fourth. Tim Cronin's report is on our News Page.

Ready, set, birdie

Conway Farms yielded a 59, 61 and 63 when the pros visited two years ago. What's in store for this year's BMW Championship. Tim Cronin's preview is on our News page.

Jordan Spieth, an honest man

Tuesday, Jordan Spieth dropped by the interview room at Conway Farms in advance of the BMW Championship to wax eloquently about anything and everything regarding the state of his game, the playoffs and life in general. It was Spieth unfiltered and compelling. Tim Cronin's report on Spieth is on our News page.

September's digital edition of Illinois Golfer!

Click here for the 30-page September digital edition of Illinois Golfer, featuring an in-depth interview with USGA president Tom O'Toole, complete wrapups of the U.S. Amateur at Olympia Fields, the Western Amateur at Rich Harvest Farms, and the Illinois PGA Championship at Medinah. Plus, a preview of the BMW Championship at Conway Farms, thoughts on next year's International Crown, and why Dawson Alexander should have teed it up in the U.S. Am. All that plus exclusive photography in the September edition of Illinois Golfer, just a click away with the first link, and easily downloadable! (To view via Issuu, click here.)

Billiter wins Illinois PGA by 2

Jim Billiter of Merit Club won the 93rd Illinois PGA Championship on Wednesday on Medinah Country Club's Course One. His 1-under-par 70 held off runner-up Matt Slowinski by two strokes and beat Medinah teaching pro Travis Johns by three. That gave Billiter his second state major of the season to go with the Illinois PGA Match Play title. The full report on the News page.

DeChambeau salts away U.S. Amateur

NCAA Champion Bryson DeChambeau finiched off the double on Sunday, winning the 115th U.S. Amateur championship with a 7 and 6 victory over Derek Bard at Olympia Fields Country Club. The full report on the News page.

August's digital issue of Illinois Golfer!

The August issue of Illinois Golfer features reports on the Illinois Open and Illinois Women's Open, previews of the Western Amateur and U.S. Amateur, and a feature report on the redesigned Mount Prospect Golf Club municipal layout. Enjoy! The link is here. (You have to be a subscriber to Issuu – it's free – to download.)

Olympia Fields, Kemper Lakes score WPGA in 2017, 2018

The WPGA Championship is coming to the Chicago area twice beginning in 2017, when it will be held at Olympia Fields Country Club. In 2018, Kemper Lakes Golf Club will step back into the major spotlight for the first time since the 1989 PGA. The full report on the News page.

Dawson Armstrong wins Western Amateur

Nineteen-year-old Dawson Armstrong's holed bunker shot on the 20th hole won him the 113th Western Amateur on Saturday at Rich Harvest Farms. He beat Aaron Wise, who had a chance to close Armstrong out on the 18th hole and couldn't do so. The full report on the News page.

Final Four set in Western Amateur

Robby Shelton will meet Dawson Armstrong and Jake Knapp will play Aaron Wise in Saturday morning's semifinals in the 113th Western Amateur at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove. The full report on the first day of match play on the News page.

Records smashed at Rich Harvest

The course record at Rich Harvest dropped faster than the price of oil on Wednesday at Rich Harvest Farms, going from 67 to 66 to 64 in a matter of minutes during the second round of Western Amateur stroke play qualifying. And leader Dawson Armstrong has a two-stroke lead at 11-under-par 133 entering the 36-hole grind that will determine the Sweet Sixteen advancing to match play. The full report on the News page.

Pettersen, 15, wins Illinois Women's Open

Rockford amateur Madasyn Pettersen scored a career-best 6-under-par 66 to win the 21st Illinois Women's Open at Mistwood Golf Club with a total of 8-under-par 208, good for a five-stroke margin over. amateur Brooke Ferrell and pro Chelsea Harris. The full report on the News page.

Cooke wins 66th Illinois Open

Amateur David Cooke's 9-under-par 63 and total of 16-under 199 won the 66th Illinois Open on Wednesday. He scored a five-stroke victory over Vince India, doing so while remembering his younger brother Chad, who died playing him in a pick-up basketball game last December.  The full report on the News page.

Spieth does it again at the Deere

Jordan Spieth won his second John Deere Classic in three years, and once again in a sudden-death playoff. His par on the second hole of sudden death ended a dramatic day which saw him come back from a four-stroke deficit against journeyman Tom Gillis. The full report on the News page.

Spieth has the look of eagles about him

With a pair of eagles, the second a dramatic hole-out from 105 yards, Jordan Spieth roared into the lead in the 45th John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis. Spieth, at 17-under 196, has a two-stroke lead on Danny Lee, last week's winner, entering the final round. The full report on the News page.

Spieth makes his presence known at Deere Run

Jordan Spieth scored 7-under-par 64 to climb into contention, and Justin Thomas grabbed sole possession of the lead halfway through the 45th John Deere Classic at TPC Deere Run in Silvis. The full report on the News page.

Thomas, Thompson lead 100 par-breakers at Deere Run

While world No. 2 Jordan Spieth scored even par 71, 100 players in the John Deere Classic finished the first round ahead of him at TPC Deere Run in Silvis, led by Justin Thomas and Nicholas Thompson at 8-under-par 63. The full report on the News page.

Bill Murray turns back the clock at Deere Run

D.A. Points didn't mind playing second-fiddle to his pro-am partner on Wednesday at TPC Deere Run. When Bill Murray's on the course, things have a way of happening. The on-the-scene report is on the News page.

Illinois Golfer's July digital edition: A John Deere Classic preview, the IG Challenge, and more!

July's digital edition of Illinois Golfer, available here, features a preview (and history) of the John Deere Classic, five pages of coverage of the 27th Illinois Golfer Challenge Junior Golf Championship, reports on the 46th Illinois Junior, the 96th CDGA Championship, the 19th Palmer Cup, and much more. There's even a look back at the real origin of the modern Grand Slam, and Luke Cella's column about bees. This issue is buzzing!

IG Challenge Junior: Barker repeats, Mikula, Snyder, Hollatz capture titles

    Click here for a report on Gehrig Hollatz's victory over Michael Barber in the Boys 16-to-18 Division.

    Click here to read about Christian Snyder's success in the Boys 13-to-15 Division.

    Click here for the amazing story of the playoff that saw Kelly Barker repeat in the Girls 16-to-18 Division.

    Click here for the report on Jane Mikula's victory in the Girls 13-to-15 Division.

    Click here for all the scoring from all four divisions.

Illinois Golfer's June digital edition features Jerry Rich and Rich Harvest Farms

Click here to view and download the PDF of the June digital issue of Illinois Golfer, full of features and news: There's nowhere else like it in golf. Now Rich Harvest Farms takes center stage again with this month's Palmer Cup and August's Western Amateur, the latest in a long line of big tournaments in Jerry Rich's backyard.

Also in June: Reports on who's gotten the call to the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, Illinois' failed bid for the NCAA Championship, the amateur team's comeback in the Radix Cup, the Illinois PGA Match Play, the Joliet Amateur, and more!

IG Challenge Junior at Glenwoodie is July 1

Entries are now closed for the 27th Illinois Golfer Challenge Junior Golf Championship on Wednesday, July 1 at Glenwoodie Golf Course. Pairings will be released on Monday or Tuesday, available here and e-mailed to all competitors. It'll be a great day!

Illinois Golfer's Digital Edition for May features top-ranked Illini men's team

Click here to view and download the PDF of our May digital edition, featuring a cover story on the No. 1 Illinois men's team and the amazing practice facility that Mike Small brought to life. It also includes a Radix Cup preview, reports on the Kevin Streelman's win in the Masters' Par-3 Contest and that of a 9-year-old from Glenview in the Drive, Chip and Putt Championship, coverage of the Will County Amateur, news of changes to Harbor Shores, a preview of the Radix Cup, and more, including the most complete public course directory in the state.

Click here for April's issue, featuring a season preview, review of 2014, reports on the Illinois Open's move to two sites, the BMW Championship's 2018 plan for Philadelphia, a look at Illinois' connections to Augusta National, and more.

Please note you have to be an Issuu member – there's free registration – to download at the moment.

Billiter wins IPGA match play crown

It took 21 holes, and it ended with a bogey, but Jim Billiter, assistant pro at Merit Club, beat Mistwood's Brian Brodell for the Illinois PGA's match play title on Thursday at Kemper Lakes Golf Club. The full story is here.

Egan, McNair, Sobb elected to Illinois Golf Hall of Fame

An eminent amateur from the turn of the last century and two longtime professionals with disparate but sterling resumes form the 16th class of the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame, elected Wednesday night at The Glen Club. Click here for the news of the election of H. Chandler Egan, Leon McNair and Jim Sobb.

Golf at the movies: Review of "The Squeeze"

We don't hand out stars or point thumbs, but we do review movies and books. The latest of the former is "The Squeeze," in wide VOD release on Friday. Our review is on the News page.

Radix Cup Guide:

The all-time roster is downloadable HERE.

Welcome to our new look

It's been three years since the Illinois Golfer website was launched, and it was time to sweep out the dust bunnies. Expect more in the coming weeks, but for now, check out the new April digital edition of Illinois Golfer, just a download away!

Miller leaving Illinois PGA for SW PGA

Michael Miller is on the move. The 20-year executive director of the Illinois PGA Section has accepted the same position for the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Southwest PGA, it was announced today. The move is effective on May 1. The search for a successor will be "a fairly long process," section president Jim Opp said. Details on our News page.

Aronimink approves 2018 BMW to Philadelphia

As expected, Aronimink Golf Club near Philadelphia accepted on Wed., March 4 the WGA's offer to play the 2018 BMW Championship, numerous news organizations in the Philadelphia area report. The shift would take the tournament to the eastern seaboard for the first time. More on our News page.

Illinois Open sees double: two courses in 2015

The Illinois Open moves to Royal Melbourne and Hawthorn Woods country clubs this July, in a bid to increase the purse by increasing the field. The field will be 258 rather than 156, which is expected to encourage more players to try to qualify. More on our News page.

Illinois Golfer's 2015 Western Amateur digital edition

 Click here to download the August electronic ediiton of Illinois Golfer, a 15-page PDF with complete coverage of the Western Amateur, a look back at the life of WGA educational guru Jim Moore, a report on Emily Collins' big win in the Illinois Women's Open, and advice for the PGA of America on how to keep the U.S. Public Links Championships going.

Special Illinois Open e-magazine available

Click here for a special 6-page PDF e-edition of Illinois Golfer, focusing on this week's Illinois Open and including photos and final scoring and statistics. It's the most complete coverage of the victory by Brad Hopfinger you'll find!

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Below, here are a few golden oldies for the history buffs among our readership.

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LPGA returning to Rich Harvest in 2016 with the eight-team International Crown

    Writing from Chicago

    Thursday, January 24, 2013


    The 2009 Solheim Cup drew 35,000 people a day for three days to Rich Harvest Farms, the secluded course on the Sugar Grove estate of tycoon and golf nut Jerry Rich. Thrilled with the response even before the first ball was struck in anger, Rich proposed a team tournament with international flavor to be held at his course on a regular basis.

    A sponsor was sought. A sponsor was thought to be found in Navistar.

    Then the deal dried up, victim of the Great Recession, and Rich shelved the idea.

    Today, it came off the shelf. The LPGA announced a team tournament, the International Crown, with the second edition to be played at Rich Harvest in 2016. The field will include 32 players from the top eight golf nations, as ranked by the Rolex World Rankings. It will be played every other year, in the year that Solheim was not played. The first will be played at Caves Valley Golf Club, near Baltimore, in 2014. The full story is on the News page.

    – Tim Cronin

Orrick captures IPGA Players, Malm nets 2012 Player of Year

Steve Orrick, head pro at the Country Club of Decatur, won the Illinois PGA Players Championship on Tuesday on Eagle Ridge Resort's North Course. Curtis Malm, an assistant at St. Charles Country Club, tied for sixth, but clinched the Player of the Year award. Details on the News page.

Lake Bluff's Skinner edged in 2012 U.S. Senior Am final

Curtis Skinner made it all the way to the final of this week's U.S. Senior Amateur, but was beaten, 4 and 3, by Paul Simson of Raleigh, N.C., in the championship match.

Skinner, 55, ran into a hot golfer in the 61-year-old Simson. He was 10-under-par across Wednesday's quarterfinal and semifinal matches, then took a 3-up lead in the championship match at Mountain Ridge Golf Club in West Caldwell, N.J. after 12 holes, and cruised from there. On the 13th, Skinner, from Lake Bluff, failed to make an 18-foot birdie putt, while Simson saved par out of a bunker.

"He hit a phenomenal sort of flop shot," Skinner told USGA.org. "I hit a putt that I thought I had made, but that was a little too hard, so that was probably the turning point."

Simson is an old hand at senior golf. A three-time British Senior Amateur champion, the insurance agent was playing in his 55th USGA championship. Skinner knocked off a pair of former U.S. Senior Am winners on the way to the final. As balm for losing, he receives exemptions into next year's U.S. Senior Open and U.S Amateur, and a spot in sectional qualifying for next year's U.S. Open.

For more details, see USGA.org.

– Tim Cronin

Troyanovich’s playoff birdie takes IWO title

    Friday, July 27, 2012

    The putt was no more than four feet, set up by a big drive, big hybrid second shot and delicate chip on Mistwood Golf Club’s 506-yard par 5 third hole.

    Also known as the first playoff hole Friday in the 18th Illinois Women’s Open.

    Also known, after amateur Samantha Troyanovich drained the birdie putt, as the only playoff hole.

    Troyanovich, from Grosse Pointe Shores, Mich., won the three-way playoff over Brittany Mielbrecht of Gulf Stream, Fla., and amateur Samantha Postillion, who grew up in Burr Ridge. The runners-up each parred the redesigned hole, neither matching the sterling approach Troyanovich authored.

    “I’ve never won a tournament before,” the recent graduate of Tulane exclaimed.

    She has now, and while she’s remaining an amateur for the moment – and returning to Tulane to work on a masters degree – she may turn pro down the line. This time, she missed out on the $5,000 first prize a pro would have collected. That went to low pro Mielbrecht, who missed a five-footer on the 18th hole to win outright.

    It was Postillion who was playing for history of a sort. Her mother Kerry won three IWOs.

    “That’s always been in the back of my mind when I’ve played here,” Postillion said. “I’ve always wanted a chance to win.”

    Scoring three-under-par 69 in the final round on the recently remodeled Romeoville course gave her the chance. Troyanovich also scored 69 to total 1-under 215, while first round co-leader Mielbrecht scored 70 to make the playoff.

    Flossmoor’s Ashley Armstrong, the low Illinoisan, tied for fourth with Brittany Johnston of Akron, Ohio, a stroke out of the playoff at 2-over 216.

    The purse was jumped to a record $25,000 on Friday, which should auger well for another jump in the size and quality of the field next year. That’s a large purse for one of the few state opens in the country. The IWO had 93 entries, compared to around 500, including those failing to qualify, for the Illinois Open, a field populated exclusively by men. Last week’s tournament at The Glen Club had a purse of $85,000.

    – Tim Cronin

Lucas, Miller tied entering IWO final round

Thursday, July 26, 2012

It is one of the more crowded leader boards entering the final round in Illinois Women’s Open history.

A tie for the lead between a young pro and an even younger amateur. Nine players within three strokes with 18 holes to play.

And one more round at Mistwood Golf Club in Romeoville awaiting them.

The leaders going into the final round of the IWO’s 18th edition are amateurs Nora Lucas of Chicago and Stephanie Miller of Wauconda, Lucas recently graduated from Illinois, while Miller will be entering Illinois in the fall of 2013.

Miller’s host on her recruiting trip in Champaign? Lucas. Golf is a small world.

They finished Thursday’s second round at 1-under-par 143, Lucas by shooting an even par 72, Miller a stroke higher.

They’re a stroke ahead of Colleen Cashman-McSween of Ann Arbor, Mich., whose 1-under 71 could have been much better, and Brittany Johnston of Akron, Ohio. They’re at even par 144 and set to play in Friday’s penultimate twosome. Right behind them a 1-over 145 are amateur Liz Nagel of DeWitt, Mich., and Lauren Mielbrecht of Gulf Stream, Fla. Mielbrecht added a 75 to her opening 70.

Cashman-McSween made the best move of the leaders, but ...

“I hit it inside 10 feet seven times today, and only made two of them,” Cashman-McSween said. “All of the putts would have been for birdies.”

Among those at 2-over 146 is Flossmoor’s Ashley Armstrong. The amateur who will enter her sophomore year at Notre Dame next month knocked off Lucas in the first round of the recent North and South Women’s Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C., and knows something about comebacks. She rallied at this time last year to win the Women’s Western Junior at Flossmoor Country Club.

The comeback of the day was authored by Kathy Sterling of Mokena. The sophomore at Louisiana-Monroe opened with an 85, but scored 1-under 71 on Thursday to secure a spot in the final round. The cut fell at 15-over 159 and encompassed 41 players. The winner, if a professional, will collect at least $5,000 from the purse of approximately $18,000.

– Tim Cronin

Trio tied at 71 in Illinois Women's Open

    Writing from Romeoville, Illinois

    Wednesday, July 25, 2012


    Rare has been the golf tournament where the shrill sound of the power saw has lived in harmony with play on the course.

    This year's Illinois Women's Open is that tournament. Construction on the learning center at Mistwood Golf Club is continuing even as the IWO, with founder Phil Kosin's name attached to it for the third year, is conducted.

    So far, the two opposites are in concert. The racket caused by the second phase of owner Jim McWethy's revitalization of the course hardly bothered those who were concentrating, including first round tri-leaders Stephanie Miller, Brittany Johnston and Lauren Mielbrecht.

    They scored 2-under-par 70 on the 6,249-yard layout, and are a stroke clear of amateurs Liz Nagel and Nora Lucas entering Thursday's second round.

    Miller, a Wauconda resident who enters her senior year at Stevenson High School next month, is the only amateur among the three leaders. She authored the shot of the day by slamming a 60-yard wedge into the cup for eagle on the par-4 10th hole, then birdied the 11th to move to 3-under before slipping back to 2-under for the day.

    She would be the solo leader but for the recent change in the IWO eligibility rules that opened the tournament players like Johnston and Mielbrecht, from Ohio and Florida respectively. The two fledgling professionals saw an opportunity to chase the $5,000 first prize from a purse that could reach $18,000, and so far are doing so with alacrity.

    But each, as well as Miller and Nagel, reproved the point that Mistwood always makes: Get your birdies early, for the home stretch is a beast.

    "From the 12th to the 18th, I couldn't get any putts to go in," Mielbrecht said. "At the end it got hot, and it was windy in parts."

    Mielbrecht's last birdie came at the 11th hole. Johnston made for birdies and said she missed another six birdie putts under 10 feet. Nagel bogeyed four straight holes beginning at the 13th after sinking birdie putts of 6, 25 and 2 feet on the previous three holes. She was 5-under at the time and three clear of the others, then came back to earth.

    A quartet of four players is at 1-over 73, and includes amateur Ashley Armstrong, the only player in the field who played in this year's U.S. Women's Open. Armstrong is coming off a semifinal appearance in the North and South Women Amateur.

    Defending champion Jenna Pearson scored 3-over 75. The most notable of a handful of withdrawals was that of Winnetka's Elizabeth Szokol, who had been expected to contend.

    Thursday's second round, which determines the cut to the low 40 percent of the field, will used both tees in the morning in an attempt to dodge expected foul weather in the afternoon.

    – Tim Cronin

The heat’s on at Illinois Women’s Open 

Writing from Chicago

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

More often than not, the Illinois Women’s Open is beset by ridiculous weather conditions. There have been thunderstorms, tornado warnings, floods, high winds, and heat.

Everything has hit the IWO but the 17-year locust.

Heat is on the menu for Wednesday’s first day of the 18th IWO, the third to be played with the name of founder Phil Kosin attached. The late proprietor of Chicagoland Golf sank real money into the tournament over the years, and the payoff has come in the high regard those who have succeeded him in running the tournament care for his baby.

Mistwood Golf Club owner Jim McWethy is foremost in that regard. He loved the idea of it, kept it at Mistwood after Kosin’s untimely death, and put his staff to work building it.

The result is a $15,000 purse, sponsorship for the second year by BMO Harris Bank, and a 93-person field. The mercury is expected to pass that number by midday and hit 100 – which at Mistwood means even hotter, for certain areas of the course retain heat as efficiently as a blast furnace – but with the first threesomes beginning at 7 a.m., perhaps the majority of the field will miss the worst of it.

Defending champion Jenna Pearson of Wheaton tees off at 8 a.m., with Carbondale’s Diane Daugherty, the champion of the inaugural playing at Odyssey Country Club in 1995, in the group immediately following.

The field is studded with a large number of current collegians and recent graduates. Among the former in the field are Ashley Armstrong of Flossmoor, who won this year’s Big East Conference title as a freshman and topped that by playing in the U.S. Women’s Open, former Homewood-Flossmoor teammates Michelle Mayer (Illinois), Ryann Gilley (Southern Illinois), and Marian Catholic’s Bree Veazey. Recent Illinois graduate Samantha Sloan of Lansing, like Veazey from Marian, also figures to make an impact.

There are 23 professionals in the field. They and the 70 amateurs in the field will, if they discount the temperature, think they’re at last week’s British Open if they hit into one of the revetted – or side-stacked – bunkers that now dot the Mistwood course. While architect Ray Hearn was generous with allowing a way out, that way out isn’t always forward. The smart player who finds herself in one of the new bunkers will be wise to find the safest way out.

Admission to the IWO is free. Unlike past years, a new parking lot, part of McWethy’s $6 million improvement program, will have ample room for both competitors and spectators.

– Tim Cronin

Scodro outlasts Meierdierks for Illinois Open title

Writing from Glenview, Illinois

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

   There are 17 holes at The Glen Club, but for Max Scodro and Eric Meierdierks, everything came down to the par-5 18th hole in the final round of the 63rd Illinois Open – four times.
    The first time, Scodro, trailing Meierdierks by a stroke, dropped an uphill 12-footer for birdie to match his opponent and force a playoff.
    The second time, Scodro flirted with disaster on his third shot, but it stayed on the fringe, and he escaped with a par, matching Meierdierks. The duo matched pars again the next time, and they again trudged back to the tee.
    The fourth time, Meierdierks’ occasional penchant for hooking a tee shot to the right came back to haunt him. He had done so the first time they played 18 in the playoff, but escaped from the high rough and and tree blockage to make par and play on.
    Not this time. His tee shot found the high gunch, his hacked second nearly ended up under a tree, and it took two more shots to reach the green. Scodro two-putted for an easy par, the title, and the $17,000 first prize.
    “I’d had my fair share of trouble on 18,” Scodro said. “The second day, I hit my 3-iron in the water.”
    Not this time. Playing safe and staying out of big trouble brought him the championship, which stunned him.
    “If you’d have told me I’d have a shot coming down the last hole, and then win in a playoff ... I’m in a little bit of shock now,” Scodro said.
    Scodro’s birdie of the 18th in regulation was the spark for all the drama.
    “I willed that one in,” Scodro said, grinning.
    It was as good a putt as the one Meierdierks had on the 18th the second time they played in the playoff. His 15-footer dropped in the right side of the hole, and spun out, a cruel twist for him.
    “I was about to fist pump, and it didn’t go in,” said Meierdierks, who settled for $12,000 as balm from the prize fund of $85,500.
    The winner in 2010, Meierdierks flirted with going for the 18th green in two in regulation, when he knew Scodro, who had laid up, was the only player with a shot at him. He decided to lay up as well, taking the pond that fronts the green out of play.
    “I don’t second-guess that,” Meierdierks said. “I feel I can putt the shot off, and I’d try in different circumstances, but in this case, he has to take it from me.”
    Meierdierks settled for a two-putt par compared to Scodro’s dramatic birdie, and it was off to the playoff. Both birdied the first hole, a downwind par-5, parred the par-3 17th, and then went to the 18th to settle the matter.
    Scodro, a recent graduate of Notre Dame who prepped for the Illinois Open by winning the Arizona Open, scored 3-under-par 69 to make the playoff, Meierdierks scoring 70 to also finish at 10-under-par 206. At one point, he led Scodro by three strokes, with others between them, but three straight bogeys turned the tide, and they jockeyed for position the remainder of regulation. They were three strokes ahead of Carlos Sainz, Travis Johns and amateur Brett Tomfohrde, who was 1-under for the Open on the 12th tee, then played the final seven holes in 6-under for a 69 and total of 7-under 209. Tomfohrde’s last eight holes: 3-3-4-3-3-3-3-4.
    Defending champion Philip Arouca tied for sixth at 6-under 210.
    – Tim Cronin

Welcome to Illinois Golfer!

Writing from Chicago

Monday, January 30, 2012

A hearty welcome to Illinois Golfer, dedicated to coverage of the game in Illinois and beyond. While our name has the state in it, we're interested in all things golf, inside and outside the borders of the Land of Lincoln, and especially so when Illinoisans, either native or adopted, are involved.

This website will incorporate all the previous posts from our GolfInChicago.wordpress.com website. Click on Golf In Chicago for those. For the latest news, click on News.

Watch this website for much more in the days to come! And thanks for stopping by.

– Tim Cronin