A LOOK BACK AT THE HIGHLY MEMORABLE 2017 TOURNAMENT SEASON OUR EXPERTS—VAL Russell, Len Ziehm, Rory Spears and the like— started banging the drum in our first issue of 2017 back in February. They said this would be a golden year for competitive golf in the Chicago area. As usual, they were right. Every month, it seemed, was jammed with stellar events. As we close the book on the 2017 season, here’s a brief walk down Memory Lane: • Illinois PGA Match Play Championship, May 8-11, Kemper Lakes. This event kicked off an extraordinarily busy tournament schedule, and 30-year-old Jim Billiter was first on the board with a 1-up victory. For his efforts, he took home $4,800 and raised his profile in the area. • NCAA Women’s Golf Championship, May 18- 24, Rich Harvest Farms. We can’t think of a better place to host a college championship. After all, Rich Harvest Farms is one of the premier golf layouts in the country. Everything broke perfectly for Arizona State, which edged out Northwestern for the title. • NCAA Men’s Golf Championship, May 25-31, Rich Harvest Farms. Rich Harvest Farms was back in the spotlight, this time as the men took to the course. Oklahoma wound up capturing the second championship in the program’s history. • Rust-Oleum Championship, June 8-11, Ivanhoe. Slowly but surely, this Web.com tournament is taking root in the Chicago area. In 2017 it certainly was good to Stephan Jaeger, who collected $108,000 for winning the event. • U.S. Open, June 13-18, Erin Hills. This tournament took place in southern Wisconsin, but that’s close enough to home to be considered “local.” It was a huge boost for the Midwest golf scene, as well as for top finisher Brooks Koepka. • Women’s Western Amateur, June 14-17, River Forest Country Club. When the best amateur women convened at River Forest Country Club, Maddy Szeryk, who hails from Canada, proved to be No. 1. • 100th Western Junior Championship, June 19-22, Park Ridge Country Club. It seems fitting that this prestigious tournament celebrated its 100th anniversary during such a banner year for competitive golf in the area. The oldest junior tournament in the United States was won in 2017 by William Mouw of Chino, Calif. • KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, June 26-July 2, Olympia Fields Country Club. The women’s competitive season kicked into high gear here. Danielle Kang earned her first pro win, edging Brooke Henderson by a stroke. • John Deere Classic, July 11-16, TPC John Deere. Illinois’ stalwart PGA tournament was back in its normal July slot, and it didn’t disappoint. Bryson DeChambeau didn’t disappoint, either. He rallied in the final round to win by a stroke. • Illinois Women’s Open, July 17-19, Mistwood. The Illinois Women’s Open grows in prestige each year, and the 2017 winner was Alexandra Farnsworth, who came from behind to best Northwestern star Hanah Kim. • Illinois State Amateur Championship, July 18-20, Calumet Country Club. And the winner was…Highwood’s Patrick Flavin, a senior at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. It took everything he had to hold off Spring Grove’s Jordan Hahn by a stroke. • Western Amateur, July 31-Aug. 5, Skokie Country Club. Norman Xiong, a native of Canyon Lake, Calif., came to the Land of Lincoln with the hot hand and left with the championship trophy. But he had to go to extra holes to do it. • Illinois Open, Aug. 7-9, The Glen Club and Briarwood Country Club. Flavin continued his outstanding summer of ’17 by prevailing in this venerable tournament. • BMW Championship, Sept. 12-17, Conway Farms. Alas, the 2017 season isn’t quite over. This PGA FedEx Cup event returns to Conway Farms, where the competition promises to be fierce. As you can see, it’s been a season for the ages. We hope you’ve enjoyed the ride. Who knows when we’ll see another one like it?
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