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Len Ziehm On Golf

Hallberg in Senior Open qualifier; IPGA competes at Shoreacres

Last week’s Senior PGA Championship in French Lick, Ind., was a big deal, but hardly a season-ender for the best 50-and-over players. Now they’ll compete much closer to home.

Barrington Hills hosts a sectional qualifier for the 36th U.S. Senior Open on Wednesday, and Gary Hallberg will head the field. Though he’s long been a Colorado resident, Hallberg grew up in Barrington before enjoying a successful career as a touring pro.

He’s one of the few players to have victories on the Web.com, PGA and Champions Tours and he qualified for all four rounds at French Lick, finishing in a tie for 58th place that earned him $5,058. Though he now plays a limited tournament schedule Hallberg, 58, has made the cut in all five of his starts this season.

Getting through Senior Open qualifying, though, will be a tough task. As was the case in last week’s U.S. Women’s Open sectional, there’ll only be two spots in the finals offered at Barrington Hills and 82 players are scheduled to compete.

The Chicago sectional is one of 34 held nation-wide to whittle the field from 2,445 entries. Seventy-nine of those entrants are exempt from sectional qualifying, among them Senior PGA winner Colin Montgomerie, Hinsdale Champions Tour regular Jeff Sluman and Tom Lehman, who will defend his title at the Encompass Championship at North Shore in Glenview in July. The Senior Open finals are June 25-28 at Del Paso in Sacramento, Calif.

A present-day Barrington golfer, Doug Bauman, will spend the week making a title defense in the Illinois PGA Senior Match Play Championship at Shoreacres in Lake Bluff. Bauman, the long-time head professional at Biltmore in Barrington, won his first title in the tournament at Merit Club in Libertyville last year.

The IPGA Senior Match Play started on Tuesday and will conclude on Thursday when semifinal matches are scheduled to tee off at 8 a.m. and the championship match at 11 a.m.

A milestone win for Ehrgott

John Ehrgott, from Edwards near Peoria, captured the first Chicago District Golf Association Mid-Amateur Championship conducted in a match play format last week. It had been a flighted tournament the previous 12 years.

Ehrgott cruised past Michael Natale of Indian Head Park 5 and 4 in the title match at Bowes Creek in Elgin. The win also made Ehrgott the first player to notch victories in both the Chicago District and Illinois State Mid-Amateur events.

In addition to the Senior Open sectional the CDGA will conducts its first qualifiers for the Chicago District Amateur this week. Eliminations will be held at both White Eagle in Naperville and Pontiac Elks on Thursday.

Here and there

The Arnold Palmer Cup will remain a men’s only match play battle between the U.S. and Europe when the competition is conducted at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove from June 12-14, but organizers have announced a change in format for 2018. Then an International side will replace the Europeans and both teams will include women players.

The NCAA Division I women’s tourney is winding down at Concession Club in Bradenton, Fl., and the men begin their six-day competition there on Friday with Illinois among the top contenders.

Elgin’s Carlos Sainz Jr. took a break from the PGA Tour to try to qualify for the U.S. Open at Iowa’s Harvester course. He shot 74 and is second alternate from that site to get into the sectional eliminations.

Golf Channel Academy is now in operation at Cog Hill in Lemont. Cog is one of 57 inaugural locations participating in the launch of the teaching program.

The Chicago Sky has scheduled its first charity tournament for June 15 at Wilmette. It’ll be a four-player scramble that will include a Beat the Pro closest-to-the-pin contest featuring LPGA veteran Nicole Jeray.

Arlington Lakes has announced a June 7 closing. That’s the last of the two-day Arlington Amateur and architect Mike Benkusky will then begin renovation work. The course is expected to re-open in June, 2016. Oak Meadows, in Addison, will close on July 6, setting the stage for a renovation supervised by architect Greg Martin that will likely be completed in the spring of 2017.

Jonathon Parsons has been named general manager at Schaumburg Golf Club.