Illini alums come up big in Korn Ferry tourney


Michael Feagles, one of the University of Illinois’ stars of the recent past, shot the ninth sub-60 score in the history of the Korn Ferry Tour at last week’s BMW Charity Pro-Am but he wasn’t the Illini alum to win the tournament.  Adrien Dumont de Chassart was – and it came in his first pro tournament.

The twists in this tournament on the PGA Tour’s alternative tour couldn’t match what happened when Nick Taylor snapped a 69-year dryspell for Canadian players by winning the Canadian Open on the PGA Tour, but it added to another big season for the Illini.

Feagles turned pro after his Illini career ended in 2021. He quickly made it to the Korn Ferry circuit, but was struggling until last week’s first round of the BMW event in South Carolina.

Then everything came together. Feagles made 12 birdies en route to carding his 59. His best finish during this year’s Korn Ferry campaignhad been a tie for 25th and he stood just 143rd in the circuit standings before his game caught fire.

“If you looked at my scores of late you probably would not see me doing this,’’ said Feagles in the immediate aftermath of his hot round.  “Golf’s just been doing that to me.  Certain weeks parts of my game will feel really good, and the other will feel like I never played before.  I’m finally feeling like I’m piecing it all together.’’

Feagles came to Illinois after growing up in Scottsdale, Ariz.  He needed just 23 putts in his milestone round, then posted rounds of 71-73-67 and finished in a tie for 15th.

Then it was Dumont de Chassart’s turn.  He was a star on coach Mike Small’s powerhouse that ended its season in the match play portion of the NCAA finals.  Thanks to a last round 65 Dumont de Chassart finished tied with Josh Teater at the top of the leaderboard at 21-under-par 264, then won the title in a playoff.

Illinois Women’s Amateur turns 90

The 90th playing of the Illinois Women’s Amateur began on Monday (JUNE 12) at The Grove, in Long Grove. Monday’s qualifying round determined the 32 players moving into the championship flight.  The first round of match play is on Tuesday (JUNE 13) with the quarterfinals and semifinals on Wednesday and the championship match on Thursday.

Megan Furtney, from St. Charles and a collegiate player at Duke, won the title last year at The Grove after being the tourney’s runner-up in 2021.

New pro at Kemper Lakes

Jim Miller, a former head professional at Evanston Golf Club, is back in the Chicago area as the head pro at Kemper Lakes, in Kildeer.  Miller, who had been an Evanston assistant, moved up to the head job there when his father Hal retired.  Hal Miller went on to be named to the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame.

After five years at Evanston Jim Miller moved to Bloomington Country Club as its head professional and served as president of the Illinois PGA from 2018-20. He replaced Matt Simon at Kemper.  Simon is now at The Grove.

HERE AND THERE – Arlington Heights’ Doug Ghim was lost in the drama of Taylor’s dramatic win in the Canadian Open, but his tie for 12th was his best finish in 19 tournaments this season.

More drama could be coming this week in the U.S. Open at Los Angeles Country Club.  Kevin Streelman, Nick Hardy, Dylan Wu and Northwestern amateur David Nyfjall are the local qualifiers. Thomas Pieters, an Illini alum, is also in the field.

Small has named his new assistant.  It’s Ruben Sondjaja, who played at Iowa State and was the assistant at his alma mater the last two years. He replaces Justin Badgett, who left to become director of collegiate relations with PGA Tour University.

Small was named GolfWeek men’s college coach of the year for the second time in three seasons. With the Illini season over Small returned as a tournament player and finished tie for 22nd in the PGA Tour Champions’ American Family Insurance Championship in Wisconsin. Steve Stricker, Small’s former college teammate at Illinois and the tournament host, won the title.

The 61st Radix Cup matches between the Illinois PGA’s best players and the top amateurs in the Chicago District Golf Association will be played Thursday at Oak Park Country Club.   The competition consists of six better ball matches.  The IPGA leads the series 37-21-2 but the CDGA won last year’s match 10-8.

Ted Pecora, a Winnetka resident and Bob O’Link member, captured the 21st CDGA Senior Amateur at Aurora Country Club, beating Terry Werner of Briarwood and Schererville, Ind., 5 & 3 in the final.

University of Illinois golfers Crystal Wang and Tommy Kuhl teamed up to win two matches and help the U.S. team to a 32-28 victory over an International squad in the 27th Palmer Cup matches at Laurel Valley, in Pennsylvania.