IWO celebrates its 20th anniversary with a sold-out pro-am at Mistwood

The 65th Illinois Open ends on Wednesday. Then it’s the women’s turn. The 20th anniversary staging of the Phil Kosin Illinois Women’s Open will tee off on Monday at Mistwood in Romeoville.

Like the men’s tournament, the IWO is a 54-hole competition that concludes on a Wednesday, July 20. The men’s had state-wide qualifying rounds and 156 finalists at The Glen Club. Mistwood director of golf Dan Phillips expects about 80 players to compete for a $25,000 purse in the IWO. Unlike the men’s Open, the IWO has a Sunday pro-am. Phillips reported that it’s already sold out.

The first and last champions in the IWO, and several in between, will compete at Mistwood. Diane Daugherty, the former women’s coach at Southern Illinois, won the first IWO at Odyssey in Tinley Park. The event moved to Mistwood after four staging’s there.

Elise Swartout, who plays on the LPGA’s satellite Symetra Tour, will defend her title next week. She became the fifth Michigan golfer in the last six years to win the IWO when she survived a two-hole playoff, One of the players she beat in the extra session, Berwyn veteran Nicole Jeray, will return in search of a third IWO title. The LPGA Tour member won in 1998 and 2003.

Only Burr Ridge amateur Kerry Postillion has won the tournament three times. She got her wins between 1996-99.

Another past champion will also be closely-watched. Michigan native Samantha Troyanovich was an amateur out of Tulane University when she took the 2012 title. Now she’s hoping to become the first Mistwood member to win the IWO.

“The first time I played in the Illinois Women’s Open was a shot in the dark,’’ Troyanovich said. “I didn’t known what to expect..’’

After winning she took a year off from golf to get her Master’s degree in accounting. In January she turned professional. Though she’s had trouble getting into tournaments, she has worked daily with Mike Baldwin, director of Mistwood’s upscale Performance Center.

“I needed to work with Mike,’’ said Troyanovich. “He’s my coach. I’m a full member and it’s my job 9:30 to 5. It’s a perfect setup.’’

Mistwood completed a massive renovation, supervised by Michigan architect Ray Hearn, just prior to last year’s IWO and Golf magazine named it the “Best U.S. Renovation You Can Play ‘’ in 2013. The new Performance Center also opened in time for that tournament and work on a new clubhouse is expected to begin shortly after this year’s IWO is completed.

International Crown tees off

The LPGA’s new International Crown event begins Thursday at Caves Valley in Baltimore. The inaugural four-day event, featuring four-player teams from eight countries, will set the stage for its second staging at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove in 2016.

Rich Harvest’s staff will have a booth at the Sugar Grove Corn Boil from Friday through Sunday to trigger promotional efforts for the second staging. It’ll feature live Golf Channel jumbotron updates from 3-3:15, 4:40-4:55 and 6:10-6:25 p.m. on Saturday and 2:30-2:55 p.m. on Sunday. The booth will be in operation from 4-9 p.m. on Friday, 11 a.m.-9 p.m. on Saturday and 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Sunday.

Here and there

John Schickling, the head professional at Rolling Green in Arlington Heights, and Kevin Marion, who holds the same position at Old Elm in Highland Park, will be the honorees at Monday’s Illinois PGA Senior Masters event at Onwentsia in Lake Forest.

The Illinois PGA will conduct its Assistants Championship on Monday. It’ll be a one-day 36-hole event at Crystal Lake Country Club. Australian Nick Smith, who directs the Twin Lakes facility in Palatine, will defend his title.

The Chicago District Golf Assn. Centennial Team Championship is scheduled for Midlothian Country Club on Monday.

Knollwood Country Club, in Granger, Ind., will host the Chicago-based Women’s Western Golf Assn. Junior Championship next week. It’ll run Monday through Friday, Aug. 1.

The Lake Park High School Educational Foundation will celebrate its 25th anniversary with an Aug. 4 outing and reception at Medinah.