Malm is the player to watch in IPGA’s last major at Eagle Ridge

It’ll be nothing like the just-completed Ryder Cup, but there is one big competitive event left in the Chicago golf season.

The Illinois PGA will stage the last of its four major tournaments, the IPGA Players Championship, at Eagle Ridge in Galena on Monday and Tuesday. The section’s player-of-the-year and assistant player-of-the-year awards will be on the line with Curtis Malm, assistant pro at St. Charles Country Club, in position to clinch them both.

If Malm finishes at least tied for third he’d be the second section member to sweep both awards. Dino Lucchesi did it in the 1997 and 1998 and Matt Slowinski in 2009.

If Malm doesn’t finish that high in the 36-hole competition on the resort’s North course there’ll be one stroke play event — the Schaumburg Classic on Oct. 22 — left to determine player-of-the-year winners. That rescheduled event was rained out in August.

Malm won the IPGA Match Play title in May, tied for sixth at the Illinois Open in July and was second to Steve Orrick of Country Club of Decatur at the IPGA Championship in August.

Cantigny’s Rich Dukelow won last year’s Players Championship en route to winning player-of-the-year honors. He’ll try to become the first back-to-back winner of the Players since Orrick did it in 2008-09.

WGA is branching out

The Western Golf Assn., which has long conducted the BMW Championship, Western Amateur and Western Junior tournaments to bolster its Evans Scholars Foundation, will add a Tour event to its managerial duties in 2013. It’ll be part of the PGA Tour developmental circuit’s new four-event Tour Finals.

“Obviously it’s not the BMW, but it is a big deal and about the scope of the old Western Open,’’ said WGA executive director John Kaczkowski. “We don’t expect the same size crowds, but the ( tour has worked well in small to middle-sized markets.’’

The WGA-run event will be the Hotel Fitness Championship, and it’ll be held at Sycamore Hills in Ft. Wayne, Ind., from Aug. 26-Sept. 1. It’ll have 156 players and a $1 million purse and kick off the Finals to determine 50 players advancing to the PGA Tour in 2014.

Since Kaczkowski stepped up from tournament director the WGA has looked for additional tournaments. It also reached a merger agreement with the Women’s Western Golf Assn.

“We’ve been considering adding more professional events for several years,’’ said Kaczkowski. “We pursued others that didn’t make sense financially, but this one does. We’ll look at all options going forward.’’

State Amateur, Open will be back-to-back in 2013

When the U.S. Golf Assn. decided to move its 2013 U.S. Amateur championship at Brookline, Mass., up a week, to Aug. 12-18, that led to some changes on the local front as well.

The Chicago District Golf Assn. made the biggest adjustment, moving its 83rd Illinois State Amateur from its usual dates the second week in August to July 16-18 to reduce the scheduling demands that having the state and national tourneys back-to-back would have created. Next year’s Illinois State Amateur will be at Aldeen, in Rockford.

The IPGA only slightly adjusted its Illinois Open dates. That tourney dropped back a week, to July 22-24 at The Glen Club, in Glenview. The new scheduling will create a big two-week focus on golf for the state’s best players.

Onwentsia’s Carson is top professional

The IPGA has announced its annual award winners for 2012 with Bruce Carson, the veteran head professional at Onwentsia in Lake Forest, taking the top honor. He was named the section’s 58th Illinois Golf Professional of the Year. He’ll receive the award Nov. 15 at Medinah.

Also to be honored are: Scott Baines, Des Plaines, Assistant Professional of the Year; Pat Goss, Evanston Teacher of the Year; Michael Carbray, Glen Ellyn, Junior Golf Leader; Jim Sobb, Barrington, Bill Strausbaugh Award; Nick Papadakes, Wadsworth, Horton Smith Award; Jeff Siegmund, Plainfield, Player Development Award; Wade Gurysh Libertyville, PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Private Facilities); Robert Falkiner, Prospect Heights; PGA Merchandiser of the Year (Public Facilities); and Pat Kenny, Bill Heald Career Achievement Award.