The golf world gets back to normal this week following the tumultuous week created by Tiger Woods’ victory in the Masters. None of the American tours had tournaments during Masters week but Doug Ghim was invited by the PGA Tour to look back on his experiences at Augusta National.
Ghim was the low amateur in the 2018 Masters and made three eagles in the tournament with his father Jeff working as his caddie. Each eagle earned him a crystal goblet.
Though Ghim has established Las Vegas as his base as a tour player, those goblets are back in the family home in Arlington Heights. Ghim’s roommate in Las Vegas is fellow Web.com Tour member Maverick McNealy, and Ghim didn’t think the goblets should be kept in Las Vegas.
“Chicago is still home,’’ said Ghim. That’s where I came from so I kept them there. I just didn’t want them to get wrecked.’’
Ghim won the Ben Hogan Award as the nation’s top male collegiate golfer and turned pro prior to last year’s Travelers Championship. In addition to playing in four PGA Tour events Ghim earned membership on the Web.com Tour with a tie for third in the qualifying school.
Going into this week’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail Championship in Alabama Ghim stands No. 30 on the Web.com point list. Former University of Iowa teammates Brad Hopfinger, of Lake Forest, and Vince India, of Deerfield, will join Ghim in the field in Alabama.
Hopfinger is No. 56 on the tour point list and India, the reigning Illinois Open champion, is 65th. The top 25 at season’s end get PGA Tour cards and the top 75 earn spots in the Web.com Tour Finals.
Those numbers are more important to Ghim now, but the Masters experience hasn’t been forgotten.
“I went off in the pro shop and bought like $600 worth of hats alone,’’ he said. “I still wear them to this day. I bought a lot of stuff, but the silver cup (as low amateur) and the eagle goblets were awesome to bring home because they were the only things that I didn’t have to pay for, so that was nice.’’
Streelman, Donald in Heritage
The PGA Tour tees off at the RBC Heritage Classic on Thursday at the Harbour Town course in Hilton Head Island, S.C. That layout has been especially good to Luke Donald, the former Northwestern star who is on the comeback trail after two years of back problems.
A former world No. 1 with two top-five finishes in the Masters, Donald has been consistently good at the Heritage. He has four runner-up finishes and two thirds in the event.
Like Donald, Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman didn’t qualify for this year’s Masters but will play in the Heritage. A former winner of the Masters Par-3 Contest, Streelman is coming off his best finish of the 2018-19 season – sixth at the Valero Texas Open two weeks ago.
Highwood’s Patrick Flavin, the last player to win the Illinois Open and Illinois State Amateur in the same year (2017), is doing the best of the three Illinois players with membership on the PGA Latinoamerica Tour.
Flavin won the Brazil qualifier to get him tour membership and is 25th on the money list after two tournaments, having tied for 14th in Panama and tied for 40th in Argentina. The circuit stops in Chile this week. Glen Ellyn’s Kyle Kochevar and Wheaton’s Tee-K Kelly are also on the circuit.
PGA Tour Champions resumes its season this week at the Mitsubishi Electric Championship in Georgia. The only local player on the circuit, Jeff Sluman, is coming off his best showing of the season – a tie for 11th in the Rapsian Systems Championship in Mississippi three weeks ago.
The LPGA resumes its campaign this week at the Lotte Championship in Hawaii. Winnetka’s Elizabeth Szokol, in her rookie LPGA season, has made the cut in two of her four tournaments and has winnings of $8,510.
Here and there
Pat Goss, Donald’s putting and short game coach since 1997, is now taking registration for his Short Game/Putting Schools. They begin on May 4 at the Luke Donald Practice Facility at The Glen Club in Glenview. Goss has also worked with PGA Tour players Webb Simpson, Gary Woodland, Trevor Immelman, Nick Watney and Patrick Cantlay.
Troy Newport, who has worked most recently with Troon Golf facilities in Wisconsin, will replace Nick Mokelke as general manager at Cog Hill. Mokelke, who will retire later this year, has been with Jemsek Golf for 56 years including 39 at Cog Hill.
Antioch Golf Club has undergone an ownership and name change. The facility is now called Valley Ridge Golf Club.