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Len Ziehm On Golf

New look will soon be unveiled at the Weibring course at ISU

D.A. Weibring is certainly well known as a player within the Illinois ranks. He won the John Deere Classic three times and scored an unusual victory in the 1987 Western Open, a tournament that was split between two courses, Butler National and Oak Brook Golf Club, after flooding left Butler with only nine holes playable.

Now, though, Weibring is more prominent as a course architect and his projects in Illinois have been as noteworthy as his playing accomplishments. He designed TPC Deere Run, which has hosted the John Deere Classic the last 20 years, and Metamora Fields in the central part of the state.

And now there’s more.

He’s about to complete work on a course that bears his name and just beginning on a project that could help save a once well-regarded public course in Peoria.

Weibring played collegiately at Illinois State, in Normal, and launched a successful PGA Tour career after his graduation in 1975.

The course that Weibring played his college golf on was a Robert Bruce Harris design that opened in 1964. After establishing himself as a touring pro Weibring created a golf architectural firm in Dallas and one of its projects was the renovation of that ISU course.

Over the years he turned it into a 6,915-yard par-71 layout that is the home for the Redbirds’ men’s and women’s teams and has been used for many of the Illinois high school championships as well as a variety of fund-raisers. Its Mounier Golf Training Center is considered one of the top practice facilities in collegiate golf.

The course was renamed the Weibring Course at Illinois State in 2007 after another renovation in honor of Weibring’s support of both the school and its golf programs. He helped to raise $14 million for the golf teams and now he’s stepped up his efforts again. A massive bunker renovation project was conducted without the need of closing the course and it’s scheduled for completing on Aug. 2.

Lauding the efforts of superintendent Travis Williams, Weibring supervised a major change in what the course will look like for both the high school and college events that are played there. This renovation also involved members of the ISU teams, who pitched in to move sod during the reconstruction.

“We’ve eliminated all those bunkers and changed the personality of the course,’’ he said. Now he wants to get ISU alumni out to check out the new look and stimulate more fund-raising for the program. There’ll be some fun-raising outings there in September.

Weibring’s efforts for golf in Illinois don’t end there, either.

Weibring has also taken on a renovation project at Weaver Ridge, a Peoria public facility with some nice elevation changes. It was recently purchased by the Ring family who created Metamora Fields. They’ve called on Weibring to bring back the course.

“Weaver Ridge needs repair. Its bunkers have not been touched in years,’’ said Weibring.

Radix Cup rescheduled

The annual Radix Cup matches between the top players in the Illinois PGA and Chicago District Golf Association is on again. Called off by inclement weather early in the season, the two golf groups settled on a rescheduled match for Thursday at Oak Park Country Club. It’ll tee off at 12:45 p.m.

Oak Park will remain a busy place, with the CDGA bringing its Amateur Four-Ball Championship there for a three-day run beginning on Monday.

Here and there

The University of Illinois women’s team has added Reena Sulkar to its list of recruits. She’ll join the team as a graduate student. A high schools star at Barrington Sulkar finished her undergraduate work at Illinois-Chicago while playing her goal in amateur tournaments. She qualified for the U.S. Women’s Amateur in 2018 and was the Chicago Women’s District Golf Association champion in 2017.

Weather concerns led to the shortening of two big events last week. The Women’s Western Amateur, at Royal Mebourne in Long Grove, and the Illinois State Amateur, at Cantigny in Wheaton, both deviated from the planned format. The Women’s Western Am cut the championship match from the traditional 36 holes to 18 and the Illinois State Amateur, which was scheduled for a 36-hole final cut, reduced it to 18 to make it a 54-hole event. Sarah Shipley, a University of Kentucky senior from Hastings, MI., captured the Women’s Western Am and Ethan Farnam of Crystal Lake won the State Am. Farnam, who spent his freshman year in college at Northwestern, is about to enter his junior season at St. Mary’s in California.