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Len Ziehm On Golf

Return to Calumet stirs more CDGA Amateur memories

The Chicago District Golf Association has conducted tournaments since 1914 and none have quite the history as its oldest one – the CDGA Amateur. The 97th playing of that tournament starts on Monday (JUNE 27) at Calumet Country Club, in Homewood.

Calumet hasn’t hosted the tournament since 1947, and the last staging there created one of the most memorable results because its champion, Frank Stranahan, continued on to tie for second in that year’s Masters.

The CDGA Amateur has an interesting history. Its first winner was the legendary life-long amateur Chick Evans. In 1935 the organization decided to issue invitations nationally and call the event the Great Lakes Amateur. That’s how Stranahan, a member of a wealthy Ohio family who competed in most of the professional tournaments as well, got into the field.

Stranahan had won the CDGA Amateur the year before at Knollwood, in Lake Forest, and pulled off the rare repeat at Calumet. That year he also won the Canadian Amateur and shared runner-up honors at the Masters with Byron Nelson, both of them edged out for the title by Jimmy Demaret.

Since Stranahan, who was also a top-ranked powerlifter and a competitor in 102 marathons, the CDGA Amateur has had but seven repeat champions in the last 68 years. The last to win back-to-back was present day tour player Joe Affrunti of Crystal Lake in 2000 and 2001.

By 1954 Stranahan opted to turn professional and a year later the CDGA reverted back to the original tournament name and limited entries to members of CDGA clubs. The field is now determined largely through area-wide qualifying rounds, four of which were held for this year’s tournament.

Low man in those four qualifiers was Mistwood’s Paul Sclimm, who shot 4-under-par 66 at Innsbruck, in Merrillville, Ind.

The finals offer a stern physical test. There’ll be 36 holes of stroke play on Monday to determine 16 qualifiers for the match play conclusion to the tournament. Two rounds of match play will be held on Tuesday (JUNE 28) with the semifinals next Wednesday (JUNE 29) and the 36-hole championship match on June 30.

Most likely contenders for the title are three promising young players – Jordan Fahel, of Mt. Hawley, in Peoria; Brendan O’Reilly, of Butterfield, in Oak Brook; and Michigan State golfer Charlie Netzel, of LaGrange. Fahel won the title in 2014. O’Reilly was the Illinois State Junior champion in 2013 and 2014 and Netzel reached the match play portion of the 2013 and 2015 CDGA Amateurs.

Veteran contenders are headed by Exmoor’s Kyle Nathan, who won the CDGA Mid-Amateur at match play this year; two-time Illinois State Amateur champion Todd Mitchell, of Bloomington; and Glen View’s Blake Johnson, the tourney runner-up in 2013 and 2014.

Chappell wins Women’s State Am

Lauren Chappell, of Charleston, defeated Northwestern-bound Louise McCulloch of Wilmette 3 and 2 in a battle of 17-years olds in the title match of last week’s 83rd Illinois Women’s State Amateur at Forest Hills, in Rockford.

McCullouch eliminated Sabrina Bonanno, of Norridge, 1-up in the semifinals while Chappell defeated Schaumburg’s Kris Yoo 2 and 1. Bonanno was the tourney medalist, shooting a 74.

Arlington Lakes to re-open

Closed for 13 months, Arlington Lakes — the Arlington Heights Park District’s 18-hole course – has scheduled a July 1 grand opening.

The original course, designed by David Gill, opened in 1979. The renovated version called for a re-routing, in which the two nines were reversed to allow for the playing of three- and six-hole loops at certain times. The number of bunkers was also reduced from 106 to 37 and nine greens were rebuilt under the direction of architect Mike Benkusky.

Arlington Lakes will be a par-68 course built on 90 acres. The renovation was a $2.4 million project that included re-modeling of the clubhouse.

Enter Golf360TV

Dave Lockhart, creator of The Golf Scene and GolfChicagoTV in previous years, will unveil a new TV show on July 3. Called Golf360TV, it’ll be carried on Comcast SportsNet Chicago

Jill Carlson will host the show, which will run four times in July, and Chris DeLira will share producer duties with Lockhart.