Rich looks ahead to the return of the Arnold Palmer Cup

Jerry Rich, the owner of Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, arrived in Florida last week while the Arnold Palmer Invitational was in progress in Orlando and he’s already looking forward to the Arnold Palmer Cup – the first big tournament of the Chicago season.  It’ll be played at Rich Harvest from June 11-13.

“I’m so excited because I’m all about amateur golf,’’ said Rich, who has hosted 52 amateur events at Rich Harvest.  They included the 2015 Arnold  Palmer Cup, the 2015 Western Amateurs and the 2017 NCAA men’s and women’s finals.

Rich believes this 25th playing of the Arnold Palmer Cup could be his biggest tournament yet. The event matches teams of college stars ,one consisting of players from the United States and other an International squad. Unlike the 2015 playing this one will have men’s and women’s competition.

“I’m hoping the whole city of Chicago will turn out for it,’’ said Rich.  “I expect a lot of spectators because you can’t believe how good these collegiate players are today. These kids are unbelievable.’’

Rich is expecting crowds between 5,000 and 10,000 – much like those on the pro tours so far this year — but believes they could be bigger if pandemic restrictions are reduced.

“With our event being in June, I’m hoping that will be all over,’’ said Rich. “I’ve got space for 10,000 cars and would like to see 30,000 (spectators).’’

TOUR EDGE TIDBITS:  Batavia-based Tour Edge rocked PGA Tour Champions with its recent signing of Bernhard Langer, the circuit’s best player, but it was another Tour Edger — Tom Petrovic — who made the bigger splash in the Cologuard Championshi8p in Arizona last week.

Petrovic made two holes-in-one in the tournament, the first Champions player to accomplish that feat in 17 years.  Both were made with Tour Edge’s Exotics EXS Pro Forged irons. He made his aces at No.16 at Omni Tucson National in Round 1 of the 54-hole event and connected again at No. 14 in Round 2.

Petrovic tied for sixth in the Cologuard event, six strokes behind champion Kevin Sutherland. Langer tied for 14th.

COUNTDOWN TO AUGUSTA: Reese Wallace, of South Barrington, and Logan Keeter, of Northbrook, had a long wait to get to Augusta National, the site of next month’s  Masters, but now their coveted trip is less than a month away.  They’ll compete in the 2020 finals of the Drive, Chip and Putt National Finals on April 4, even with the 2021 qualifying events already in progress.

The two Chicago area youngsters are among the 80 nation-wide who earned spots in the 2020 finals before pandemic concerns forced the Masters to reschedule its tournament from the usual April dates until November.  The club opted to further postpone the Drive, Chip and Putt preliminary, scheduling it before this year’s Masters. The two Chicago qualifiers will compete in the 10-11 age division.

This year’s Drive, Chip and Putt registration opened on March 2 and the elimination process will carry into the fall before the 80 qualifiers for Augusta at the 2022 Masters are determined.

TOUR TALK: Doug Ghim, the PGA Tour rookie from Arlington Heights, was briefly tied for the lead during the third round of the Arnold Palmer Invitational while he was en route to posting a 65.  He faded to an 81 in Sunday’s final round, however and finished in a tie for 36th place. That meant a $42,381 payday.

Ghim, as well as Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman, will be in the field for The Players Championship, which tees off Thursday at TPC Sawgrass in Ponte Vedra, FL. Streelman is coming off a two-week break from tournament play. The Players was halted after one round in 2020 when pandemic concerns kicked in on March 12.  Play didn’t resume until June 11.

Winnetka’s Elizabeth Szokol, Chicago’s only player on the LPGA tour, earned her first check of 2021 in the circuit’s third tournament when she finished tied for 34th in the Drive On Championship in Ocala, FL., on Sunday. She earned $8,499.

BOOST FOR ESI: The number of spectators at the Chicago area’s only pro tour event of the year is uncertain, but those that do get into the May 27-30 Evans Scholars Invitational won’t have to pay an admission charge.

The PGA’s Korn Ferry Tour event will be back at The Glen Club, in Glenview, with Servpro of Glenview covering the ticket charges.  Servpro specializes in the cleanup and restoration of residential and commercial properties after fire, smoke or water damage and offers a wide range of cleaning services. The tournament proceeds go to the Western Golf Association’s Evans Scholars Foundation.

HERE AND THERE: Golftec has opened a state-of-the-art instruction and club fitting center in Schaumburg…The Under Armour Junior Tour for boys and girls 6-18 has announced its Chicago spring schedule.  First event is April 11 at Cantigny, in Wheaton.  Other stops are April 17 at Downers Grove, April 25 at Zigfield Troy in Woodridge, May 1 at Cog Hill in Palos Heights, May 15 at Flagg Creek in Countryside and May 22 at Rob Roy in Prospect Heights…..University of Illinois senior Michael Feagles is the Big Ten Golfer of the Week for the second straight w afeekter leading the Illini to victories in their first two tournaments of the year……Troon, a leading club management, development and marketing company, has opened a new corporate office in Chicago.