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Len Ziehm On Golf

Six straight days of LPGA tournaments are on tap at French Lick

The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship, which ended Sunday at Olympia Fields Country Club, was a success by most every account. This week women’s golf moves in a new direction at a long-time destination.

Indiana’s French Lick Resort offers both the historic Donald Ross Course and the Pete Dye Course that was named the 2017 Course of the Year by the National Golf Course Owners Association. Both will be used in back-to-back tournaments by the other circuits encompassed by the Ladies PGA Tour, meaning there’ll be six straight days of tournament golf in the little southern Indiana town that is rich in golf history.

The developmental Symetra Tour will compete in the $200,000 Donald Ross Centennial Classic, the focal event of that layout’s 100-year anniversary, from Friday through Sunday. Then 81 stars from the LPGA’s past will do battle on the Pete Dye Course in the first Ladies Senior LPGA Championship from July 10-12. The $600,000 Monday-through-Wednesday event will lead directly into the U.S. Women’s Open, which will begin on Thursday, July 13, at Trump National in Bedminster, N.J.

When the Open is over there will have been an unprecedented 10 consecutive days of women’s professional competition encompassing three tours.

French Lick’s Ross Course hosted the 1924 PGA Championship, the first of four straight Walter Hagen victories in that major championship, and was also home to the LPGA Championships of 1959 and 1960, won by Betsy Rawls and Mickey Wright. The KPMG Women’s PGA Championship was a renamed version of those tournaments from the past.

The LPGA Senior Championship grew out of The Legends Championship, an event jointly created by the resort and the Legends Tour, a circuit of players 45 and older who starred on the LPGA Tour. The Legends have played their major event on the Pete Dye Course since 2013 and the circuit’s Hall of Fame is located in the nearby West Baden Springs Hotel. Nancy Scranton and Sandra Palmer will be inducted during the upcoming festivities.

In launching the Senior Championship the LPGA will beat out the U.S. Golf Association in creating the first senior major for women. The USGA’s first U.S. Women’s Senior Open will be played at Chicago Golf Club in 2018.

JDC won’t get Spieth

Two-time winner Jordan Spieth considered returning to the John Deere Classic, which tees off in Silvis, IL., on July 13 but decided to rest up for the following week’s British Open instead. Spieth didn’t defend his last JDC win last year because the tournament was played opposite the Olympics’ golf competition in Brazil, and Spieth later decided to just not play in either event.

“I love the (JDC) tournament, I love the golf course and – more important – I love the people,’’ said Spieth, who has already won twice this year. “While my schedule doesn’t permit me returning to the Quad Cities this year, I plan to be back in the future.’’

The JDC field will be strong even without him, as Bubba Watson and Davis Love III have committed after skipping the event for several years and Ryan Moore is expected to defend his title, though he’s currently recovering from a back injury.

Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman will also be in the field. His play has been solid since a two-week break during the U.S. Open. Streelman tied for eighth at the Travelers Championship and tied for 17th at the Quicken Loans National since returning to action.

Here and there

Drake Bushong, a Bradley University golfer playing out of Lick Creek in Pekin, won the 98th Chicago District Amateur. He beat DesPlaines’ Michael Fastert in the title match at Briar Ridge in Schererville, Ind.

The Illinois PGA will conduct its Senior Masters Championship on Monday (JULY 10) at Onwentsia in Lake Forest. On that same day the Chicago Baseball Cancer Charities Outing, which features celebrities playing with each foursome, is on tap at Twin Orchard in Long Grove.

The Palatine Hills Golf Association will conduct the Discover/Salute Charity Outing at Rolling Green Country Club in Arlington Heights on July 17. It’ll benefit the financial, physical and emotional needs of military service members, veterans and their families.

Cog Hill, in Lemont, will hold its first Junior Amateur Monday and Tuesday (JULY 10-11) on the facilities Nos. 2 and 4 courses.