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Len Ziehm On Golf

Streelman, Urlacher hook up on Wilson’s Driver vs. Driver TV series

Another PGA Tour season ended for Wheaton’s Kevin Streelman and Luke Donald, the former Northwestern star, at Sunday’s BMW Championship in Indiana. Both failed to qualify The Tour Championship – last event of the FedEx Cup Playoffs – in Atlanta next week and won’t be competing in the Ryder Cup matches the week after that in Chaska, Minn.

Streelman and Donald tied for 39th place in the BMW at Crooked Stick, a finish that enabled Streelman to climb from 63rd to 59th in the Playoff standings and Donald to drop from 56th to 57th. They needed to be in the top 30 to play for another $8 million purse at East Lake in Atlanta.

Chicago’s top two players also finished very close on the PGA Tour season money list, Donald earning $1,634,515 and Streelman $1,601,177 in the 2015-16 wrap-around season.

Neither, though, is going into hibernation even though their tournament seasons won’t kick into high gear again until 2017.

Donald was honorary chairman for his Taste of the First Tee wine-tasting fundraiser on Monday, and he brought a special guest – BMW winner Rory McIlroy – to Medinah Country Club for the annual even benefiting the First Tee of Greater Chicago.

Streelman was happy to head home to Arizona.

“That was the end of a long run,’’ he said. “My body is pretty tired and my wife and kids were ready to be home. We’d been away for a month straight.’’

Streelman, though, is anxiously awaiting a new series televised on The Golf Channel. Created by Chicago-based Wilson Sporting Good, it’s called Driver vs. Driver and follows the trials and tribulations of aspiring golf equipment designers as they compete for $500,000 and the opportunity to have their driver concept brought to life and sold under Wilson’s name.

About 300 ideas were submitted. Tim Clarke, head of Wilson’s golf division, along with former U.S. Golf Association director Frank Thomas and ex-Bear great Brian Urlacher formed the panel of judges.

“It’s a great concept and the filming came out great,’’ said Streelman, who is one of the guest judges on the show that debuts Oct. 4. The winner will be announced on Nov. 22, and Streelman plans to have the winning driver in his bag when he returns to the PGA Tour in February HOPE check.

“Wilson is making a huge move to become one of the big hitters in golf, and this was a pretty cool idea,’’ said Streelman. “The ideas for the drivers were incredible. I was very, very impressed.’’

Illini roll on

The University of Illinois men’s team rallied to win its season-opening event, the Wolf Run Invitational played just a few miles from the BMW Championship in Zionsville, Ind. Northbrook junior Nick Hardy also won the individual title just days after Illini coach Mike Small signed a new six-year contract extension.

“It’s nice the university committed to us, and that they appreciate what we have accomplished,’’ said Small. “We have great facilities, and I’m where I want to be the rest of my career.’’

Small’s squad will host at its own tournament starting Friday at Olympia Fields Country Club – the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational. It’s considered one of the top collegiate competitions in the fall season.

Here and there

Next big local event is the Illinois Senior Open, which begins its two-day run on Monday at McHenry Country Club.

Steve Sawtell and Michael Natale combined to win the Merit Amateur, a 54-hole event conducted in a modified Stableford format at Merit Club in Libertyville. Mark Esposito and Ted Zurkowski won the senior division.

Rich Harvest Farms, in Sugar Grove, will host the men’s and women’s NCAA finals next spring and that won’t be the only national collegiate championship event played in Illinois. TPC Deere Run, the PGA Tour’s John Deere Classic site in Silvis, has landed next May’s National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics tournament.

Indiana’s French Lick Resort has signed on to sponsor next February’s Chicago Golf Show in Rosemont.

The Chicago District Golf Association will combine with Odyssey Golf Club to host the Fore Our Veterans outing on Sept. 28 in Tinley Park.