The first stage for selection to the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame has been completed, and the 27 nominees have been whittled to 10.
Among the finalists are three long-time club professionals – Doug Bauman, of Biltmore in North Barrington; Bruce Patterson, of Butler National in Oak Brook; and Tim O’Neal, of North Shore in Glenview. The Illinois PGA is also represented among the finalists by instructor Gary Pinns, the only player to win the Illinois Open five times; and Mike Miller, the IPGA’s long-time executive director.
Prominent among the other finalists is Jerry Rich, creator of Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove – a venue that has hosted the Solheim Cup, Western Amateur and Western Junior, the NCAA Championships and the Arnold Palmer Cup. The Palmer event will be return to Rich Harvest in June.
Also in contention are Dr. Randy Kane, turfgrass expert for the Chicago District Golf Association; Dave Ryan, a Taylorville resident who has dominated the Illinois senior competition and won the 2016 U.S. Senior Amateur; nationally-known swing guru Dr. Jim Suttie; and the late Phil Kosin, who founded Chicagoland Golf magazine and the Illinois Women’s Open.
Selections are made every two years. The first induction class into the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame was in 1989, and the group now has 85 members. A state-wide selection panel will whittle the current finalists to between three and five on May 25, and the induction ceremony is tentatively scheduled for Oct. 1 at The Glen Club, in Glenview — the home of the Hall of Fame.
GHIM ON A ROLL: Doug Ghim, the PGA Tour rookie from Arlington Heights, padded his season bank account with a $62,943 payday thanks to a tie for 11th in last week’s Zurich Classic of New Orleans team event. Ghim, partnered with Justin Suh, climbed four places to No. 70 in the FedEx Cup rankings and he can climb higher with another good showing in this week’s Valspar Championship at Innisbrook Resort in Palm Harbour, FL.
The Valspar was the first event canceled when the pandemic hit last March but this year it has one of its best fields ever. Englishman Paul Casey is going for a three-peat but he’ll have to beat No. 1 Dustin Johnson, No. 2 Justin Thomas, Phil Mickelson and U.S. Ryder Cup captain Steve Stricker – all rare entrants into the event. All three Illinois PGA Tour players – Kevin Streelman, Ghim and Luke Donald – are also in the field and Donald (2012) and Streelman (2013) are past winners of the tournament.
A Chicago connection could be worthwhile in the Valspar, as Innisbrook has a Chicago owner (Sheila Johnson) and all four of its courses were designed by legendary Chicago designer Larry Packard.
HERE AND THERE – Fifty players will compete for two spots in the Chicago qualifier for the U.S. Women’s Open tourney on Thursday (APRIL 29) at Kishwaukee, in DeKalb. The survivors advance directly to the June 3-6 finals at Olympic Club in San Francisco…..The first of the local qualifiers for the men’s U.S. Open is Monday (MAY 3) on Cog Hill’s Dubsdread course in Palos Park. Eight-four players will compete for spots in sectional play….The University of Illinois men’s team notched its fourth team title of the season last week in Ohio State’s Kepler Invitational. Coach Mike Small’s Illini team goes after its sixth straight Big Ten title and 11th in the last 12 years beginning Friday at Crooked Stick, in Carmel, Ind….Chris French, playing out of Aldeen, in Rockford, headed three players with Illinois backgrounds to survive the first cut in the 54th PGA Professionals Championship, which is in progress at PGA Golf Club in Port St. Lucie, FL. French is in a tie for 36th place through two rounds and is nine shots behind leader Omar Uresti. Dakun Chang, formerly Twin Orchard in Long Grove but now living in Jupiter, FL., and Andy Mickelson, director of golf at Mistwood in Romeoville,l are tied for 51st place and are one stroke behind French. The tourney ends on Wednesday…..Patrick Lynch, who recently retired after a long career as head professional at Cantigny, in Wheaton, is now the golf event manager at Bolingbrook….Patrick O’Donoghue is the new general manager at Deerpath, in Lake Forest.