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updated: 6/21/2011 12:27 PM

Busy summer of golf events at Medinah

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  • Illinois men's golf coach Mike Small, the defending champion in the PGA Professionals National Championship, will try to win the event for a fourth time when the tournament begins Sunday in Hershey, Pa.

      Illinois men's golf coach Mike Small, the defending champion in the PGA Professionals National Championship, will try to win the event for a fourth time when the tournament begins Sunday in Hershey, Pa.
    Associated Press/2010 file


While Medinah's membership is focused on preparations for next year's Ryder Cup matches, the club will be a busy place this year as well.

Its courses will be at the forefront of professional, amateur and charity events in the next few months.

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First up is the 92nd Chicago District Amateur, which starts next Tuesday. Then comes Patriot Day on July 7, when the club hosts its second event to benefit the Illinois Patriot Education Fund. Finally, the club will take its turn as host of the 89th Illinois PGA Championship Aug. 29-31.

None of these events will be played on the famed No. 3 course that has hosted three U.S. Opens and two PGA Championships and will host next year's Ryder Cup. This year's events will all use the No. 1 course, and part of the stroke play portion of next week's CDGA Amateur will also utilize the No. 2 layout.

The CDGA Am has a rich tradition. Chick Evans was its first champion in 1914. From 1935 to 1955, the CDGA extended invitations nationwide. Since then it has been a showcase for the best players at CDGA member clubs. Four area-wide qualifying rounds led to the final 47-man field that will play 36 holes on Tuesday to decide 16 finalists for the match play portion of the tourney.

Last year, Illinois State golfer Tommy Bliefnick was the 16th-seeded player, but stormed through his matches to win the title. He has since turned pro and won't defend his crown. Steve Sawtell, the champion in 2004 and 2009, heads next week's field.

Going for No. 4

Illinois men's coach Mike Small, the defending champion in the PGA Professionals National Championship, will seek his fourth win in the event beginning on Sunday in Hershey, Pa.

Small, who will go after his 10th straight title when the Illinois PGA Championship comes to Medinah, has made the top five at the PPNC six times in seven starts and has earned $327,415 in that event over the years. The champion gets six exemptions on the PGA Tour for the following season.

Ten other Illinois PGA members are in the 312-player field at Hershey. The top 20 finishers earn berths in August's PGA Championship.

Birthday present:

Glenview's Nora Lucas, who turned 21 during the semifinals of last week's Illinois Women's Amateur at Kishwaukee in DeKalb, got a late present the following day when she knocked off defending champion Brittany Atterbury of Rockton 2 and 1 for the title.

Lucas, who attended high school at Loyola Academy, is heading into her senior season at Illinois while Atterbury just completed her senior season at Northern Iowa.

The 78-year old Illinois Women's Amateur also offers flight competition. Winners of the other flights were Tonya Olson of Naperville (first), Hui Chong Dofflemyer of Belvidere (second), Mallory Carr of Minooka (third), Colleen Ahern of Hinsdale (fourth) and Sarah Scaccio of Arlington Heights (fifth).

Gone for awhile:

Illinois has lost its only LPGA tourney. Sponsorship problems forced the end of the 35-year run of the State Farm Classic in Springfield, but tour officials are hoping the event can be revived in 2013.

Until then, the closest thing to the LPGA in the Chicago area will be the new $100,00 South Shore Championship on the LPGA Futures Tour. It'll make its debut beginning on Monday at White Hawk in Crown Point, Ind. The Futures Tour staged tournaments at Innisbrook in Merrillville, Ind., for four years and Lost Marsh in Hammond for five before the move to White Hawk.

Did you know?

There have been major personnel changes in the club pro ranks. Jay Casaletto has moved from The Glen Club in Glenview to Royal Melbourne in Long Grove. Tim Hval left Royal Melbourne for the head job at Portland Country Club in Oregon Stewart Cink, the 2009 British Open champion, has committed to Illinois' first PGA Tour stop, the John Deere Classic in Silvis. He's one of four British winners in the field for the July 7-10 event. The Western Golf Assn. Junior tourney runs through Saturday at Beverly in Chicago The Illinois PGA Junior Championship for boys and girls will be held at Winnetka Golf Club Wednesday and Thursday. The Weekly Challenge Tour visits Highlands of Elgin on Saturday.

• Len Ziehm's golf column appears Wednesdays in the Daily Herald. To contact him, visit

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