LEN ZIEHM Veteran Illinois Golf Writer and Illinois Golf Hall of Fame 2019 Inductee, along with RORY SPEARS have teamed up to produce Chicago Best weekly recap on the state of golf in Illinois and beyond. This week is Week #21, we hope you will join us.  _____________________________________________________________________

Click here to hear this weeks Ziehm & Spears Podcast Series 2020-Volume 21.

This week Len and Rory discuss the Illinois Open at White Eagle Golf Club in Naperville, this weeks PGA Championship, the challenges Big Ten golf coaches face in playing golf this fall.

Rory announces this weeks guest host for Golfers on Golf Radio. Check out this weeks podcast, and thanks for listening-Len and Rory.


THE WHITE EAGLE GOLF CLUB in Naperville Illinois, home of the 71st Illinois Open.    ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG-by RORY SPEARS, reporting from Naperville. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, or Facebook and LinkedIn.

2020 Illinois Open Champion Bryce Emory at the White Eagle Golf Club. Photo by Nick Novelli.

Bryce Emory just won the biggest tournament of his golf career, the 71st Illinois Open.

Emory a native of nearby Aurora, started the third and final round with a 4 shot lead, before the front nine was over his lead was but one shot and slipping away.

But Emory got back on track with a birdie on the par 4th ninth hole, when his approach shot that for a moment looked like it might fly over the 9th green, hit just in front of the back fringe and spun back to 2 feet left of the cup. One putt later his lead was three, because Tee-k Kelly’s birdie putt went up the hill on the 9th green, got to the top of the ridge, stopped for a few seconds, and rolled back down the hill some 35 feet to near where Kelly had putted the ball from.

Click here to hear interviews with 2020 Illinois Open Champion Bryce Emory, and runner-up Jack Korzon.

Emory added two more birdies on the back nine, with no bogeys and with nobody in the field mounting a back nine charge. Emory cruised in with a 4 shot win, the largest in the Illinois Open since last year, when David Cooke defeated Nick Hardy by 4 shots. Emory earned $19,928 for his first place win, coming from the purse of $105,000.

Bryce Emory during third round play at the 71st Illinois Open. Photo by Nick Novelli.

Jack Korzon of Downers Grove made a couple of late birdies to take second place.

Korzon closed with a 3 under par 69, which was the third best round of the day.

Brian Bullington of Frankfort and Jordan Hahn of Spring Grove shared the low rounds of the day, both with 4 under par 68’s. They both finished T-9.

Highwood’s Patrick Flavin the 2017 Illinois Open Champion, who hovered around the lead for all three days, couldn’t not get off to the quick start he was looking for in the final round. Over par for much of his round Flavin had a late birdie, and then an Eagle 3, on the par 5, 17th hole to finish the day at even par, and a T-5 for the championship.

White Eagle Director of Golf Curtis Malm (L) presents low-amateur Jordan Less with the Low-Amateur trophy.

Jordan Less of Elmhurst who won the 2019 Chicago District Golf Association (CDGA) Match Play title, shot a final round of 72 to win the Low-Amateur award.

Less had bounced back from a 1st Round 74, with a 69 in Round 2, in tough windy conditions.

But with warmer temps and less wind in the third round he could not mount the charge he had hoped for. But was happy to finish low-amateur 1 shot ahead of University of Illinois Sr. Giovanni Tadiotto. Tadiotto tied for 9th place with his U of I golf coach Mike Small. Small had multiple late birdie attempts that could have left him as high as third place, if a few putts would have dropped. Small is looking forward to competing in the IPGA Section Championship, a tournament he basically owns having won more than ten times at Medinah Country Club in 3 weeks.

Brandon Holtz the first round leader, fell back to even par for the championship with a final round of 74 (+2). Ethan Brue who started the day tied for second place, was one of the players who got within 1 shot of Emory early on the front nine. But a quadruple bogey 8, on the par 4 7th hole, ended his hopes of winning the title and lead to a final round of 74.

The players were strongly supported by the members of White Eagle who turned out in nice numbers, while practicing social distancing. It’s likely the Illinois Open will return to the club within a couple of years.


THE WHITE EAGLE GOLF CLUB in Naperville Illinois is home to the 71st Illinois Open. _____________________________________________________________________

Brandon Holtz is gunning for his first Illinois Open title. But after a course record in Round 1, he is chasing leader Bryce Emory by 4 shots.

TWO DAYS and two course records at the White Eagle Golf Club.

On a windy day in Naperville, Bryce Emory made the turn at 1 under par for the day, and then ended up 5 under par on the back-nine to take control of the Illinois Open heading in the final round on Wednesday.

Emory 29, who grew up in Aurora and playing the Aurora Country Club has reached a point where he is thinking about his career going forward. Playing some mini-tour events his game has evolved to a point, where he thought this might be his last year of Illinois Opens. Then Covid-19 has hit and now he thinking some more about, “what’s in store” long term while working at the Black Sheep Club in Sugar Grove. Black Sheep head professional Kevin Healy is Emory’s swing coach.

Bryce Emory leads the Illinois Open after tying the course record, with a second round 66.

“I have practiced a little bit less this year, and feel a little more fresher which is a good thing, ” said Emory. “But once I started playing this summer I was playing pretty good. But I come here and at 29 I feel like one of the old guys in the field.”

Three players are tied for 2nd place, all after carding 2-under par rounds of 70 in the second round. Charlie Netzel, Tee-k Kelly, and Ethan Brue all battled the afternoon winds and looked for most of the day they would join Patrick Flavin and first round leader Brandon Holtz in a final round battle for the trophy.

“Today was at least a club more wind and the guests were pretty nasty,” said Kelly. ” The pins are…set up like a championship. They are tough to get to and tough to putt to and greens have some big slopes on them. If you just park your approach shots in the middle of the green, you will have some crazy lag-putts to deal with.”

Then suddenly the news broke that Emory had a run of late birdies, that included an eagle and he had posted a 66.

Holtz has been close to winning an Illinois Open title in the past, this time he wants to finish the job. But with Emory matching Holtz’s Round 1 course record, that job just got a lot tougher.

“Today was rough,” said Holtz. “Yesterday I had a lot of control of the golf ball, I was able to put it where I wanted. But today that was not the case. I battled it around out there, and feel like I’m still in the mix. The key is playing out of the fairway, because the rough is ankle deep and it’s thick. The greens are firm and tough, but tournament greens should be tough. Holtz and wife are enjoying their new 5-month old baby boy, even though it has put a little damper on his playing. But Holtz is taking his son to the range, and cutting down some clubs to junior golf size could be an upcoming project for Holtz.

Holtz set a course record at the White Eagle during Round 1 with a 6 under par 66, however Tuesdays Round 2 saw some pin-placements that left some of the field groaning at Tournament Director Brad Slocum.

With temperatures in the morning in the low 60’s, but moving up to the mid-70’s by the afternoon, and a wind speed of 15, and gusting into the mid-20’s. It was easy to say that White Eagle had scores of the states best players soaring, as those near the clubhouse had to look no further than the flag on the island 18th green, to see it flapping so strong it appeared it might fly right off the flagstick.

2017 Illinois Amateur and Illinois Open Champion Flavin was in the first group out at 7:30, Flavin shot a 1 over par 73. When asked about his over par round, Flavin called it, “a good round of golf.” For much of the day it appeared that Flavin would be correct, in saying anything around par would be a good score.

FOUR-TIME Champion University of Illinois Golf Coach Mike Small rebounded with a 1-under par 71, Small sits at +2 and made the cut that fell at +6.

ROUND 2 saw a win for the senior golfer. After Zach Mulhearn beat his dad Danny Mulhearn by 4 shots in Round 1, Danny returned in Round 2 to beat Zach by 4 shots. Both Mulhearn’s missed the cut, but family bragging rights are still up for grabs.

16 YEAR OLD William Gneiser the youngest player in the field, rebounded from a 91 in Round 1, and was ten shots better at 81 in Round 2. Gneiser is the grandson of the late Blackhawks star Stan Mikita, who played in multiple Illinois Opens back in the 1970’s.

MEDINAH PROFESSIONAL Travis Johns who came in bidding for the career Grand Slam, made the cut on the number at +6. But is 13 shots off the lead, and a run at the slam will have to wait another year.

51 players made the cut, and tee times are expected to start with the early groups off the first tee at 9 Am.


THE WHITE EAGLE GOLF CLUB is host to this years 71st Illinois Open August 3-5.      _____________________________________________________________________

Brandon Holtz with a 6 under par 66, is the first round leader by three shots.

The 71st Illinois Open has a familiar name at the top of the leader board.

Football helmet salesman Brandon Holtz out in the first group of the day with White Eagle Golf Club Director of Golf Curtis Malm, carded a 6 under par 66, and holds a three shot lead.

The 66 is a course record, but some are calling it a new course record, since it’s come after architect Todd Quitno’s recent renovation. Apparently unwilling to take Tiger Woods name out of the record books, it’s now being said that Woods still owns the old course record. Go figure.

“Setting the new course record is pretty sweet,” said Holtz. “The course is phenomenal and the greens are great. I had a couple of bad hits off the tee that left me in tough spots, but overall it was a good day.”

Holtz says he only plays in three events a year, since he quit playing professionally. So he really gears up for those three. Holtz is no stranger to everyone who plays the Illinois Open.

In 2017 Holtz was second, in 2018 Holtz was second again. In 2019 a great third round at the Glen Club pulled him up into a T-7 finish. This year he seems like a man on  mission to finally get the job done.

Malm had a birds-eye seat to Holtz’s round.

“He hit it great, 66 was about as bad as Holtz could have shot,” said Malm, who finished with a 1-over par 73. Malm who upgraded his title in the off-season from head professional at White Eagle, to Director of Golf admitted he hasn’t been playing competitively this summer.

Malm told Golfers on Golf that the right decision was made in not cancelling this years Illinois Open, even though the second course Stonebridge had to be dropped, and the field was sliced down to it’s old size of 156 players.

Brian Bullington and 2017 Illinois Open Champion Patrick Flavin are tied for second place after carding 3-under par 69’s.

Patrick Flavin hits his drive on the par 4, second hole, his 11th of the day at White Eagle Golf Club

Flavin was the Best-Man in his brothers wedding on Sunday night, in the suburbs of Columbus Ohio. He stayed more-or-less on his best behavior Sunday night, and set his alarm at 4 Am EST, to get up to drive to White Eagle for his 12:30 tee time. He arrived just less than two hours before teeing off. Flavin did some yoga drills to get ready to play before hitting balls and working on the putting green.

Click here to hear interviews with Curtis Malm and Patrick Flavin

Three players are tied for fourth at 2 under par. Overall 16 players broke par, many of them at just 1 under par. Medinah Country Club professional Travis Johns who is bidding for the career grand slam, after winning the IPGA Section Championship last August at Ruth Lake shot a 75 (+3).

Amateur William Gneiser the youngest player in the field at only 16 years old, and is the grandson of former Blackhawks great the late Stan Mikita, struggled to a 91. Mikita an avid golfer, played in the Illinois Open on multiple occasions in the 1970’s.

The cut will come after Round 2 on Tuesday, the low-50 and ties or anyone within 10 shots of the lead, gets to play Round 3 on Wednesday.


THE 120th WESTERN AMATEUR at Crooked Stick Golf Club-BRICKYARD CROSSING is now open until 500 week approaches. Tee times going quickly Brickyardcrossing.com ______________________________________________________________________

Pierceson Coody with the George R. Thorne Trophy after winning the 120th Western Amateur Championship at Crooked Stick.

Pierceson Coody birdied the first hole and never trailed, defeating Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen 2 & 1 in the championship match in the 120th Western Amateur Championship at Pete Dye’s Crooked Stick Golf Club.

Coody the #16 ranked amateur in the world, is the grandson of 1971 Masters Champion Charles Coody. Coody is a junior at the University of Texas, with Neergaard-Petersen a junior at Oklahoma State.

Coody holed a 20 foot par putt on 17 to put some pressure on Neergaard, who needed to hole a five foot putt to halve the hole and move the match to 18. We he missed the putt the match and a long week of golf at Crooked Stick was over. In the morning semi-finals, Neergaard had to go 21 holes to eliminate World Amateur #2 Ricky Castillo the top remaining seed (#5) in the championship. Coody called the win, the “biggest of his career.” The 2021 Western Amateur moves back to Illinois and the Glen View Club, where the Western Amateur was first played.

THE GEORGE HOLLIDAY Memorial Junior Tournament is now accepting entries. One of the biggest and most premier junior tournaments in the Carolina’s will be played November 26-28, on three top level Myrtle Beach golf courses, designed by Arnold Palmer, Kings North, Kings West and South Creek. Fee is $185.00 and the field is capped at 160 players. More details by calling Myrtle Beach National at (843)-448-2308.

THREE MORE TOP LEVEL Myrtle Beach Courses have been named in America’s Top 100 Courses You can Play. At #50 Dunes Golf and Beach Club, by RT Jones Sr., at #62 is Caledonia Golf & Fish Club, and #95 another Mike Strantz design the True Blue Golf Club. Tee times at PlayGolfMyrtleBeach.com

Golf 360 on NBC Sports Chicago tonight at 6 PM

The Golf 360 show returns for another edition tonight at 6 PM on NBC Sports Chicago.

The show hosted by former Chicago Bear Patrick Mannelly, and produced by “Links” Dave Lockhart, takes golfers not only around the Chicago area, but beyond.

This weeks edition starts with a trip around Lake Michigan to the Jack Nicklaus designed Harbor Shores Golf Club. Follow the show on social media for news and a full schedule of episodes.

PINE MEADOW GOLF CLUB is hosting a “By Appointment Only” Taylor Made fitting day on Saturday August 22nd from 10 Am to 2 pm. To sign up call Pine Meadow at (847)-566-4653 (Golf).

SAND VALLEY DREAM GOLF-ready for a day trip of Dream Golf. Play at least 35 holes and enjoy lunch on the new food truck. Book your day at (888)-976-1435, and visit Sandvalley.com.

BLACKBERRY OAKS in Bristol is holding a 4-Person “Back to School” scramble on August 23rd. To sign up call Blackberry Oaks at (630)-553-7170, or visit BBO online at BlackberryOaks.com.

The Chicago District Golf Association-CDGA.org

Chadd Slutzky and partner John Ramsey won their second CDGA-Amateur Four Ball, in the event’s five year history.

“We’re glad to be back,” Slutzky said.

The championship was the first CDGA Championship of 2020, after several cancellations due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

To win the title Slutzky and Ramsey had to go 20 holes with Andrew Vitt and Nick Smith, who held a three-up lead after 14 holes.

With the Slutzky led comeback on, a lightning warning caused a 26 minute delay. Bur Ramsey turned things on during the extra holes, and won the match with a 2-putt on the par 3 second playoff hole at the historic Donald Ross designed Skokie Country Club. The Illinois State Mid-Amateur comes up on the CDGA shortened schedule August 24-25.

The Gog Blog returns on tomorrow. RS


GOLFERS ON GOLF RADIO (L-R) Rory Spears-Ed Stevenson-Bill Berger. With Len Ziehm our special guest host from PGA Village for Week 15.

Golfers on Golf Radio will be joined for the entire show by guest host and Illinois PGA Golf Hall of Fame inductee Len Ziehm, from LenZiehmongolf.com and the Daily Herald.

Golfers on Golf Radio is on WCPT Am 820, and WCPT820.com to listen live online. You can watch the show live on Facebook-WCPT page. Or use the Tune-In Radio App  Search Wcpt820. If you missed the show, you get a mulligan by visiting SoundCloud.com/Chicago’sprogressivetalk. Or watch the replay on WCPT facebook page.

Week 15 guests include Jon Parsons the GM of the Schaumburg Golf Club, that has just fully reopened from renovation. Curtis Malm the Director of Golf at the White Eagle Golf Club, home of this weeks Illinois Open Golf Championship.

We hear from World Amateur #2 Ricky Castillo at the Western Amateur, and Brickyard Crossing Director of Golf Jeff Williams, on the crazy year at the home of the Indianapolis 500.

Listen in, or listen back, it will be a great show. RS


THE 2020 WESTERN AMATEUR at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel Indiana. The course designed by Pete Dye, will host the semi-finals and championship match today.   _____________________________________________________________________

Ricky Castillo hits his drive on the 12th hole, in the Quarterfinals of the WGA Western Amateur. Andy Olgetree looks on.

Reporting from Carmel Indiana.

RICKY CASTILLO is moving on to the final four of the 118th Western Amateur.

Castillo at #5 is the highest seed remaining heading into the final day of play at Crooked Stick.

Medalist Angus Flanagan and runner-up Sam Bennett felt confident on Thursday night as the 1 and 2 seeds, that they had a great shot to win. By lunchtime on Friday they were on their way home, along with No. 3 seed Joseph Pagdin.

The Western Amateur flag on the 11th green.

The day belonged to Castillo the World rated No.2 Amateur. Both of his opponents made it tough on him.

First it was Harrison Ott who hails from Wisconsin, who make Castillo work all the way to the 17th green and 2 & 1 match in the morning.

In the quarterfinals Andy Olgetree from Mississippi, was done and beaten a few times and then he wasn’t.

Ogletree was 2 Down on the 11th hole when Castillo’s approach left just under 20 for birdie. With the heat on, Olgetree put his approach in the cup for an eagle two to bring the match within one hole.

With a birdie on 14, Castillo was again two up, but Ogletree’s birdie on 15 brought the match back to 1 Up for Castillo. Ogletree’s magic wasn’t done yet. On 17 hit tee shot found the green side pond. After a drop on the edge of the green, he rolled in a long 35 foot putt for par, Castillo matched it and the match went on to 18.

Ogletree’s drive on 18 was left of the fairway and down near the high grass, not far from Pete Dye’s back yard. But his approach shot found the left side of the green and funneled towards the hole. Castillo from the first cut of rough, airmailed the green from a flier lie. After Castillo chipped down to the 18th green, Ogletree rolled in his 15 foot birdie and the match went to the 19th hole.

Both players got up and down for par on 19, before Ogletree’s approach on 20 missed the green left. After a chip and two putts, his five was one shot worse than Castillo’s two putt par for the win. The last two holes brought out what fans there was for the biggest gallery of the day. 65 people not counting players and caddies saw the last two holes of this match of the day.

After his final match on Friday, Ricky Castillo spoke with Golfers on Golf.

Castillo plays Rasmus Neergaard-Petersen in Saturday mornings semi-finals. The other semi-final match is Pierceson Coody vs George Daungmanee who rallied from 5 down after six holes to win his quarterfinal match in 19 holes.

The 18 hole championship match is Saturday afternoon.


THE 2020 Western Amateur Championship at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel Indiana, designed by World Golf Hall of Fame designer Pete Dye. The par 3, 6th hole.    ______________________________________________________________________

2020 Western Amateur Medalist Angus Flanagan of England (L), with WGA President Kevin Buggy at Crooked Stick.

Rounds 3 & 4 of the Western Amateur at Crooked Stick Golf Club, were played in conditions it’s designer Pete Dye would have loved.

It rained most of the day, and rained harder as the 6 for 1 playoff took place at dinner time.

But medalist Angus Flanagan who resides in England, when he is not playing on the University of Minnesota golf team, says the cooler rainy weather was right up his alley. “The other players in my group all started putting on the rain pants and shirts when the drops started falling. I just played in my golf shirt and kept my arms free to swing, and it paid off.”

With the help of a late bogey by Sam Bennett of Texas and Texas AM University, it was Flanagan who at 12 under par became the tournament medalist. But Bennett wasn’t too concerned adding,” the Western Amateur champion isn’t decided on Thursday.”

Flanagan warmed up for the Western Amateur by playing on the PGA Tour last week playing in the 3M Open, since he earned a sponsors exemption by winning the Minnesota State Open. Flanagan missed the cut by six shots with a pair of 73’s (+4). this week he has made two cuts and now has to win 4 matches.

Click here to hear Interviews with medalist Angus Flanagan and runner-up Sam Bennett.

The #2 rated amateur in the world Ricky Castillo from Yorba Linda California is the hunt after finishing at 7 under par, and he will be the #4 seed in the match play round of the Sweet Sixteen.

There was some excitement for Maxwell (Max) Moldovan of Uniontown Ohio, a member of the Ohio State golf team, and former AJGA player of the year. Moldovan made a Hole-In-One on the par 3 13th hole. Moldovan’s ace was from 198 yards with 6-Iron, but never saw the ball go in the hole. While walking up the cart path on the way to the green, he was approached by a rules official. The official asked Moldovan if he hit the second shot in his group, and Moldovan answered yes. Then the official told him he would not need his putter, his ball was in the cup.

Moldovan said,” then we all went crazy.”

What else was crazy was watching the final 16 players, try to assemble under Covid-19 social distancing guidelines for the sweet sixteen photo. At least the rain stopped for the picture. Match play will see the round of 16 in the morning, and the quarterfinals in the afternoon. Before four players advance to Saturday’s semi-finals and championship match.


LEN ZIEHM Illinois Golf Hall of Fame Class of 2019 (L)-and RORY SPEARS (R) host of Golfers on Golf Radio have teamed up in the newest version in their series of podcasts.   _____________________________________________________________________

Click here to hear the latest edition of Ziehm & Spears Podcast Series 2020-Volume 20

In this weeks edition, Len and Rory discuss the 2020 Western Amateur now underway at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel Indiana. The Illinois player presence at this weeks Wisconsin State Amateur, where you go when your own state cancels their edition.

The Illinois Open and what the defending champion and two-time winner David Cooke is doing now, besides playing golf.

The renovation scene, architect Greg Martin is keeping busy and is working through improvements on the fly at Park Ridge Country Club in advance of the 2021 Women’s Western Golf Association’s National Amateur.

Courses opening this Saturday, the final 9 holes at the Schaumburg Golf Club, and the new 10-hole par 3 course at Forest Dunes Golf Club in Roscommon Michigan.

Len Ziehm joins Golfers on Golf Radio this weekend as a remote guest host from PGA Village in Port St. Lucie Florida. 10-11 Am on Am 820 WCPT and Wcpt820.com or watch the show on WCPT Facebook live page. Listen in on the Tune-In radio APP search WCPT820.


THE 2020 WESTERN AMATEUR IS UNDERWAY and down to 46 players for Rounds 3 & 4 tomorrow at Crooked Stick Golf Club in Carmel Indiana. The title is up for grabs, and defending champion and NHL referee Garrett Rank has missed the cut by 3 shots. PARK RIDGE COUNTRY CLUB is getting ready for the Women’s Western Amateur in 2021, architect Greg Martin & team are hard at work getting it ready. More this week.      _____________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation for Golfers on Golf. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy and Facebook, or LinkedIn. On the 1st at Schaumburg Golf Club, Championship 9 opening Saturday August 1st.

JACK IS BACK. Actually the #GOAT was never gone.

But what the 18-time major champion has done, is created a limited-edition set of irons as a joint-venture with the legendary Japanese Club makers at Miura Golf.

This series of irons are for serious collectors who enjoy beauty and function.

The set is a classic Miura blade, with the Nicklaus preferred specifications. The partnership on the this set of irons mixes 60 years of the Miura’s club making perfection, with the Nicklaus thoughts on design created over his 60 years on design thoughts.

Jack Nicklaus with the Miura Golf design team.

These clubs are the first in a decade to “Bear” the Nicklaus name.

Pre-Order is available now, by going to Miuragolf.com/Nicklaus. the first sets will arrive in early 2021.

Nicklaus first went to the Miura factory in 2014, and was only the second person to sit in the famed Miura grinding line first chair, where only Miura-san has ever sat.

“The day Jack visited the factory was the best day of my life,” Miura-san said. “My family is honored to produce this set of iron’s for golf’s greatest champion and see our families crest share a clubhead with his seal of approval.”

The Nicklaus Miura Blade Iron, Pre-order now.

“I’ve spent decades designing golf equipment, and I cherish  the painstaking craftsmanship that goes into enhancing the tools of my trade,” Nicklaus said. “The Miura family and I share this passion for doing everything the right way and leaving no detail overlooked, and we have worked closely in this collaboration to highlight the superior subtleties of Miura forged steel.”

The goal in this partnership was to create the Miura-san club, with a modern day version of the Nicklaus blade. What Nicklaus asked for, was a set of irons created with a standard offset, uniformed through the set. Miura clubs have been built since 1957, they are individually handcrafted and will never be mass-produced. For more see Miuragolf.com/Nicklaus.