SCOTTIE SHEFFLER is your first winner of the Evans Scholars Invitational, at the Glen Club, on the Tour. This week the tour moves to Raleigh NC.              ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS. Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Linkedin or Facebook. Talking with HOF Nominee Len Ziehm

ONE DOWN-hopefully many more to go.

The first Evans Scholars Invitational is in the books, and University of Texas Alum Scottie Sheffler wins it, after a two hole playoff.

Congrats to Sheffler, and Kudo’s to the Western Golf Association (WGA) for pulling it off. Hopefully the tournament made some money, and will help get a few more caddies off to college. As the WGA  trys to make it, 1,000 caddies a year in college on full tuition. The players I spoke with said, the tournament was much better, than many of the other events. More scoreboards, more volunteers, great food and better people. There was a fair amount of fan support. And the superintendent and his staff did a great job, especially because of all the rain during the four tournament days. Hopefully a few more fans, will make it out next year.

SO THE FIRST BIG golf tournament in town this summer is in the books, and what did we learn from it ?

Scottie Sheffler will move on to the next level of professional golf. And he will likely not be back next year, to defend his title at the ESI. Illinois Alum Nick Hardy’s game is rounding into shape, but Hardy has no status on any tour and really needs some tournaments to play in. Hardy has a letter into John Deere Classic Tournament Director Clair Peterson for a Sponsors Exemption, but doesn’t expect to a third one. Since Peterson was kind of enough to grant him two already. Maybe three strikes and your out (of exemptions) could be the rule here. Fingers crossed. Hardy is trying to Monday qualify today for Raleigh, and next Monday for the U.S. Open at Pebble Beach.

REIGNING ILLINOIS OPEN CHAMPION Vince India has not slammed the door on coming back to the Glen Club in August, to defend his Illinois Open title. He is reviewing all the possiblities of trying to play, and still play the that week if he wants to. He is not trying to qualify for Pebble Beach.

Luke Guthrie is making some progress with his game finally, after what he calls a few year drought. Guthrie will try to qualify for the U.S. Open next Monday.

DYLAN MEYER and CHRIS WILSON both missed the cut at ESI after getting sponsors exemptions into the field. Meyer (U of I) is trying to right the ship after several missed cuts, and Wilson (NU) is still trying to get into events anywhere he can.

AFTER DOING OUR RADIO SHOW with industry consultant Bill Daniels a week back, on the proposed Jackson Park golf project, one that seemed to be on life support.

Maybe not. This past week after speaking with Mike Kesier, and Brian Hogan Co-Founder and Director of the Chicago Parks Golf Alliance, maybe the project has some life after all.

Keiser is hoping for some work to start this fall. The plan is to get five holes complete, to use a junior course. Until the remainder of the course is finished. There could be support from the new Mayor of Chicago Lori Lightfoot. Always so important in Chicago to have city hall behind you.

Money still remains a key issue, and my talks with Keiser and Hogan did not shed any new light on where the $$$$ will come from. But it does appear the WGA is involved with the project, even more than orginally thought. But that’s probably a good idea, if there is ever to be a PGA Tour event on the site.

AT LEAST THEY GOT THERE. Congrats to the University of Illinois men’s golf team on making it to the NCAA National Championships in Arkansas. At the University of Arkansas’ golf course, The Blessings. I haven’t played there, so I checked the photo’s and hope to see more on TV this week. It seems to be a very nice golf course, but nothing that really knocked my socks off. The clubhouse and indoor practice area, look like the clubhouse building at Streamsong.

Mike Small’s guys ended up in 27th place place after 54 holes, and did not make the first cut. Which drops the field from 30 to 15 teams. Small had no seniors on this team, that still won the Big Ten Conference and the Myrtle Beach Regional. Not bad.

A CALL TO THE HALL..this Thursday final voting takes place for the 2019 Class, that will enter the Illinois Golf Hall of Fame. I’ll be there presenting on behalf of our BIG 3 partner Len Ziehm. Good luck to all the candidates.

TODAY’S DOWNPOUR is not what our courses needed. We had plenty of local courses that needed to cut the rough this past few days. So I hope, they got it done before this afternoon’s soaking came from the skies.

I HAVE A PILE of things in the Sunday Morning Short Game bin, I hope to get that out in a day or so. Back this week. RS

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 525 courses in 39 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.