COLLEGE GOLF FALL WRAP UP

  OUTSIDE OR INSIDE Golf Season continues as the snow melts off. Schaumburg Golf Club 401 N. Roselle Road has plenty of green grass showing, check with the pro shop for outdoor golf possibilities this weekend. Schaumburggolf.com THE MISTWOOD GOLF DOME is open for indoor golf with Toptracer. The only golf dome in town, that has Toptracer. Located on Rt. 53 in Bolingbrook, and home of McWethys Sports Bar.      ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Content and Creation. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, Facebook or Linkedin. At the Pete Dye Course at French Lick Resort, anybody for more outdoor golf this fall.

THE FALL SEASON OF COLLEGE GOLF is in the books. That would be the record books and not the text books. Because the golf teams are back studying and getting ready to make grades.

So here is our recap of the local college golf scene, with the main focus on the Big Ten.

THE OLYMPIA FIELDS ILLINI Invitational is one of the highlights of the fall season. Schools from across the country look forward to this event, and the schools that don’t have an invite, are working on trying to get one.

ILLINOIS started slowly and after Round 1, was back in 10th place, but rallied over the next two days, to finish fifth. The Illini were lead by Michael Feagles and Bryan Baumgarten with 54 hole scores of 214 (+4). Illinois as a team was (+19), with winning schools Georgia Tech and Baylor tied at (+6). Illinois Coach Mike Small was pleased with the results as the tournament went on but added that, “Illinois needs good scoring each day from more than one player.”

The Illinois men’s team closed out the fall portion of their schedule this past week at Cypress Point, in a Ryder Cup style match play event. Illinois lost to No.3 UCLA in the first match, before defeating two Top 10 ranked teams, California and Alabama.

But prior to the trip west, Illinois was 11th at the Tavistock Invitational in Windemere Florida, and was 7th at the Crooked Stick Invitational hosted by Purdue and Indiana. Michael Feagles and Jerry Ji have lead the Illini those tournaments.

FORMER UW-Madison Badger and former Coach of the Minnesota Golden Gophers John Carlson, became the new Director of Golf at Northern Illinois University. Carlson feels that the attractiveness of the Chicagoland area, and having Rich Harvst Farms in Sugar Grove, as the home of the Huskies program, will help recruiting. Rich Harvest Farms owner Jerry Rich, worked besides university officials during the coaching search.

Rich Harvest Farms Owner Jerry Rich, with the NIU banner in the golf pavillion at Rich Havrest Farms.

NIU ON COURSE, as the Huskies had some success on the golf course this fall. So for the first time since 2016, the Huskies had a top three finish. After a slow start, NIU rallied for a second placefinish at the Xavier University-Signature Tournament. This came on the heels of a 4th place finish at the Prairie Club Invitational. The Huskies are now ranked 4th in the MAC, but have some work to do if they wish to pull alongside conference leader Kent St.

LADY HUSKIES under Coach Kim Kester closed out the season at the UNLV Las Vegas Showdown. Kester’s team recorded Top 10 finishes at every tournament this fall. Caroline Klemp’s final round 69, helped her to win the Illinois State Redbird Invitational in September.

NORTHWESTERN WRAPPED UP a solid fall on the links with a third place finish at the Crooked Stick Invitational in Carmel Ind., led by David Nyfjall who placed in the top five. The previous week the Cats had a second place finish at the Marquette Invitational at Erin Hills. In 2018 the Cats won the tournament with a -12 score. But this year 13 under par only earned second place. John Driscoll III had a final round 66 to lead NU.

Northwestern-Chicago’s Big Ten Team #GOCATS

But a strong finish helped offset a slow start to the fall, where the Cats had only an 8th place finish at their own Windon Invitational. This year the Windon was hosted by Conway Farms Golf Club in Lake Forest, and won by Notre Dame University. The following week, NU was 11th of 15 teams at the Illini Olympia Fields Invitational. Before the Cats started their fall turn around at Erin Hills.

ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE Coach Emily Fletchers team wrapped up the fall season at the Stanford Invitational hosted by Condelezza Rice. The Cats finished 11th, but moved up three spots in the final round. Freshman Irene Kim led the way, with a score of +2 over 54 holes.

AT ILLINOIS COACH RENEE SLOAN’S Illini, hosted their second Illini Women’s Invitational on Course #2, at Medinah in early October.

MEDINAH COUNTRY CLUB-CLUBHOUSE (L) The par 3, 8th hole, on Medinah Course #2. (R).

For the second straight year, Illinois finished in 3rd place. Their three round total score (-4) 860. Sophomore Kornkamol Sukaree led Illinois with a 212 (-4) and she finished in 8th place overall. Senior Tristyn Nowlin had the best final round score for Illinois with a 70 (-2). Nowlin finished in 13th place . Kent State at 853 (-11) won the team title.

JUSTIN WYETH coach at Aurora University, has the school on a roll among the smaller colleges. AU is now ranked 18th and now winning tournaments. Congratulations to Coach Wyeth on moving the team up from being #233 in the nation.

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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 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.