May 29, 2015

Hawthorn Woods C.C. and Royal Melbourne C.C. to host first two rounds with expanded field

GLENVIEW, Ill. – For the first time in the history of the Illinois Open, the state championship of golf will be contested at two facilities for the first and second rounds. The final field size after qualifying events will increase from 156 to 258 players.  The number of competitors making the cut will also increase to the top 70 and ties from the top 50 and ties previously.

“We're excited to announce the expansion of the Illinois Open Championship field size, as well as the move to utilizing two golf courses to conduct the Championship,” said Illinois PGA executive director Michael Miller. “Both of these changes are firsts in the history of the event, and we feel confident that the field expansion will lead to increased qualifier registration and allow us to grow the Championship to the next level.”

The 2015 starting field will be 258 participants comprised of players who qualified during one of seven qualifying events conducted in June in addition to those exempt from qualifying. The first and second rounds will be held Monday and Tuesday, July 20 and 21, respectively, at 7:30 a.m. off the first and tenth tees at Hawthorn Woods (Ill.) Country Club and Royal Melbourne Country Club in Long Grove, Ill. Following 36 holes of play, the field will be cut to the low 70 scorers plus ties for the final round on Wednesday, July 22 at Royal Melbourne.

“The Illinois PGA continues the long-standing tradition of conducting the Illinois Open on championship-caliber golf courses,” Miller said. “Hawthorn Woods and Royal Melbourne are no exception as both courses have local championship history. We are confident the courses will provide a stern test for the top amateur and professional players in the state of Illinois.”

The 66th edition of the Illinois Open returns to Hawthorn Woods (Ill.) Country Club for the fifth time (2008-2011) after last hosting all three rounds in 2011. Last year the Glen Club in Glenview, Ill., hosted the Championship for the record ninth time surpassing the number of championships contested at Royal Fox Country Club in St. Charles, Ill. (1991-1995, 2000-2001).

Hawthorn Woods Country Club, designed by Arnold Palmer Design Company, opened in 2006 as a highlight of Toll Brothers’ master-planned community in Lake County, Ill. A 27,000-square-foot clubhouse is the centerpiece of the Hawthorn Woods community.

Established in 1992, Royal Melbourne Country Club, a Greg Norman-designed golf course, combines three natural elements and is divided into three 6-hole segments. Six were set in a heavily wooded area with mature oak trees, six in a designated prairie-wetlands conservancy, and six around nine ponds attracting native wildlife. Royal Melbourne previously hosted the 2003 and 2004 Illinois PGA Championship.

The 66th Illinois Open Championship Qualifiers:
– Qualifier #1 – Royal Hawk St. Charles, Ill. – June 4, 2015
– Qualifier #2 – Glencoe (Ill.) G.C. – June 8, 2015
– Qualifier #3 – Turnberry C.C. in Village of Lakewood, Ill.  – June 11, 2015
– Qualifier #4 – Balmoral Woods C.C. in Crete, Ill. – June 17, 2015
– Qualifier #5 – Bloomington (Ill.) C.C. – June 22, 2015
– Qualifier #6 – Willow Crest G.C. at Oak Brook (Ill.) Hills Resort – June 25, 2015
– Qualifier #7 – Elgin (Ill.) C.C. – June 29, 2015

Administered by the Illinois PGA since 1950, the Illinois Open has historical roots dating back to 1922. The state championship of golf is a 54-hole competition contested over three days to determine the finest player in the state of Illinois. The tournament is open to professionals and amateurs with a handicap of 10 or less who reside within the state of Illinois. Qualifying events conducted throughout the month of June will finalize the championship field to the top 258 players.

Presenting sponsors of the 66th Illinois Open Championship will include: Athletico, KemperSports, Oakley and Wilson Staff.