GLENVIEW, Ill. – The 94th installment of the Illinois PGA Championship & PGA Professional Championship (PPC) qualifying is scheduled to take place Aug. 29-31 at Olympia Fields Country Club in Olympia Fields, Ill. The Championship is the premier member event on the Illinois PGA calendar.
Last year at Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, Jim Billiter, Assistant Golf Professional at the Merit Club in Libertyville, Ill., recorded a 54-hole-total of 204 (68-66-70) and won his first Illinois PGA Championship title by two strokes. This victory broke a two year winning streak by 11-time champion Mike Small, head men’s golf coach at the University of Illinois. Billiter was a two time champion last summer, as he also won the Illinois PGA Match Play title at Kemper Lakes in May, 2015.
“I didn’t think I could ever win this one,” Billiter said. “I’m more a match-play guy.”
The Illinois PGA Championship returns to Olympia Fields Country Club in concordance with the Illinois PGA Championship rotation including Stonewall Orchard (Ill.) Golf Club and Medinah (Ill.) Country Club. The legendary Olympia Fields Country Club has hosted two PGA Championships (1925, 1961), two U.S. Open Championships (1928, 2003), five Western Open Championships and countless other premier events.
“Olympia Fields has always been a gracious host of the Illinois PGA Championship and provides both a challenging and rewarding layout for this level of competition,” said Carrie Williams, Illinois PGA executive director. “The Illinois PGA is lucky to have Olympia Fields, the host of multiple majors, provide the venue for our premiere member championship.”
Billiter has competed in thirteen tournament competitions this summer, finishing T2 in the fifth Illinois PGA stroke play event at Glen Flora Country Club in Waukegan, Ill. and T1 at the third stroke play event at Onwentsia Club in Lake Forest, Ill. Aside from his champion title at last year’s Illinois PGA Championship, he also took home the first place prize at the 64th Illinois PGA Match Play Championship. Additionally, Billiter’s participation last year in the 5th Annual Birdies for Charity event at River Forest (Ill.) Country Club resulted in the highest amount of funds raised in the event’s history, checking in at $64,000.
Travis Johns, 38, PGA teaching golf professional at Medinah Country Club, enters the Illinois PGA Championship as the current Bernardi Points leader after recently finishing in first place by two strokes in the fifth Illinois PGA stroke play at Glen Flora (Ill.) Country Club. He leads the Illinois PGA Player of the Year
points race by a margin of 72.88 points, for what looks like a seemingly secured title for the Bernardi Player of the Year. Johns also won the Illinois PGA Player of the Year award in 2014.
In the 2013 Illinois PGA Championship at Olympia Fields, Small fired a seven-under-par 65 in the final round to capture his tenth Illinois PGA Championship. His 54-hole total of 209 (69-72-68) was four strokes better than that of runners-up Travis Johns, Matt Slowinski and Curtis Malm.
Past champions also competing in the Illinois PGA Championship alongside Billiter (2015) are Mike Small (2001, 2003-2010, 2013), Doug Bauman (1996, 1997), Gary Groh (1983, 1986, 1989, 2002), Frank Hohenadel (2011), Steve Orrick (2012) and Jim Sobb (1995, 1999, 2000).
During the first round of the 94th Illinois PGA Championship/PPNC on Monday, Aug. 29, all competitors will be asked to make a voluntary donation to the Folds of Honor Foundation at registration. Contributions will also be accepted through subsequent rounds. The Illinois PGA, in conjunction with the 92nd Illinois PGA Championship will once again kick-off Patriot Golf Day, a joint initiative of the PGA of America and the United States Golf Association (USGA).
Patriot Golf Day returns in 2016 during Labor Day weekend September 3-5 and is an initiative of the Folds of Honor Foundation, which provides post-secondary educational scholarships for children and spouses of military service men and women killed or disabled while serving our great nation.
The 2016 starting field will be comprised of 137 participants including seven past champions. The first and second rounds will be held Monday, Aug. 29 and Tuesday, Aug. 30, respectively, beginning at 7:30 a.m. off the first and tenth tees, followed by the final round on Wednesday, Aug. 31.
Long-time Illinois PGA partner Nadler Golf Cars will once again be the title sponsor of the Illinois PGA Championship/PPNC. Their support as title sponsor has elevated the Championship to record purse levels every year. Presenting PPNC sponsors include: Club Car, Mercedes-Benz, and Omega. Supporting PPNC sponsors include: TaylorMade/adidas/Ashworth, Titleist/Footjoy, Nike Golf, and the PGA TOUR.
Future Illinois PGA Section Championships (tentative):
– 95th Illinois PGA Championship: Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, Course #1, Aug. 28-30, 2017
– 96th Illinois PGA Championship: Stonewall Orchard Golf Club, Aug. 27-29, 2018
– 97th Illinois PGA Championship: Olympia Fields (Ill.) Country Club, South, Aug. 26-28, 2019
– 98th Illinois PGA Championship: Medinah (Ill.) Country Club, Course #1, Aug. 31-Sept. 2, 2020
The Illinois PGA:
The Illinois Section of the PGA of America is a professional organization serving the men and women golf professionals in northern and central Illinois who are the recognized experts in growing, teaching and managing the game of golf. The Illinois PGA is responsible for the administration of competitive golf tournaments, educational opportunities, support programs and growth of the game initiatives. With over 824 members and apprentices, the Illinois PGA is the 12th largest of the 41 regional entities or “Sections” that comprise the PGA of America. For more information on the Illinois PGA, visit www.www.ipga.com.
Nadler Golf Cars:
Nadler Golf, after establishing a partnership in 1981 with Club Car, the leading manufacturer of motorized cars in the country, not only successfully expanded their distribution of golf cars across the Midwest, they also began selling and leasing utility and other transportation vehicles. With this addition to their arsenal, Nadler Golf is now doing business with hotels and resort facilities in and around the Midwest by selling the concept of "taking the legwork" out of the equation for property managers at the facilities. For more information, visit www.nadlergolf.com.