The Illinois Valley Women’s Golf Invitational returns to Spring Creek for the first time in six years with numbers on the rise.
Tournament hostess Kathy Potthoff of Spring Creek said the event has developed into such a friendly camaraderie.
“The gals do enjoy the renewed friendships at this yearly event. With six teams representing their respective courses, ‘Game On,’” she said.
Potthoff reports having 46 entrants for this year’s event, which is up from the past three years. She said the field is tight, currently with 12-19 handicaps for the Championship Class, 20-24 for “A” Class, 25-28 for “B” Class, and 29-plus for “C” Class.
The tournament tees off at 9 a.m. with the championship flight slated to go off at 11 a.m.
Defending champ Cheri Russell of Morris, a school administrator in Joliet, seeks her third title in eight years, having won her first in 2010, both titles coming at Senica’s Oak Ridge.
The only other past champion in the 2017 field is Green River’s Tammy Howlett, who won the 2014 title on her home course.
“Competition is always peaked with previous winners returning,” Potthoff said.
Local top challengers include rising talents in Amanda Scheri and Aiko Mendoza of Spring Creek and Sophia Suarez of Wyaton Hills, along with Angie Carl of Green River and Scheri’s mother, Mary.
Any number of the five Prophet Hills golfers in the championship flight along with Terry Folmar of Oak Ridge will be in the mix as well.
Prophet Hills (Prophetstown), which made its tournament debut by claiming last year’s team title, returns with nine players.
Green River, the 2016 Low Net Team champion, returns with seven players.
Spring Creek heads the tournament with 10 ladies playing on its home course.
Wyaton Hills will be represented by six players. Other teams hail from Morris (6) and Oak Ridge (4), while single entries come from Edgewood and Mendota.
The IV Women’s Open originated in 1958, open to all women living within a 60-mile radius of host South Bluff Country Club in Peru. There have been 28 different individual champions over the 59-year history of the event.
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2017 Illinois Valley Women’s Golf Invitational
• Sunday at Spring Creek Golf Course, Spring Creek.
• Cheri Russell (Morris) is the defending champion.
• Prophet Hills is defending low gross team champion.
• Green River is defending low net team champion.