Dustin Johnson Wins at Cog Hill on Sunday... Chick Evans Scholars Benefit from Local Golf Tournament


Dustin Johnson wins the prestigious BMW Championship with a 6'9" putt after a huge chip on the 18th green.  After his world famous grounding of his club in one of the one-thousand bunkers at Whistling Straits, he demonstrates his championship character again.

The PGA TOUR and the Western Golf Association partnered with BMW to sponsor the annual golf event.  From Sept. 9 - 12, the top 70 male golf professionals challenged the Dudsdread course at Cog Hill Golf and Country Club in Lemont, Illinois to vie for the top 40 spots to move into the semi-finals of the FedEx Cup.  With a 7.5 million dollar purse, competition was close, with Dustin scoring -9 to win by one stroke over Paul Casey of England. K.J. Choi, South Korean born, who resides in Dallas, tied for third with three Americans, Kevin Nu, Matt Kuchar, and Ryan Moore with 3 under par.  Locals Steve Stricker, (U of I grad who lives in Madison, WI) tied with the great Phil Michelson at minus 4, while Kevin Steelman of Winfield, IL tied at 43 with another Ryan, Ryan Palmer.  Last year's winner, Tiger Woods, finished tied at 15 with a minus one under par.

The proceeds from this event benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation, founded by the greatest local amateur golfer, Charles "Chick" Evans. The historical Edgewater Golf Club, the present  Robert A. Black Golf Course at 2445 West Pratt Avenue, was the home to Chick Evans, who began to caddy there at age 8, in 1898.  

Chick became the first amateur to win the Western Open (1910), after winning the Western Amateur the previous year. He then won the U.S. Open in 1916 at the Minikahda Club in Minneapolis with the first sub-par finish (two-under-par 286) a record that stood for 20 years. Mr. Evans did not care to turn professional, so he put his winnings in an escrow account.  Through the influence of his mother, he decided to help caddies who could not afford to attend college, since Mr. Evans himself had been forced to leave Northwestern after only one year, because he lacked the funds.

Eighty years ago, in 1930, the Evans Scholar Foundation, then the Chick Evans Caddie Foundation, gave its first two scholarships to deserving caddies to attend Northwestern University.  Since the tuition was only $150, the remaining money was rolled over into a scholarship fund for the following year. Originally the Western Golf Association did not wish to be responsible for overseeing the scholarship, but Mr. Evans persisted. He was a businessman, whose hobby was golf.  The Evans Scholars Foundation throughout the years has received donations from the Western Golf Association board members, who would leave money on the table after interviewing potential scholarship recipients. Then in 1949, the WGA began the Par Club, asking individuals for $100 per year, in exchange for a bagtag and a hat.  This same year, Roland F. McGuigan, the Dean of Men at Northwestern, began to oversee the program. Continuing for forty years, he helped the program grow from assisting thirty scholars to nearly 900 annually.

Today, the Evans Scholars Foundation has become golf's favorite charity.An estimated 100,000 golfers contribute annually in Chick's honor to the Evans Scholars Program so the WGA can continue to meet tuition and housing costs that exceed $11 million each year. (2) These donations, combined with the proceeds from the Western Open, send deserving golf caddies to college annually.

As the only Chicago PGA Tour event this year, Cog Hill Golf & Country Club's Course No. 4, Dubsdread, has earned the respect of PGA TOUR professionals since the championship moved to Cog Hill in 1991. Owned by the Jemsek family, the course features tiered bentgrass greens and fairways, water hazards on 6 holes, and 110 sand bunkers.  Renovated by Rees Jones in 2008, Dubsdread was a challenging venue for the 2010 BMW Championship.

This year's crowd enjoyed a Sunday of perfect weather conditions, sunny, no wind, and the temperature near 80 degrees.  The crowd reacted with oos, when third place Ryan Moore's approach shot landed in the gallery behind the 18th green.  The crowd was moved slightly to give him space to play, but his chip shot was poor, leaving 25 feet 2 inches and using two strokes to hole it.

Then Dustin Johnson made his putt to become the sole winner. An avid golf tournament attendee, Nancy Warren of St. Charles commented, "I am very impressed with the friendly and courteousness of those who run the tournament. It is a wonderful golf tournament and we had fun." Having traveled to five states for over twenty-five PGA events, two Ryder Cups, and a President's Cup, she would be an expert.

Another attendee, Barb Richie of Sandwich, IL, believed, "There were so many heartbreaking shots, with so much money on the line, we have seen them drop some strokes."  Though she and her husband, Ken, did not personally know any caddies who had benefited from the Evans Scholarship program, they concurred that "Giving scholarships was such a great thing to do."  Ken, a volunteer for the last three years, declared his worst position was last year when assigned to work the Cell Phone Booth, "holding" thousands of cell phones brought onto the grounds.

Since 1916, when the great Walter Hagen was victorious at The Western Open, male golfing greats have shown their skills. Hagen won three other years (1921, 1926, and 1932) and was runner up twice (1917 and 1923).  Then Arnold Palmer won in 1961 and 1963, shooting 271 and 280.

Other greats Billy Casper and Jack Nicklaus vied back and forth for the title from 1965-1973. Nicklaus held the honor in 1968 (273) and 1967 (274), while Casper dominated four times - 1965 (270), 1966 (283), 1969 (276), and 1973 (272). Tom Watson was victorious in 1984 with a 280 and was runner up the year before with a 285 to Mark McCumber with a 284.  Also Watson was first in 1977 with a 283.

What about last year's winner, Tiger Woods (265)? As a five time winner, he was sure to be a contender this year also. His record includes wins in 2007 (262), 2003 (267), 1999 (273), and 1997 (275). In 2006 he tied for runner up with Mathew Goggin to Trevor Immelman and in 2005 to Jim Furyk.

Another great, Greg Norman, won three consecutive years - 1991, 1992, 1993 and after that in 1997 and 1984. Other winners that must be mentioned are Illinois graduate Steve Stricker (1996) and Ben Hogan (1946 and 1948).

For more information: PGA Tour; BMW Championship; History; Evans Scholars program; Evans Scholars Foundation ; Dann, Michael, "The Evans Scholars Story" from the 1990 U.S. Open Program.



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