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Pantagraph-area golf news

Illini coach qualifies for U.S. Open

University of Illinois golf coach Mike Small has qualified for the U.S. Open, earning a spot Monday at the North Riverside Sectional Qualifier at Riverside Golf Course. During his first rounds on the course, he shot 71-69-140 to tie Jeff Brehaut as low qualifier. He garnered one of five automatic spots.

The U.S. Open is scheduled for June 14-17 at Oakmont (Pa.) Country Club. It will be Small's sixth appearance at a major.

North lands double eagle

Drew North of El Paso made double eagle Tuesday on the par-5 second hole at Crestwicke Country Club in Bloomington. North was playing from the black tees, a 530-yard hole. It was witnessed by Kyle English.

Junior City sets 12-under sign up

The Bloomington-Normal Junior City 12-and-under division will be held June 18-19 at The Links at Ireland Grove. There will be nine holes each day. Entry fee is $20 and registration is at The Links. The divisions for boys and girls are 6-under, 7-19 and 10-12. Golfers must live in Bloomington-Normal or belong to a Bloomington-Normal club or hold a season ticket. The 13-18 age groups for the Junior City will play July 23-24 at Prairie Vista Golf Course.

CYC registration ends June 11

Registration continues until Monday for the sixth annual Country Youth Classic, which will be played at six courses in Bloomington-Normal and be held June 25-27. Golfers ages 3 to 22 are eligible. Entry fee depends on age group. For more information and to register on-line, go to

Stroker Classic set for July 16-17

The Stroker Golf Classic, which is open to all McLean County Chamber of Commerce members and their guests, will be held July 16-17 at the ISU Golf Course. There will be a 1 p.m. shotgun start each day.

Cost is $145 per player per day or $250 per player for both days and includes golf, cart, gift, lunch, dinner and beverages. For more information, call (309) 827-3940.

Clinton Chamber outing June 26

The Clinton Chamber of Commerce is taking registrations for a golf outing June 26 at Clinton Country Club. The 18-hole best position scramble starts at 1 p.m. Cost is $75 ($65 for chamber members) for golf, cart and meal and $20 ($15 for chamber members) for dinner only. Deadline is June 15. For more information, call (217) 935-3364.

Golf tip

One of the first things you should do to make more putts is get properly fitted for length and lie angle. The next step is to find a putter that you like the looks of and feels good when you putt with it.

When you place your hands on the putter grip, your palms should oppose each other and your thumbs should be placed on the flat spot on top of the grip. Your hands should also be close together and not split apart and the first finger of your left hand should lie over the knuckles of your right hand (left handed golfers is just the opposite).

The setup position is to put your feet approximately 1{ feet apart and bend at the waist so your eyes are directly over the ball. Your elbows should be bent and if you were to lay a club over both forearms, the club should point parallel to your target.

The proper putting stroke is to swing the putter back and forth using your shoulders and arms, leaving your wrists out of the stroke. It is important to remember that you must follow through as the putting should emulate a pendulum arm swinging back and forth with your body staying completely quiet.

Another important point is to not look up too soon after striking the ball. If you keep your eyes focused on the ground directly behind the ball and use your ears and listen for the ball to fall into the hole instead of watching the ball fall into the hole, you will find that your directional control will be much better.

Note: Steve Fulton is the head professional at El Paso Golf Club in Kappa. He can be reached at (309) 527-5225.


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