Mike Cushing eyes a chip shot during last year's Bloomington-Normal City Match Play Championship final match. Cushing will be defending his title in the 100th edition of the city tournament, starting with Saturday's qualifying round at Weibring Golf Club.

BLOOMINGTON — Back when a 250-yard drive was considered long, the Bloomington-Normal City Golf Tournament made a stop every other year at Bloomington Country Club.

However, the last time the event was held there was 1963.

That is about to change as BCC will take part to celebrate the 100th edition of the tourney in 2018.

The Bloomington-Normal Golf Association announced the B-N City Match Play Championship, still referred to as the City Tournament by veteran golfers, will hold its qualifying round at Weibring Golf Club at Illinois State on June 9. 

The low 31 qualifiers will join defending champion Mike Cushing in the championship flight for matches at BCC. Other flights will play matches at Weibring.

"BCC is a wonderful golf course with a wonderful history," said BNGA commissioner Mike Henry, who won the 2016 Match Play title. "You don't get to play in or run a centennial event very often."

Cushing, who is a BCC member and head of the club's greens and grounds committee, was instrumental in getting the club to agree to hold the championship flight matches.

"Mike had said he wanted to do something special, and I thought why don't we bring it to what we believe is the best course with the renovation of the bunkers this last fall," said Cushing.

"(BCC) is excited to host it. People want to play there. We like to showcase it. We have a little different mentality with the golf committees and greens and grounds and the board. If you have a product, we like people to use it and see it."

Matches at BCC will have predetermined tee times. The 36-hole final will be on June 17. 

It figures to be a big summer of golf at BCC. The Illinois State Amateur Championship will be played for the eighth time there on July 17-19. 

"How great for our town that you can play that (course) maybe multiple days in competition before the State Amateur which is one month later," said Henry. 

Cushing said he was not alone in getting BCC involved with the city tournament's 100th anniversary. BCC has served as host to the final round of the Medal Play since 2001. 

"The board is made up of really good people who want to support the community," he said. "I stand by the fact we've got the job to grow the game of golf a little bit. It's just an opportunity to showcase the course, too."

While participation in the Match Play has dropped significantly in the last 10 years, Henry hopes the lure of advancing to BCC will increase the number of competitors. He also said the BNGA is working on other things to commemorate the 100-year anniversary. 

With BCC's involvement with the Match Play in 2018, Crestwicke Country Club has agreed to hold the Medal Play's final round for the low 18 championship-flight qualifiers on the afternoon of Aug. 5. Crestwicke has not held the Medal Play's final round since 1990.

Ironwood Golf Course will have the Medal Play's first two rounds on Aug. 4-5.

The Two-Man Best Position will take place at Weibring. Qualifying will be on July 12-14 with matches starting July 15 until the 18-hole championship flight final on July 22.

Other tournament dates announced by the BNGA are: Interclub, May 19-20, Weibring and Ironwood; Junior City (12-under), July 9-10, The Links at Ireland Grove; Junior City (13-18), July 30-31, Prairie Vista Golf Course; Parent/Grandparent-Child (13-over), Aug. 11-12, Prairie Vista; and Parent/Grandparent-Child (12-under), Aug. 18-19, The Links.

The Signature Cup pitting Bloomington-Normal against Decatur is set for June 23-24 at Weibring, while the State Farm Youth Classic for ages 3-22 will be June 26-27 at five B-N courses. 

The Bloomington-Normal Women's City Tournament is set for July 28 at Weibring.

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Follow Jim Benson on Twitter: @Pg_Benson




Reporter for Lee Enterprises Central Illinois.

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