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PARK RIDGE, Ill. (Thursday, June 22) – William Mouw, 16, of Chino, California, made his long walk look easy Thursday, showing stamina and skill in mastering the 36-hole final and posting a record-tying, wire-to-wire victory in the 100th Western Junior at Park Ridge Country Club in Park Ridge, Illinois, Thursday.

Mouw, who held a two-shot lead heading into the final day, strolled away from the field with a pair of 3-under 67s for a 72-hole total of 266 to tie the 72-hole record set by Hunter Mahan in 1999 on the Tradition course at Treetops Sylvan Resort in Michigan. In second, a distant eight shots back at 274, was Karl Vilips, 15, of Australia.

After taking the 36-hole lead Wednesday, Mouw said he had walked 36 holes six days in a row recently to prepare for the Western Junior’s arduous final day. That preparation helped him best the heat and humidity that blanketed Park Ridge Country Club throughout the day and paved the way to his win.

“It was one of the toughest golf days I’ve played, but my legs are doing well,” said Mouw, a junior at Ontario Christian School in Ontario, California. “I drank 20 bottles of water and a couple of Gatorades and think I ate about six bananas.”

Mouw, who built his lead to 6-under after 54 holes, said he kept his focus by setting a goal to beat himself.

“I was going to go as low as I could today,” he said. “My goal was 67 and I hit my goal both times.”

He did it by sticking to his game plan of one shot at a time, playing aggressive and trusting in his swing.

“I hit the ball well, and my speed was good with my putts,” said Mouw, a long hitter who can hit his 2-iron 285-290 yards. “I think I only three-putted once all week. My caddie helped me a lot, kept me calm.”

Mouw, who has verbally committed to play his collegiate golf at Pepperdine, became just the second wire-to-wire winner of the Western Junior since the 1999 format change. The first champion to take and hold the lead all four rounds was Jonathan Moore in 2001 at The Honors Course in Chattanooga, Tennessee. Mouw’s eight-shot win also matched the record for largest margin of victory, set in 2014 by KK Limbhasut at Flossmoor Country Club in Flossmoor, Illinois.

Mouw has come close to victory this year, tying for second in the Heater Farr Classic and tying for fourth in the AJGA Junior at Greenhorn Creek.

Winning the Western Junior “is a great feeling,” he noted. “This win means a lot – it’s a big one, one to put in the memory book. These guys (his competitors this week) are the best in America. I’m honored ...”

Vilips, who ended up being Mouw’s closest competitor, struggled with his driving all week, keeping him from giving Mouw a closer battle for the title. Vilips, a sophomore at Saddlebrook Prep in Wesley Chapel, Florida, was paired with Mouw in 2015 IMG World Golf Championship, which Mouw won.

“I missed a few opportunities,” said Vilips, who has committed to play his collegiate golf at Stanford. “My tee shots were everywhere this week. He (Mouw) is definitely a good player. He played great golf the whole week.

“I probably hit fewer than 40 percent of the fairways this week, but probably got up and down 60 percent of the time,” added Vilips. “The course is in great shape and it’s tough, especially when you hit it everywhere off the tee like I did.”

Mac Meissner, 18, San Antonio, Texas, finished third, one back of Vilips at 275.

“It was nice to get a good finish,” said Meissner, who’s heading to Stanford this fall. “This course is amazing ... in perfect shape and demanding off the tee.”

Meissner also credited Mouw for his amazing showing this week. “To shoot 14-under over four rounds out here is really remarkable,” he said. “That some solid golf, but he’s a solid player.”



 

GOLF, Ill. – The Western Golf Association’s Caddie Academy will return for its sixth summer, providing a group of 89 female high school students from across the nation an opportunity to caddie at local golf and country clubs – and ultimately earn a shot at winning a full housing and tuition college scholarship.

For seven weeks beginning June 19, the girls will caddie daily at one of 13 participating clubs along Chicago’s North Shore, while living in community at Woodlands Academy of the Sacred Heart in Lake Forest, Illinois.

This unique program offers participants a chance to experience the benefits of being a golf caddie, from learning life lessons to being around successful adults. The girls come from economically disadvantaged backgrounds and/or areas that don’t offer caddie opportunities. More than 90 percent of participants are minorities.

Those who complete the three-summer program will become eligible to apply for the Evans Scholarship, a full, four-year tuition and housing college grant to top universities across the country. The Program is supported by the Western Golf Association; applicants must show financial need and strong character, as well as outstanding caddie and academic records. This past year, 935 Evans Scholars were enrolled at 20 universities across the nation.

“The Caddie Academy provides a unique opportunity for hard-working young women to be introduced to caddying and the game of golf,” says WGA Chairman David Robinson. “Their ultimate reward is a chance to earn a full scholarship to a top university."

Since 2012, when the Caddie Academy began, 23 participants have been awarded the Evans Scholarship. This year, six girls earned the Evans Scholarship and will begin college this fall: Julissa Andino: North Shore Country Club, awarded to University of Illinois; Robyn Coleman: Glen View Club, awarded to Penn State University, Johanna de Leon: Conway Farms Golf Club, awarded to Marquette University; Jade Gray-Davis: Onwentsia Club, awarded to Penn State University, Melina Scofield: The Glen Club, awarded to Northwestern University; and Katelyn Sweeney: The Glen Club, awarded to Miami University.

During the seven weeks the Caddie Academy is in session, female Evans Scholars live with the participants, serving as counselors to supervise and mentor the group, as well as driving the girls to their respective clubs each day.

The group also takes part in special outings and field trips, career talks from successful female leaders and standardized test prep training.

This year, more than 100 high school freshmen girls from across the country applied to participate in the Caddie Academy. Of that group, 38 girls were invited to take part. This summer’s participants include young women from Arkansas, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Maryland, Michigan, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, D.C.

The Caddie Academy began in 2012 with an inaugural class of 12 caddies. Each year since, it has experienced tremendous success and growth. The program – and other similar caddie training initiatives – is a core part of the Evans Scholars Foundation’s overall plans for growth, with leaders aiming to send 1,000 caddies to college annually by the year 2020.

Partnering clubs in the Academy include Conway Farms Golf Club, Evanston Golf Club, Exmoor Country Club, The Glen Club, Glen View Club, Indian Hill Club, Knollwood Club, Merit Club, Onwentsia Club, Northmoor Country Club, Skokie Country Club, Twin Orchard Country Club and Westmoreland Country Club.

The Caddie Academy is funded by a private donor. Proceeds from the annual Women’s Invitational golf outing, now in its third year, also benefit the Academy.

The WGA also is launching a Caddie Academy program for boys this summer, following the success of its program for teenage girls. For seven weeks this summer beginning June 19, a group of six young men will live at the Northwestern Evans Scholarship House in Evanston and caddie at new WGA partnering clubs along Chicago’s North Shore.

“The success of the Caddie Academy for young women has exceeded our wildest expectations,” says the WGA’s Mike Maher, who oversees the program. “We’re excited to be able to expand the opportunity to introduce golf and caddying to a new group of underserved youth, who we ultimately hope will become successful applicants for the Evans Scholarship.”




 

SKOKIE, IL (06/02/17) -- Before he won the 2016 Western Amateur, Dylan Meyer had doubts about his game.

A lot has changed since then.

Meyer, of Evansville, Indiana, enters this summer’s 2017 Western Amateur as the world’s No. 1-ranked amateur, an ascent he attributed to his victory last year at Knollwood Club in Lake Forest, Illinois.

“It was good for me because I hadn’t really won any type of big event or anything like that,” Meyer said at Thursday’s media day at Skokie Country Club, Glencoe, where the 2017 Western Amateur will be played July 31-August 5. “To really step out and win the Western Amateur, one of the top events in the entire amateur world, was very special for me. It showed I had the strength to do, the mental strength to last that long, to keep grinding it out and playing golf.

“Surviving that entire week was incredible.”

During his junior season at University of Illinois, Meyer won three times and was named the Big Ten’s player of the year. He was one of three finalists for the Ben Hogan Award. Meyer then helped the Fighting Illini to the semifinals of the NCAA Championships at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, Illinois.

“When you win, you get a bunch of confidence,” Meyer said. “That little voice in the back of your head that tells you, ‘Can you do it?’ it shuts it up. You can do it because you’ve done it before, so you can keep on repeating it and repeating it.”

Meyer is one of several highly-ranked players in the field this year. In fact, five of the world’s six already have committed. That includes Texas junior and No. 6-ranked Doug Ghim, of Arlington Heights, Illinois, who was the medalist in 2014 at Beverly Country Club in Chicago.

Other notable players in the field include Meyer's Illinois teammate Nick Hardy, 2015 Western Amateur champion Dawson Armstrong, Cal All-American Collin Morikawa and international standout Kyle McClatchie of South Africa.

This will be Hardy’s fourth appearance at the Western Amateur. He’s qualified for the Sweet 16 twice and advanced to the semifinals of match play in 2014.

“I love coming back to this event because it is such a grueling week and only the toughest survive,” said Hardy, who also was at media day. “It is a grind, and it’s a lot of golf in a short amount of time, but it’s a lot of fun.”

The last time Skokie Country Club hosted the Western Amateur was in 2010. It was won by David Chung.

Peter Mone, a member and co-chairman of this year's Western Amateur, said the club takes pride in its history. One of the highlights was Gene Sarazen’s victory in the 1922 U.S. Open, where he beat Bobby Jones and John Black by one stroke by making birdie at the 18th hole.

“[Sarazen] came back here during our 100th anniversary in 1987,” Mone said. “We had 500 people behind [the 18th hole], and we had a bagpiper bring him up the hill. He walked onto the green, and he had his pork pie hat on and his cane. He tapped on the green and said this where I hit my putt 75 years ago to beat Bobby Jones.”

Meyer looks forward to adding his name next to the legendary Sarazen as a player who won at Skokie Country Club. Meyer said he likes how the classic course suits his game.

“Tree-lined golf courses definitely fit my eye,” he said. “I hit the ball super straight, and I’m pretty consistent with my iron shots. I’m excited to be at this place.”

- Matt Harness/WGA 




 

GOLF, IL (May 10, 2017) … The Western Golf Association and the Women’s Western Golf Association are forming a new partnership in which the WGA will assist in managing WWGA championships beginning Aug. 1, leaders jointly announced this week.

The new agreement also provides for the WGA to help guide the Women’s Western Golf Foundation, which was founded by the WWGA in 1971 and has awarded more than $3.5 million in scholarships to more than 690 young women from across the country.

The history of connections between the two organizations dates back more than 116 years, as the WGA was the initial sponsor of the Western Women’s amateur championship in 1901. The women organized their own association in 1903, changing the name to the Women’s Western Golf Association. In 2011, the WGA agreed to provide administrative support to WWGA championships beginning in 2012.

As part of the new five-year agreement, the WGA will help stage and promote the WWGA’s Women’s Western National Amateur Championship and the Women’s Western National Junior Championship and secure host sites for the events.

The 117th Women’s Western Amateur Championship will be played June 12-17 at River Forest Country Club in Elmhurst, Illinois, and the 91st Women’s Junior Championship will be held July 10-14 at Dubuque Golf and Country Club in Dubuque, Iowa.

“The history between these two golf associations goes back to the beginnings of the Women’s Western Golf Association. We have had a great relationship with the Western Golf Association through the years,” said Frances Fleckenstein, president of the Women’s Western Golf Association. “After forming our partnership again in 2011, we now look forward to taking the next step to having their full support, which will be beneficial to both our organizations.”

WGA Chairman David Robinson said the partnership is a perfect fit for the two historic organizations.

“We’re excited to be deepening our relationship with the WWGA, which has done so much in the Midwest and across the country for women’s golf,” said Robinson. “It is an organization whose values and storied history of championships and scholarships are very much aligned with our own.”

The two organizations also jointly sponsor a Women’s Western Evans Scholar, awarding a four-year tuition and housing college scholarship to a female caddie who excels academically, has an outstanding caddie record and demonstrates financial need.

The current Women’s Western Evans Scholar is Hannah Gillespie, who is completing her freshman year at the University of Notre Dame. 



GOLF, Ill. – In 2017, 106 student caddies from the greater Chicago area have been awarded the Evans Scholarship, a full tuition and housing college grant offered to golf caddies.

Each caddie, whose name and biographical information is listed below, has a unique story, which reflects the scholarship’s four selection criteria: a strong caddie record; excellent academics; demonstrated financial need; and outstanding character. Recipients will begin as Evans Scholars this fall, attending one of the 19 universities nationwide, including 15 where the Evans Scholars Foundation operates a Scholarship House. The Evans Scholarship is valued at an estimated $100,000 over four years

“Each of these deserving Evans Scholars epitomizes what our Program has been about since its creation in 1930,” said WGA Chairman David Robinson. “Their dedication, hard work and sacrifice is humbling, and we are honored to help them pursue their dreams.”

The Western Golf Association, headquartered in Golf, Illinois, has supported the Chick Evans Scholarship Program through the Evans Scholars Foundation since 1930. One of golf’s favorite charities, it is the nation’s largest scholarship program for caddies.

Currently, a record 935 caddies are enrolled in 20 universities across the nation as Evans Scholars, and more than 10,400 caddies have graduated since the Program was founded by famed Chicago amateur golfer Charles “Chick” Evans Jr.

“These young men and women have worked tirelessly to earn this life-changing opportunity,” said John Kaczkowski, WGA President and CEO. “They have shown excellence in the classroom and in their communities, as well as on the golf course. We welcome them to the Evans Scholars family.”

Funds for the Scholarship come from contributions by 30,600 golfers across the country, who give through the Evans Scholars Par Club program. Evans Scholars Alumni donate more than $10 million annually, and all proceeds from the BMW Championship, the third of four PGA TOUR Playoff events in the PGA TOUR’s FedExCup competition, benefit the Evans Scholars Foundation.

To learn more about the WGA and ESF, visit www.wgaesf.org 

The recipients, who are organized by hometown, include:

First Name

Last Name

Awarded University

High School Name

Hometown

Sponsoring Club

Dean

Barkoulies

Miami University

Addison Trail HS

Addison

Medinah CC

Kendall

Johnson

University of Colorado

Dundee-Crown HS

Algonquin

Inverness GC

Patricia

Lohman Meza

Northwestern University

Jacobs HS

Algonquin

Crystal Lake CC

John

Cody

University of Illinois

Shepard HS

Alsip

Ridge CC

Kyle

Kornblum

Indiana University

Rolling Meadows HS

Arlington Heights

Rolling Green CC

Julia

Isaacs

University of Wisconsin

Rosary HS

Aurora

Aurora CC

Francis

Bongiovanni

University of Illinois

South Elgin HS

Bartlett

The Royal Fox CC

Molly

Mehta

University of Illinois

South Elgin HS

Bartlett

St. Charles CC

Cailee

Riley

Marquette University

Bartlett HS

Bartlett

Medinah CC

Fines

Owens

University of Illinois

Fenwick HS

Berkeley

Riverside GC

Samantha

Torres

University of Washington

Emma Willard School

Berwyn

Ruth Lake CC

Marco

Torres

University of Illinois

Fenwick HS

Berwyn

Skokie CC

Emily

Ayala Serrato

University of Colorado

Dundee-Crown HS

Carpentersville

Inverness GC

Zachary

Beaugureau

University of Wisconsin

Cary-Grove Community HS

Cary

McHenry CC

Eveline

Adamski

Miami University

Lane Technical HS

Chicago

North Shore CC

Kyrie

Agee

University of Illinois

De La Salle Institute

Chicago

Exmoor CC

Julissa

Andino

University of Illinois

Westinghouse HS

Chicago

North Shore CC

Tyler

Belisle

University of Illinois

Mount Carmel HS

Chicago

Conway Farms GC

Elena

Brambila

Marquette University

Jones College Prep HS

Chicago

Riverside GC

Thomas

Brannick

Marquette University

St. Patrick HS

Chicago

Ridgemoor CC

Mateo

Chavez

Ohio State University

Young Magnet HS

Chicago

Sunset Ridge CC

Raphael

Cruz

University of Kansas

De La Salle Institute

Chicago

Sunset Ridge CC

David

Czapla

Marquette University

Notre Dame College Prep

Chicago

Ridgemoor CC

Johanna

de Leon

Marquette University

Trinity HS

Chicago

Conway Farms GC

Kaitlyne

Diaz

University of Illinois

Taft HS

Chicago

Bryn Mawr CC

Haley

Doyle

University of Illinois

Queen of Peace HS

Chicago

Ruth Lake CC

William

Dreux Jr.

Northwestern University

Saint Ignatius College Prep

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Richard

Eberwein

University of Illinois

St. Patrick HS

Chicago

Park Ridge CC

Marissa

Edwards

University of Illinois

South Shore International College Preparatory HS

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Brooke

Gawel

University of Notre Dame

Nazareth Academy

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Robert

Grayson Jr.

University of Illinois

Fenwick HS

Chicago

Riverside GC

Alejandra

Hernandez*

Marquette University

Cristo Rey Jesuit HS

Chicago

Edgewood Valley CC

Joseph

Lopez

University of Illinois

DePaul College Prep

Chicago

Park Ridge CC

Manuel

Madriz*

University of Kansas

Wayland Academy

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Robert

Mersch

University of Illinois

Northridge Preparatory School

Chicago

Evanston GC

Liam

Murphy

Marquette University

Fenwick HS

Chicago

Park Ridge CC

Yaitzell

Noriega

Marquette University

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts HS

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Christopher

Novo

Ohio State University

Loyola Academy

Chicago

Northmoor CC

Khadijah

Olowu

University of Illinois

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts HS

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Brandie

Smith

Ohio State University

Holy Trinity HS

Chicago

Glen Oak CC

Francesca

Soto

Marquette University

Saint Ignatius College Prep

Chicago

The Beverly CC

Katelynn

Soto

University of Illinois

Woodlands Academy
of the Sacred Heart

Chicago

La Grange CC

Emily

Stummer

University of Wisconsin

Lane Technical HS

Chicago

Bryn Mawr CC

Michael

Valicento

University of Illinois

St. Patrick HS

Chicago

Ridgemoor CC

Daniela

Garcia

Northwestern University

University of Chicago
Lab School

Chicago

Oak Park CC

Alejandro

Roman

Miami University

Loyola Academy

Chicago

Exmoor CC

Gianmarco

Petrelli

Miami University

Homewood-Flossmoor HS

Chicago Heights

Olympia Fields CC

Melina

Scofield

Northwestern University

Cristo Rey Jesuit HS

Cicero

The Glen Club

Weronika

Jasko

University of Kansas

Hinsdale Central HS

Clarendon Hills

Ruth Lake CC

Mateusz

Milaszewski

University of Colorado

Deerfield HS

Deerfield

Briarwood CC

Klaire

Carlquist

University of Kansas

South HS

Downers Grove

Ruth Lake CC

Matthew

Marth

Northwestern University

Benet Academy

Downers Grove

Butterfield CC

Donavan

Bird

University of Illinois

Streamwood HS

Elgin

Elgin CC

Nicholas

Dattalo

Indiana University

St. Patrick HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Michael

Dattalo

University of Illinois

St. Patrick HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Frank

Stocco

University of Illinois

Elmwood Park HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Jakub

Zwierzynski

Purdue University

Elmwood Park HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Luis

Murphy

University of Kansas

Fenwick HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Steiv

Shore

University of Michigan

Elmwood Park HS

Elmwood Park

Oak Park CC

Conor

Sheehan

University of Kansas

Brother Rice HS

Evergreen Park

The Beverly CC

Jack

Dingle

University of Kansas

Lincoln-Way East HS

Frankfort

Prestwick CC

Marc

Siegler

University of Minnesota

Glenbrook South HS

Glenview

North Shore CC

Julia

Nakashima

University of Illinois

Glenbrook South HS

Glenview

Park Ridge CC

Claudia

Frausto Sandoval

Marquette University

Warren Township HS

Gurnee

Skokie CC

Anna

Telling

University of Missouri

Warren Township HS

Gurnee

Merit Club

Scott

Harbut

Indiana University

Ridgewood HS

Harwood Heights

Ridgemoor CC

Thomas

Oblazny

University of Illinois

Amos Alonzo Stagg HS

Hickory Hills

Edgewood CC

Kyle

Johnson

Marquette University

Marian Catholic HS

Homewood

Idlewild CC

Thomas

Casey

University of Wisconsin

Lake Forest HS

Lake Bluff

Knollwood Club

Jeffrey

Kitzerow

Indiana University

Lake Forest HS

Lake Bluff

Knollwood Club

Mark

Rinaolo

Northwestern University

Lake Forest HS

Lake Forest

Conway Farms GC

Peter

Dudek

University of Michigan

Lake Zurich HS

Lake Zurich

Twin Orchard CC

Alexander

Krasowski

Northwestern University

Lake Zurich HS

Lake Zurich

Twin Orchard CC

Sarah

Ferriter

Pennsylvania State University

Lemont HS

Lemont

Edgewood Valley CC

Katelyn

Fonner

University of Missouri

Lisle HS

Lisle

River Forest CC

Robert

Gikas

University of Illinois

St. Rita of Cascia HS

Lockport

Glen Oak CC

Ryan

Muehlfelder

University of Illinois

Johnsburg HS

McHenry

Bull Valley GC

Charles

Siefke

Miami University

Prospect HS

Mount Prospect

Rolling Green CC

Dominika

Wojtowicz

Indiana University

Prospect HS

Mount Prospect

Rolling Green CC

Samantha

St. Leger

University of Illinois

Lincoln-Way West HS

New Lenox

Prestwick CC

Desmond

O'Shaughnessy

Northwestern University

Niles West HS

Niles

Ridgemoor CC

Patrick

Cooke

University of Illinois

Oak Forest HS

Oak Forest

Midlothian CC

Benjamin

Kirby

Ohio State University

Carl Sandburg HS

Oak Forest

Olympia Fields CC

Mackenzie

Lim

Northwestern University

Marist HS

Oak Forest

Midlothian CC

Keagan

Lenz

Marquette University

Marist HS

Oak Lawn

The Beverly CC

Brigid

Rakow

Indiana University

Mother McAuley Liberal Arts HS

Oak Lawn

The Beverly CC

Colin

Martin

Purdue University

Providence Catholic HS

Orland Park

Ruth Lake CC

Kelly

Pawlak

University of Missouri

Shepard HS

Palos Heights

Olympia Fields CC

Gracie

DeRosa

Marquette University

Maine South HS

Park Ridge

Park Ridge CC

Garrett

Javors

University of Michigan

Fenwick HS

Riverside

Riverside GC

Dennis

O'Bryan

University of Notre Dame

Fenwick HS

Riverside

Riverside GC

Isaiah

Jebb

University of Kansas

Riverside Brookfield HS

Riverside

Riverside GC

Francesca

McCallister*

Purdue University

Lake Park HS

Roselle

Medinah CC

Ashweita

Ajith

Indiana University

Niles West HS

Skokie

Evanston GC

Elijah

Lancaster

University of Colorado

Niles West HS

Skokie

Evanston GC

Ethan

Enright

Marquette University

St. Edward Central Catholic HS

South Elgin

St. Charles CC

Michael

Martino

University of Kansas

Marist HS

Tinley Park

Midlothian CC

Steven

Rayzman

Northwestern University

Lake Forest Academy

Vernon Hills

Exmoor CC

Elizabeth

Sandoval

University of Illinois

Vernon Hills HS

Vernon Hills

Skokie CC

Patricia

Perez

University of Illinois

Willowbrook HS

Villa Park

Glen Oak CC

Jonathan

Westergaard

Indiana University

Wheaton Warrenville South HS

Warrenville

Cantigny Golf

Patrick

McCormack

University of Illinois

Community HS

West Chicago

The Royal Fox CC

Thomas

DeCesare

University of Illinois

St. Rita of Cascia HS

Western Springs

La Grange CC

Gary

DeCesare

University of Illinois

St. Rita of Cascia HS

Western Springs

La Grange CC

Zhenguo

Mo

Northwestern University

Hinsdale Central HS

Westmont

Butterfield CC

Timothy

Wolf

University of Kansas

Fenton HS

Wooddale

Medinah CC


*Denotes those who were awarded the Evans Scholarship
as college freshmen and will be sophomores in the fall.



The Evans Scholars Foundation’s Leadership Council celebrated five years of helping send caddies to college during the fourth annual Birdie Ball at Lincoln Hall in Chicago on Saturday, April 29.

More than 300 people attended the event, which is hosted annually by the Leadership Council as part of its efforts to raise awareness of, and funds for, the Evans Scholars Foundation. The Leadership Council was established in 2013 as a board of young professionals who serve as ambassadors for the Evans Scholars Program through fundraising and Scholar mentoring.

This year’s Birdie Ball raised more than $45,000 for the Evans Scholars Foundation — a record for the event — and it has raised more than $145,000 since its inception in 2014. The night featured live entertainment by the Bluewater Kings Band, a silent auction and a video about Purdue University Evans Scholar Zack Sielck’s path to earning the life-changing Evans Scholarship.

A short program included speeches from Leadership Council President Mary Moran and Evans Scholars Foundation Director of Development Matt Starr. Moran and Starr are both Alumni of the Evans Scholars Program. Starr outlined how much the Evans Scholars Foundation — with the help of the Leadership Council — has grown over the past five years.

Among the Leadership Council’s many achievements is the development of a mentorship program to keep Evans Scholars and young Alumni engaged with one another and with the Evans Scholars Foundation. Two hundred current Scholars enrolled in the mentorship program for the 2016-17 academic year. 

“Five years ago, we didn’t have the Leadership Council. Now, we look to this group as our next generation of leaders,” Starr said. “Thanks to the Leadership Council, we have a robust program that is helping our Evans Scholars find internships and jobs. This is taking our mission to the next level — caddies, to college, to careers.”

Attendees also got to hear about the experiences of current Northwestern University Evans Scholars Kristy Spratt, Ethan Dlugie, Connor Murray, Emily Maxwell, Griffin Bourjaily, Natalie Burg and Vanida Vesuntia.

Event sponsors included RCP Advisors and Viacom at the “Honor Caddie” level; BMO Capital Markets, CDW, The Garrison Family and PwC at the “A Caddie” level; and Iluminus Group, KPMG, Lendlease, Lockton, MacLean-Fogg, MB Financial, Mercer, Nuveen, Ropes & Gray and Wintrust at the “B Caddie” level.

“It’s been amazing to see the Birdie Ball grow each year,” event chair Mike Rice said. “The support we’ve received has allowed us to raise even more money for the Evans Scholars Foundation, and we look forward to doing more in the future.”

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About the Leadership Council

The Leadership Council was formed in 2013 with a goal of bringing together a diverse, young group of emerging business and civic leaders for networking and professional development opportunities. Members, who are between the ages of 25-40 and mostly live in the Chicago area, serve as ambassadors for the Evans Scholars Foundation through fundraising and Scholar mentoring.

For more information on the Leadership Council, please visit www.wgaesf.org/council.



 

 Download 2017 Offline Enrollment Form

On the strength of a fast start to the 2017 campaign, the Evans Scholars Foundation’s annual Match Play Challenge initiative has surpassed $50 million in all-time fundraising to support caddie scholarships.

The milestone — reached in just the seventh year of the Match Play Challenge — comes at a time when the skyrocketing cost of college tuition has young caddies nationwide applying for the Evans Scholarship in record numbers. The commitment and generosity of the Evans Scholars Program’s supporters has allowed the Foundation to meet this rising need.

“We are extremely grateful to our donors, whose extraordinary generosity has made this milestone possible,” said David Robinson, WGA Chairman. “The success of this annual campaign means we can commit to a bold plan for the future of the Evans Scholars Foundation.”

Developed with the leadership of WGA Director Mike Keiser in 2011, the Match Play Challenge is the major gifts component of the annual Par Club fundraising campaign. Each year, a group of Match Play Partners make gifts of $50,000 and greater. These gifts are pooled and used to match the gifts of $2,500 and greater the Foundation receives.

The generosity of Match Play Partners has inspired thousands of donors from coast to coast to support youth caddies. Since 2011, the Match Play Challenge has generated more than 300 gifts of $50,000 and greater and more than 5,750 gifts of $2,500 and greater.

These major gifts have positioned the Foundation to set aggressive goals for the near future. In addition to increasing the number of Evans Scholars in school from the record 935 enrolled during the 2016-17 academic year to 1,000 by the year 2020, the Foundation is working to establish the Evans Scholars Program at additional universities coast to coast.

At the same time, it is increasing living capacity at its Scholarship Houses to provide all Evans Scholars with the benefits of community living. That means establishing new Scholarship Houses at some partner universities and renovating existing Houses to ensure that Evans Scholars have the ideal living and learning environment.

Finally, the Foundation is expanding its continuum of support — from caddie training programs to career mentorship — to better position itself to guide young men and women from caddie, to college, to career.

As the Match Play Challenge pushes beyond the $50 million threshold, its continued success will be critical to the Foundation’s ability to reach its goals while giving young men and women the opportunity to attend college with the support they need to thrive and succeed.

“These major gifts become more important as we see the need for the Evans Scholarship grow each year,” said Bill Kingore, Senior Vice President, Development & Strategy. “We’re proud of what we’ve accomplished through the Match Play Challenge, but we understand the great responsibility we now have to expand the Evans Scholars Program to ensure we are not leaving deserving candidates behind.”

For more information on the Match Play Challenge, please contact Bill Kingore at 224-260-3712 or kingore@wgaesf.org.

2017 Match Play Partners

Anonymous (4)
Kenneth & Jacqueline Brody
Mr. & Mrs. Dominic Curcio
Dresner Foundation
Mr. & Mrs. Eugene F. Fama
Paul Frymark & Sally Metzger
Jim & Mary Garard
Dan & Kathy Harmon
Martin P. & Julie Hughes
Mike & Lindy Keiser
King Family Foundation
Robert M. & Diane v.S. Levy
Jack & Jama Lintol
Frank & Susan Morley
Frank & Janet Nessinger
Jim O’Neill
Dan & Vicki Pawlowski
Mary Petrovich
Frank & Betsy Polizzi
Jack & Dottie Sauer
Tim Schwertfeger & Gail Waller
Elizabeth, Allan & Warren Shelden Fund
Larry & Monica Thuet
Reed & Rosemary Tupper


William Mouw wins 2017 Western Junior

Caddie Academy returns for sixth summer

Skokie hosts 2017 Western Amateur Media Day

WGA, WWGA form new partnership

More than 100 Chicagoland caddies earn Evans Scholarships

2017 Birdie Ball raises $45,000 for Evans Scholars

2017 Match Play Challenge Changes Lives of Caddies