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Local Sports

92nd Lincoln Highway Golf Tournament makes it Shabbona debut

For the past three years, members of Indian Oaks Country Club in Shabbona competed in the Lincoln Highway Golf Tournament.

It might not seem like a lot for an event that has been played for almost a century, but it was enough to earn them a hosting gig.

The tournament brings its 92nd edition to the southern part of DeKalb County for a two-day, 54-hole event starting today.

Indian Oaks Pro Shop manager Mike Donnelly said new groundskeeper Jason Funderburg has been doing a lot of work to elevate the quality of the nine-hole course, and players taking their practice rounds have noticed.

"Hopefully, this will help bring in some business for us," Donnelly said. "People are not aware of the club or even the quality of the course itself. Once the tournament is held and people talk about the course, it will pull in some business for us because it's in as good condition as it is."

The tournament traditionally is played between members from about 10 clubs along Lincoln Highway, earning its name. Timber Creek Golf Course in Dixon won the team portion last year, which Kishwaukee won in 2012.

Mitchell Homb from Timber Creek in Dixon was the individual champion. Kishwaukee's Grant Goltz was runner-up.

This year, Kishwaukee is slated to have six golfers in the tournament – Micah Stoddard, Chuck Kaiser, Mike Mesa, Matt Chilton, Mike Brown and Dave Kaus.

A lot of players won't be back this year, Donnelly said, because many don't like playing nine-hole courses – although he said about four of the courses in the rotation are nine holes.

"Some guys don't want to play cause they think it takes too long," Donnelly said. "But it really doesn't."

In addition to a standard format to determine the winner and the team competition, the tournament also features a best-against-bogey format that awards a plus, a zero or a minus depending on the result of the hole against par. The most pluses wins that category.

"What that does is it keeps the, how do you say it, the lesser players in the game," said Bob Venier, who said he was the tournaemnt "ambassador," for lack of a better word, given the event does not have a formal director.

Venier has been playing for 23 years and is in his second in the leadership position. He referred to the tournament as an "annual friendship."

"You basically see these people once a year over this weekend," Venier said. "We're out there to compete against each other, but we always end up having a good time, too."

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