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    Stricker Classic Reception at Olympia Fields

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    Gala-Reception_8188.jpgThe 10th Annual Steve Stricker Illini Golf Classic kicked off the festivities with the Welcoming Gala Reception and Auction on Sunday night at the Olympia Fields Country Club. The event included a live and silent auction benefitting the Illinois men's golf program and four special guests highlighted the evening: PGA professional and Illini alum Steve Stricker, head coach Mike Small, new Illinois Athletic Director Mike Thomas and ESPN color commentator and former Flyin' Illini member Stephen Bardo, who served as the emcee. Be sure to check out the full PHOTO GALLERY from the event.

    To begin the night, Bardo welcomed Thomas to the stage to a big applause from the crowd. The new AD, who will begin his tenure at Illinois a week from Monday on Aug. 29, talked about the recent success of the Illini program (the team's three Big Ten trophies were on display) and his high aspirations for the squad's future. He also joked about needing to get some pointers on his swing from coach Small once he gets to campus.

    Small-Stricker_8249.jpgCoach Small then addressed the crowd and thanked all the program's loyal supporters before introducing Stricker on stage. Small rattled off Stricker's numerous accolades from his time at Illinois and recapped his recent success on the PGA Tour. Stricker, who is the No. 3 ranked player in the World, tied a major championship record with a 63 on the first day of the PGA Championships and tied for 12th overall. He also won his third straight John Deere Classic in thrilling fashion.

    Once Stricker took to the podium, he made sure to mention how Small was honored as the top club pro at the PGA Championships for the second time in his career. Stricker then talked about his time at Illinois and on the PGA tour and answered some questions from the crowd. When asked about how he hit this bunker shot to set-up his John Deere Classic victory, he joked he just closed his eyes and swung. After Stricker finished on stage, the live auction closed out the night, where the top item (9 Holes with Steve Stricker) went for $18,000.

    The golf portion of the event takes place on Monday at the Olympia Fields Country Club, which is where the current Illini squad will host its fall tournament in a few weeks. Take a look at the Illini's fall schedule now up online to get ready for the season.

    The Illinois men's golf program would like to give special thanks to all of its sponsors and the management and staff of Olympia Fields Country Club, who made the event a success:

    Presenting Sponsors

    First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana

    GTPS Insurance Agency

    Corporate Sponsors

    First Site, Ltd.
    Jeff Tinervin

    Miller Coors
    Allen Everette

    Northwestern Mutual McClure Financial Group
    Brian McClure & Justin Kirby

    Orange and Blue Distributing
    Allen Everette

    R & S RV Sales and Service
    Gary Robinson

    Workhorse A Navistar Company
    Dan Cutter

    Event and Hole Sponsors

    Art Wyatt

    A&R Mechanical
    Neil Asklund

    Augie Tonne and Illini Evans Scholars

    Beniach Construction Co.
    Joe Beniach

    Bill Rueling

    The Chicago Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
    William Lenz

    Central Illinois Arby's
    Jerry Myerscough

    Cozad Asset Management, Inc.
    Greg Cozad

    Dave, Brook, Andy and Parker Keeling

    Dick and Maggie Martin

    Jack and Mark Everette

    Kaufmann Sports Management
    Tom Kaufmann

    Martin, Hood, Friese and Associates, LLC
    Kim Martin

    Meier Oil Service
    Mike Meier

    Meyer Capel Law Firm
    Jerry Jahn

    R&S RV Sales and Service
    Gary Robinson

    Sentient Jet
    Shawn Colgan

    Shiner Capital Partners
    Bill Shiner

    Signature Homes
    Bill Peifer

    Super Pantry
    Jon Stewart

    Wadsworth Golf Construction Company
    Brent Wadsworth

    Wampler Property Management, LLC
    Jeff Wampler

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