Coach 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:
First Federal Savings Bank of Champaign-Urbana
GTPS Insurance Agency
First Site, Ltd.
Northwestern Mutual McClure Financial Group
Brian McClure & Justin Kirby
Orange and Blue Distributing
R & S RV Sales and Service
Workhorse A Navistar Company
Event and Hole Sponsors
Augie Tonne and Illini Evans Scholars
Beniach Construction Co.
The Chicago Group at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney
Central Illinois Arby's
Cozad Asset Management, Inc.
Dave, Brook, Andy and Parker Keeling
Dick and Maggie Martin
Jack and Mark Everette
Kaufmann Sports Management
Martin, Hood, Friese and Associates, LLC
Meier Oil Service
Meyer Capel Law Firm
R&S RV Sales and Service
Shiner Capital Partners
Wadsworth Golf Construction Company
Wampler Property Management, LLC