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11th Annual Steve Stricker Outing a Success

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Stricker and Small.jpgInterviews: Steve Stricker | Luke Guthrie

The Fighting Illini men's golf program hosted the 11th annual Steve Stricker Illini Classic in Champaign-Urbana on Sunday and Monday with more than 300 golf program supporters attending the gala reception and auction at the iHotel and Conference Center on Sunday and over 100 people participated in morning and afternoon tournaments at Stone Creek Golf Club in Urbana on Monday.  Headliner Steve Stricker also hosted his annual clinic on the range at Stone Creek on Monday afternoon.
DeForest NCAA 100_3679.JPGFormer Illini Chris DeForest will look to earn his PGA Tour card over the next six days, as he is competing in the final stage of PGA Tour qualifying school from Nov. 30-Dec. 5 at PGA West in LaQuinta, Calif.  The 172 total qualifiers at the final stage will play six rounds at the Nicklaus Tournament Course & TPC Stadium Course, and the Top 25 will get their PGA Tour card. Follow the action by checking out the Q-School Leaderboard and the @illinigolf Twitter account.

Senior Luke Guthrie will head to the 2011 Western Refining College All-America Golf Classic along with over two dozen of the nation's top collegiate golfers to play at the El Paso Country Club from Nov. 20-22. Guthrie is one of seven of the top 11 amateur golfers in the world traveling to the event, according to the R&A World Amateur Golf Rankings - Texas' Jordan Spieth, Washington's Chris Williams, Texas A&M's Jordan Russell, Arkansas Sebastian Cappelen, Stanford's Andrew Yun and San Diego State's J.J. Spaun. Check out what Guthrie had to say before heading to the event and find the tournament schedule below:

Sophomore Thomas Pieters earned an individual gold medal at The Spirit International Amateur Championship after carding 13 birdies at the tournament. Pieters represented his home country of Belgium at the event in Houston and tied for the top spot in the men's individual competition with the most birdies over the four rounds at Whispering Pines Golf Club. He was one of six individuals to roll in 13 birdies along with Kelly Kraft and Nathan Smith from the United States, Carlos Ortiz of Mexico, Mackenzie Hughes from Canada and South Africa's Ruan de Smidt.

Sophomore Thomas Pieters will represent his home country of Belgium at The Spirit International Amateur Golf Championship in Houston, Texas, from Nov. 2-5 at the Whispering Pines Golf Club. The event, which was established in 2001, is a world class amateur golf event featuring 20 countries from six continents. Each country is represented by their two best men and two best women players. Pieters, the 2011 Belgian National Stroke Play Champion, will play with Thomas Detry, the 2011 Belgian National Match Play Champion, at the tournament, which can be followed through a live webcast. Check out what Pieters had to say before heading to the event along with other tournament information below:

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.