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6th Annual Illinois PGA Birdies for Charity Sets Record

by Claire Hillman

The 6th Annual Birdies for Charity fundraiser took place on Tuesday, September 6, 2016, at River Forest C.C. in Elmhurst, Ill. Thirty-four Illinois PGA Professionals participated in this sixth installment of the charitable fundraiser in which Illinois PGA Professionals gather both one-time donations and pledges per birdie tallied throughout 72 holes of golf played in one day. The beneficiaries of the 6th Annual Birdies for Charity were Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF) – Illinois Chapter, Ronald McDonald House Charities of Chicagoland & Northwest Indiana, Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the Illinois PGA Foundation.

The tremendous fundraising growth of prior years was no match for this year’s all-time record of $232,000 raised through the generosity of donors. Just over $58,000 will be donated to each of the four deserving charities. A total of 661 birdies and 12 eagles were made by the participating professionals. Jim Billiter, PGA, assistant golf professional at the Merit Club in Gurnee, Ill., earned the title of top fundraiser for the second year running, with the help of a hole in one made on the third hole. Billiter’s 28 birdies accrued almost $35,000 of the final total. Travis Johns, PGA, of Medinah C.C. and Brian Carroll, PGA, of Royal Hawk C.C., both raised over $11,000 by making 30 and 28 birdies, respectively. The top earners of the day, in addition to Billiter, were Chris Gumbach (River Forest C.C.) with $17,000, Andrew Adamsick (Conway Farms G.C.) with $15,000, and Garrett Chaussard (Chicago Highlands Club) with almost $12,000 raised.

First-time Birdies for Charity fundraiser Andrew Adamsick was impressed by the support he found from his own membership at Conway Farms G.C. when he saw his total posted.

“Being that it was my first year playing, I didn't really have an idea of how the day would go, but I had an absolute blast playing! I was very motivated by the enormous generosity of our members at Conway Farms. I felt it was a great opportunity to raise money for four great local charities. And to do so by playing golf was even better. I would highly recommend this event to my fellow PGA professionals, and I look forward to seeing how the event grows in the future.”

As in years past, the membership of River Forest C.C. was generous in not only allowing the fundraiser to take place at their club but also coming out in the heat – the heat index topped 107 degrees during the 72-hole round - to watch and support all of the professionals. River Forest Country Club’s head PGA professional Chris Gumbach was thrilled to both host Birdies for Charity for the sixth time, and to see his members come out to support the event in person.

Thanks to all the Illinois PGA Professionals who took the time to raise funds and awareness for such outstanding organizations. Those professionals are: Andrew Adamsick (Conway Farms G.C.), Scott Baines (Bryn Mawr C.C.), Jim Billiter (Merit Club), Casey Brozek (Crystal Lake C.C.), Frank Bruno (Oak Park C.C.), Brian Carroll (Royal Fox C.C.), Garrett Chaussard (Chicago Highlands Club), Nick Cuca (Exmoor C.C.), Marty DeAngelo (Medinah C.C.), Rich Dukelow (Medinah C.C.), Brian Groszek (Royal Fox C.C.), Chris Gumbach (River Forest C.C.), Eric Hoff (Bryn Mawr C.C.), Frank Hohenadel (Westmoreland C.C.), Mike Holub (Greg Norman Collection), Chad Johansen (Blackberry Oaks G.C.), Travis Johns (Medinah C.C.), Mark Labiak (Ruth Lake C.C.), Curtis Malm (White Eagle G.C.), Harper Jones (Butterfield C.C.), Jim Miller (Bloomington C.C.), Steve Orrick, Jr. (C.C. of Decatur), David Paeglow (Kishwakee C.C.), Jeff Pajula (Stonewall Orchard G.C.), Ryan Peavey (Oak Park C.C.), Andy Phelan (Wynstone G.C.), Mike Picciano (Bull Valley G.C.), Kevin Rafferty (Dick’s Sporting Goods), Aaron Sabers (Youche Country Club), Adam Schumacher (Indian Hill Club), Andy Shuman (Twin Orchard C.C.), Alex Spencer (Conway Farms G.C.), Rob Sweno (Boone Creek Golf Club), and Brian Williams (Westmoreland C.C.).

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