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Edgewood looks for more home cooking

61st Illinois Valley Women’s Golf Invitational

Carol Towne
Defending IVWGI champion
Carol Towne Defending IVWGI champion

Some home cooking is in store for the 61st annual Illinois Valley Women’s Golf Invitational Sunday, Aug. 11, at Edgewood Park Golf Club in McNabb.

Edgewood has hosted the area’s showcase event four times in the past 23 years and all four times they have won, most recently in 2013. The Edgewood ladies have also defended their home course in 1996, 2002 and 2007.

So will that trend continue this time around?

“It would be good if we did this time, too,” Edgewood’s Connie Casford said.

Edgewood, however, will not have its old stalwarts Carol Balconi and Penny Derick, who came out of retirement to help it win the 2013 title. They have five combined individual titles between them.

“We tried really hard to get them,” Casford said with a laugh. “It puts a little more pressure on the remainder group who’s playing.”

The home course suited Wyaton Hills just fine last year when it captured the IVWGI crown, led by individual champ Carol Towne.

Two-time champ Cheri Russell of Morris will be in the hunt once again. Other top contenders figure to be Sophia Suarez of Wyaton Hills, Mary Scheri of Spring Creek, Terry Folmar of Deer Park, Shelley Felske and Karen Wiersema of Prophet Hills, and newcomer Kelli Kennedy of Edgewood.

Last year’s runner-up, Aiko Mendoza of Spring Creek, has not signed up.

Participating clubs include Edgewood, Green River, Morris, Prophet Hills, Deer Park, Spring Creek and Wyaton Hills.

• New year, new champ: Including Towne, there have been different individual winners in each of the past eight years. Former pro Carrie Riordan, who had won three straight prior from 2007-09, rejoined the field to win on her home course at Spring Creek in 2011.

She has been followed by Katie Farrell of the former Hunter’s Ridge in 2012, Carol Balconi of Edgewood at Edgewood in 2013, Tammy Howlett of Green River on her home course in 2014, Michelle Schmidt of Spring Creek in 2015, Cheri Russell of Morris, who won her second title in 2016, and Cathy Verhulst of Prophet Hills at Prophet Hills in 2017.

There has also been a new team champion in six of the past seven years. Prophet Hills won the team title in its first two years in the field in 2016 and 2017 before giving way to the Wyaton women last year. Other recent team champions include Oak Ridge (2012), Edgewood (2013), Green River (2014) and Spring Creek (2015).

• Remembering Mary: There will be a special remembrance of Mary Dagraedt, the matriarch of the women’s tournament, who passed away July 1 from complications of a stroke. She helped to found the event in 1958.

Casford said she will especially miss having Dagraedt on hand this year to make any necessary rules as she was so adept at.

There will also be a Celebration of Life for Dagraedt from 3 to 6 p.m. Aug. 18 at Spring Creek Golf Course. The theme of the night will be “Forever in our hearts and forever in our golf game.”

• Chip shots: Interested golfers may still sign up to play. Entry fee is $55, which includes a practice round and tournament green fees, tournament cart fee and lunch. Checks made payable to Edgewood Park may be mailed to Edgewood Park/IVWGI, 3269 IL Highway 89, McNabb, IL 61355. Call Casford at 815-882-2317 . ... Look for tee times in Saturday’s BCR and online at

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