BY PAUL HINES
MT. VERNON —
A myriad of golfers will descend on the city for a golf championship this weekend.
Green Hills Golf Club in Mt. Vernon will once again play host to the Southern Illinois Golf Association Championship. Green Hills last hosted the regional event in 2010, and Mt. Vernon's Tom Portner took away the title. Portner has won the championship three times.
“Normally we get it about every fourth year,” Course owner Tom Williams said. “Sometimes it's three. Sometimes it's five, but normally it's every four years.”
Williams said having the championship in Mt. Vernon is an exciting thing for the city. About 80 golfers in several different division participated in the championship a year ago, and Jeff Miller won the mens title. Williams said he expected a similar amount of golfers this season in Mt. Vernon.
“Mt. Vernon has been fortunate to host it,: Williams said. “They're one of the original clubs that has been hosting it since I was a young boy long before I owned the club. It's an honor to host it. It brings together the best players in southern Illinois.”
This will be the 89th championship, and Williams added the tradition is strong.
“The heritage is that the best players usually always come in and play in this event,” Williams said. “And they usually hold it at the four or five best golf course in southern Illinois.”
The course is about 6,700 yards, and Williams said with the amount of rain recently it plays a bit longer. Success starts with consistently hitting the fairways.
“But still getting it in the hole and getting around in a couple under par in a couple days in a row is not as easy as it sounds,” the owner said.
Golfers will tee off Saturday morning with the event concluding on Sunday.