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Tournament officials happy with North Shore Country Club

Updated: July 25, 2013 6:43AM

Chicago hasn’t had the best record when it comes to supporting the Champions Tour. But the inaugural Encompass Championship at North Shore Country Club in Glenview showed signs that might change.

‘‘This is a great spot,’’ Fred Couples said Sunday. ‘‘I love Chicago. Played as many Western Opens as I could. I hope we play here for a long time.’’

Tournament director Mike Galeski and Encompass president Tom Ealy declined to give attendance figures, but they indicated they were pleased. A good crowd was on hand to see the finish Sunday after rain dampened the turnout Friday.

North Shore will host the tournament next year under the current agreement, and it has an option for 2015. But Ealy hinted, based on the debut this year, the tournament might
become a fixture at the course.

‘‘I have every expectation that we want to stay here for a long time,’’ Ealy said.

Tournament officials hope to expand the pro-am portion of the event, which was highlighted by sports notables Brian
Urlacher and Toni Kukoc.

A key to success seems to be the location of the tournament. It is close to an area inhabited by golf enthusiasts. The course conditioning and setting also are big pluses.

‘‘The star this week is North Shore Country Club,’’ Ealy said. ‘‘We could probably toughen it up a bit, but this course has played extremely well. And the field may be the strongest we’ll see this year on the Champions Tour. It’s been fantastic.’’

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