BATH, Mich. – The Fighting Illini men’s golf team secured its place in the 2023 NCAA Championship on Wednesday, making a strong push to challenge for the team title early in Round 3 before finishing second in the race for five advancing team spots at Eagle Eye Golf Club.
Illinois entered the day 10 shots behind Georgia and cut the Bulldogs’ lead to two strokes halfway through the round. However, some lapses on the back nine brought the Orange and Blue’s surging scoring back to the pack and gave UGA the breathing room needed to hold on for the win.
Once again, the Illini were led by their trio of fifth-year seniors as Adrien Dumont de Chassart finished tied for second, while Tommy Kuhl and Mattis Besard each grabbed a share of eighth place to make the Illini the only program with three top-10 finishers in the regional.
Dumont De Chassart’s runner-up finish marked fourth of the season for the three-time Big Ten Golfer of the Year. After sitting at even-par through 13 holes, he birdied 14, 15 and 17 coming down the stretch to finish the day at 3-under and move to 7-under for the week.
Kuhl and Besard finished their final rounds at even-par and 1-over, respectively, to close out the week with 54-hole totals of 208 (-5). Junior Piercen Hunt rounded out scoring for the Illini in Round 3, posting a 1-under 71 to tie for 18th at 211 (-2), and sophomore Jackson Buchanan carded a closing 75 to finish with a 218 (+5).
The Illini return to the NCAA Championship after narrowly missing out at last year’s New Haven Regional. The team has now advanced to 16 NCAA Championships in the Mike Small era (since 2000-01), including 14 of 15 since 2008.
Also advancing along with the No. 34-ranked Bulldogs (823) and No. 3 Illini (831), are No. 22 Oregon (838), No. 10 Florida (840) and No. 15 Texas (-10). Kansas State’s Luke O’Neill, who tied Dumont de Chassart for second, also advanced as an individual competitor.
Next up, the Illini will begin preparation for the 2023 NCAA Championship, taking place May 26-31 for the third consecutive season at the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz.
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