KETTERING, Ohio – The Fighting Illini men’s golf team fought back from a slow start in the opening round of the Flyer Invitational, posting a sterling Round 2 team score to move into a share of the 36-hole lead heading into Tuesday’s finale at NCR Country Club.
The Illini carded a 4-over 288 in Round 1, but improved by 17 strokes as play continued into Round 2 where the Orange and Blue posted a 13-under 271 – a season-low team score – to storm back into a tie with Marquette atop the team standings at 9-under.
Illinois’ fifth-year senior Timmy Crawford, competing this week as an individual, also sits atop the player leaderboard with a seven-stroke edge. Crawford, whose scores do not count toward the Illini team total, posted impressive rounds of 64 and 66 to pace the field at 130 (-12). Crawford’s opening 64 marked a career-low for the fifth-year senior whose previous best effort in his collegiate career was a 66 carded as a junior at Loyola Chicago during the 2021-22 season.
Behind Crawford, five other Illini posted top-20 scores on Day 1. Junior Jackson Buchanan is tied with freshman Ethan Hunt for fifth place with a 36-hole score of 137 (-5). Buchanan, fresh off his win last week at the Boilermaker Invitational, mirrored the Illini’s improvement from Round 1 to Round 2 by following his opening 72 with a 6-under 65. Wilson, also competing as an individual, matched Buchanan’s scores in each round, and was bogey-free in Round 2 to secure his first round in the 60s in his third collegiate event.
Sophomore Ryan Voois and fifth-year senior Tyler Goecke are T12 and T14, respectively. Each posted a pair of scoring tallies for the Illini on Monday, with Voois shooting 72-68 for a 2-under 140 and Goecke finishing the day at 141 (-1) with rounds of 70 and 71.
Fifth-year senior Jerry Ji and freshman Max Herendeen provided the Illini’s fourth score in the first and second rounds, respectively. Herendeen, who entered the week as Illinois’ leader with a stroke average of 69.88, bounced back from an opening 75 to shoot a 67 in Round 2 and move into a tie for 20th. It marked his fourth round in the 60s in as many collegiate tournaments to open his career. Ji shot 74-76 and is tied for 53rd with 18 holes to play.
Illinois and Marquette hold a three-stroke edge over third-place Wright State and a six-stroke cushion…