CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The University of Illinois men’s golf program is set to return to action early next week, as the team prepares to open its 2024 spring schedule that features six regular-season tournaments – plus a marquee exhibition matchup vs. Texas – leading into the 2024 Big Ten and NCAA regional and championship tournaments.
— Illinois Men’s Golf (@IlliniMGolf) January 25, 2024
Head coach Mike Small‘s team is once again coming off of a successful fall campaign with its sights set on maintaining the program’s championship standard. The team, currently ranked No. 20 in the NCAA Division-I team rankings, posted a head-to-head record of 38-12-1 in stroke-play events during the fall portion of the schedule, highlighted by a team win at the Sahalee Players Championship.
The Illini also finished in the top 10 against an elite field at the team’s OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational, before back-to-back top-5 finishes at the Purdue Fall Classic (3rd) and the Dayton Flyer Invitational (2nd). The Illini closed their fall schedule by posting a 1-1-1 mark in match play action at the prestigious Cypress Point Classic.
Individually, the Illini combined for five top-5 finishes. Junior Jackson Buchanan collected two of the team’s top-5s, tying for first at the Purdue Fall Classic and finishing T5 at the Sahalee Players Championship, where freshman Max Herendeen finished as runner-up in his collegiate debut. Fifth-year Timmy Crawford joined Buchanan as a tournament winner, playing as an individual competitor to earn the top spot at the Dayton Flyer Invitational, just ahead of sophomore Ryan Voois, who led the Illini’s scoring lineup with a T4 showing.
Herendeen (15), Crawford (46) and Buchanan (48) give the Illini three competitors ranked inside the top 50 of the NCAA Division-I men’s individual rankings. Illinois enters the spring as one of four programs nationally with three golfers ranked in the top 50.
The spring schedule officially opens Feb. 12-13, at the Hal Williams Collegiate, hosted by South Alabama at Magnolia Grove Country Club’s Crossings Course in Mobile, Ala. The Illini have competed in the event in each of the last four seasons, securing team wins in 2021 and 2023.
Illinois closes the month, for the third straight…