NCAA Golf News

Late Push Not Enough for No. 16 Illini in Final Round at The Johnnie-O

Late Push Not Enough for No. 16 Illini in Final Round at The Johnnie-O

ST. SIMONS ISLAND, Ga. – The 16th-ranked Illinois men’s golf team closed out play at The Johnnie-O at Sea Island on Tuesday, but the Illini were unable to find the consistency needed to move up the leaderboard in Round 3. 

Instead, despite a late push that saw the four Illini scorers shoot 11-under over the final five holes, the team’s slow start was too much to overcome, and the Orange and Blue slid two spots to finish eighth in the 14-team field at Sea Island Resort’s Plantation Course.

“It was a tough week, and we’ve got some work to do,” head coach Mike Small said. “We were never in the tournament from the first hole on the first day. I thought that we would rally back today and play a solid final round, but we didn’t even come close. This was the worst representation of the way to play ‘Illini golf’ that I’ve seen from our team in a lot of years, and it has to improve.”

Illinois closed with a team score of 290 (+2), the fourth lowest of the day and the team’s lowest of the three-round event after carding scores of 282 and 288 in Rounds 1 and 2, respectively. Overall, the Illini finished 4-under with a 54-hole total of 860, six shots outside of the top 5. No. 41 Notre Dame (832) ran away with the team title by 10 strokes over No. 19 Texas (842). Michigan State was a close third, one shot off the Longhorns’ pace.

Max Herendeen was the lone Illini to shoot under par in Round 3. The freshman bounced back in a big way after posting an 8 on the Par-4 fifth hole. A birdie on No. 8 jump-started a stretch in which Herendeen shot 6-under over his final 11 holes – including an eagle on No. 14. His 2-under 70 was enough to ascend three spots on the leaderboard where he finished tied for 26th with junior Jackson Buchanan. Buchanan was 2-over at the turn and 4-over after 12 holes in Round 3, before a stretch of three straight birdies on Nos. 14, 15, and 16, helped him close with a 1-over 73 to match Herendeen’s three-round total of 215 (-1).

Fifth-year Tyler Goecke tied for 14th to place as the Illini’s top finisher for the second straight tournament. Goecke entered the day seventh but was 3-over at the turn and 4-over through 11 holes before…


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