NCAA Golf News

Illini Tied for Fourth After Round 1 at Big Ten Championship

Illini Tied for Fourth After Round 1 at Big Ten Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 18th-ranked and top-seeded Fighting Illini men’s golf team is tied for fourth place in the 14-team field after the opening round of the 2024 Big Ten Championship at Scioto Country Club.

Illinois’ Round 1 team score of 290 (+10) puts the Orange and Blue 10 strokes off the pace set by Northwestern (even-par 280) with 36 holes to play. The Fighting Illini are competing for their ninth consecutive conference title, their 14th in the last 15 league championships dating back to the 2008-09 season, and the program’s 21st Big Ten crown overall.

With 10 teams within 15 strokes of the lead in the tightly contested race, the Fighting Illini hovered near the top of the team and individual leaderboards throughout Round 1. But the team slipped down the stretch with its four scoring golfers combining to shoot +8 over the final five holes.

“We didn’t finish, but the end of this golf course is difficult,” head coach Mike Small said. “We closed on the tough side, but I thought that we played OK for most of the day. We didn’t have a lot of offensive power, and at the end of the day we didn’t have a lot of defense – our short game; we wasted some shots through course management and some loose shots.

“It wasn’t the day we wanted, but there is a lot of golf left to play, and we need to come out and be a little more mature as a team. I think this golf course will submit itself to a mature team that takes its time and plays the right way, and for young teams that get impatient and don’t show a lot of resiliency, it can beat them up over time.”

Individually, the Illini were led by a pair of top-15 performances from junior Jackson Buchanan (71) and sophomore Ryan Voois (72) who are tied for eighth and 14th, respectively.

Buchanan recorded a team-most four birdies and held the early lead in the individual race at 2-under through 15 holes. However, a bogey on 16 and a double-bogey on 18 moved him to 1-over, four shots behind Round 1 leader August Meekhof (-1) of Michigan State.

Voois opened his day with a double-bogey on No. 1 and made the turn at even-par after an eagle on No. 6, one of just four recorded in Round 1. A birdie on No. 15 helped…


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