NCAA Golf News

Illini Third Heading Into Final Round at B1G Championship

Illini Third Heading Into Final Round at B1G Championship

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The No. 18 Illinois men’s golf team battled windy conditions to card the day’s third-lowest team score, a 16-over 296, during Round 2 at Scioto Country Club on Saturday, climbing one spot into third place in the chase for the Big Ten Championship.

The Fighting Illini overtook Purdue and remain behind 36-hole leader Northwestern and second-place Michigan State in the team standings. However, the Illini slipped two more strokes off the title pace, with the Spartans and Wildcats carding rounds of 291 (+11) and 294 (+14), respectively, to separate slightly from the Orange and Blue.

Illinois heads into Sunday’s final round needing to overcome a 12-stroke deficit in the search for the program’s ninth consecutive conference title, 14th in the last 15 league championships dating back to the 2008-09 season, and the team’s 21st Big Ten crown overall.

“We’ve got to be on point tomorrow,” head coach Mike Small said. “All five guys have to play well and play solid, and we can’t have the unforced errors that we’ve had. We’re not in a position to be sloppy. We’ve got to come out and play from strength.”

“We have come back from these deficits before in this tournament. We need to have a solid day from everyone in the lineup and play good golf tomorrow to have a chance. We put ourselves in this position by some loose back nines; today we almost had a good back nine finish, but we couldn’t get everybody to contribute. We just need to have a solid day from start to finish tomorrow.”

The Fighting Illini were led, for the second straight day, by junior Jackson Buchanan who ascended five spots into a tie for third place in the individual race. Despite the windy conditions, Buchanan matched his Round 1 total of 71 (+1) and is two strokes behind Michigan State’s Ashton McCulloch at 142 (+2) heading into Round 3.

Behind Buchanan, two other Illini – senior Piercen Hunt and freshman Max Herendeen – also matched their Round 1 scores to make big moves up the leaderboard in Round 2. Hunt climbed 10 spots, using a bogey-free back nine to move into a tie for 13th at 146 (+6). Herendeen, at 148 (+8), is tied for 18th after moving up 14…


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