NCAA Golf News

Strong Round 2 Keeps Illini in Position at NCAA Championship

Strong Round 2 Keeps Illini in Position at NCAA Championship

CARLSBAD, Calif. – The No. 11-seeded Fighting Illini men’s golf team carded Saturday’s second-lowest team score, a 1-under 287, during Round 2 of the NCAA Championship at Omni La Costa Resort & Spa. The effort moved the Orange and Blue three spots up the leaderboard into second place – three shots behind 36-hole leader Virginia – with a cut down to 15 teams on the horizon after Sunday’s third round.

“It was a solid round,” head coach Mike Small said. “There’s not a coach here that would be unhappy with that. It was just a solid day.”

The Illini’s outing capitalized on favorable morning conditions. Though they teed off on No. 10 and faced the hardest part of the course early on, the team battled to a combined team score of 3-over on the back nine before making the turn and shooting 4-under on Holes 1-9.

“This is what you want,” Small said of his team’s start through 36 holes. “You want to play from strength and set the tone for the week early, and not wait.”

Three Illini sit inside the top 25, paced by freshman Max Herendeen who followed his opening 73 with a 2-under 70 in Round 2. He is 1-under for the weekend and enters Round 3 tied for fourth.

Herendeen was even at the turn with two birdies and two bogeys over his first eight holes. A bogey on No. 1 pushed him to 1-over after 10. But a birdie on No. 2 jump-started a 3-under finish – including two more birdies on Nos. 7 and 9 – which vaulted him 21 spots up the individual leaderboard.

“Max started off strong. As a young player, he ran into a little trouble mid-round and he became frustrated and started to run a little hot,” Small said. “But he made birdie on No. 2 after a really strong recovery shot, which got him recalibrated and back into it. Then he played strong from there. He finished off his round in style.”

Behind Herendeen, fifth-year senior Tyler Goecke and sophomore Ryan Voois are tied for 22nd at 146 (+2). Voois posted an even-par 72 to jump 19 spots up the leaderboard, while Goecke’s second round of 73 (+1) in as many days helped him move up three places.

Junior Jackson Buchanan also climbed the standings on Saturday to round out the scoring for the Illini with an…


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