NCAA Golf News

Illini Advance to Match Play at NCAA Championship

Illini Advance to Match Play at NCAA Championship

CARLSBAD, Calif. – The Fighting Illini men’s golf team advanced to match play at the 2024 NCAA Golf Championship led by individual runner-up performances from Tyler Goecke and Max Herendeen. The Illini posted a team score of 1146 (-6), running away with first place by a 16-stroke margin after four rounds of stroke play,   

Illinois secured the No. 1 seed in the eight-team bracket that will determine the team title. The Orange and Blue will match up Tuesday in the quarterfinals against No. 8-seeded Georgia Tech, whose Hiroshi Tai edged out Goecke, Herendeen, and four other competitors by just one stroke to claim the individual championship.

Illinois’ match play berth marks the program’s ninth in the last 15 NCAA Championships since the current format was adopted in 2009, moving the Fighting Illini into a tie with Oklahoma State for the most by a single program. It is the second time the Illini have been the No. 1 seed (2015).

“We just continued our solid play all week,” head coach Mike Small said of his team’s impressive stroke play performance. “We hit a little lull in the morning due to some frustrations and agitations from a couple things. We settled back down, [the team] did a good job of that, and then they played solid through the back nine again.”

Goecke posted a 1-under 71 to climb five spots into a tie for second place with a 72-hole total of 286 (-2). Herendeen matched Goecke for the week, posting a closing round of even-par 72. Each finished the back nine 1-under including birdies on 18. Goecke also birdied 11 to offset a bogey two holes later, on No. 13. Herendeen was bogey-free over his last 11 holes and, playing in the last threesome on the course, came up just short on a chip-in attempt for eagle on 18 that would have forced a playoff with GT’s Tai.

Sophomore Ryan Voois posted the team’s lowest score in Round 4, a 3-under 69, to finish his week at even-par 288 in a tie for 11th. Voois’ performance, and top-15 finish along with Herendeen and Goecke, gave the Illini three golfers on the All-Championship Team for the second consecutive season.

Junior Jackson Buchanan posted the Illini’s fourth score of the…


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