Illini must come from behind to win sixth straight Big Ten title
FRENCH LICK, Ind. — In winning the previous five Big Ten men’s golf championships, Illinois entered the final round holding the 54-hole lead.
If the eighth-ranked Illini are to make it six in a row, they’ll have to do so in come-from-behind fashion. After shooting a 13-over 301 during Saturday’s round at the Pete Dye Course, Mike Small’s club enters today’s round tied with Purdue for second place at 903, 7 shots behind leader Minnesota.
“It’s an opportunity to win a tournament in a different way. We’ve won it going into the final round with the lead all those years, so now it’s time to come from behind,” Small said. “But we need to play better. We need to come out as the aggressor and on top of our games, and not protecting anything.”
On a windy day, Illinois’ Charlie Danielson posted the day’s best score, firing an even-par 72. Danielson, who entered the day in seventh place, vaulted up to the No. 2 spot with a 54-hole score of 3-over 219. He’s 3 strokes behind Minnesota’s Jose Mendez.
Thomas Detry shot 77 for the Illini on Saturday, while Jonathan Hauter carded a 78, and David Kim shot 81. Brian Campbell shot 82 for Illinois, marking the first time this season his score didn’t count toward the team total.
“The wind was blowing a lot harder today than yesterday, and it affected a lot of things, but it affected all the teams; it wasn’t just us,” Small said. “It took some thought to keep the hole in front of you, to stay in play, and we hit some shots behind the pins that may have been good swings, but they weren’t good shots. And we still didn’t putt very well. That’s something we have to figure out tonight heading into tomorrow, is we’ve got to make some more putts.
“We didn’t make enough pars. We maybe got too aggressive trying to make some birdies and got flustered a little bit. It was difficult out there.”
Campbell dropped from third place at the start of the day to a tie for 14th (227). Detry (229) is tied for 20th and Hauter (230) is tied for 24th.