Small in hunt for PGA spot

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HERSHEY, Pa. — Scott Erdmann birdied three of the final four holes Tuesday on Hershey Country Club’s East Course for a 2-under-par 69 and a 1-stroke lead over Sean Dougherty in the 44th PGA Professional National Championship.
Illinois men’s golf coach Mike Small, the reigning champion, carded a third-round 69 and was 5 strokes behind Erdmann in eighth place.
The top 20 players after Wednesday’s final round will earn spots in the PGA Championship Aug. 11-14 at Atlanta Athletic Club.
Erdmann, the 34-year-old assistant pro at Oswego Lake Country Club in Lake Oswego, Ore., had a 12-under 202 total. He made a downhill 25-foot birdie putt on No. 18.
Dougherty, the 32-year-old PGA head professional at Milburn Country Club in Overland Park, Kan., shot a 72, making a 30-footer for birdie on No. 18. He opened with rounds of 67 and 64 to break the tournament 36-hole scoring record set by Sam Snead in 1971.

Incoming freshmen honored.
Three future Illinois volleyball players earned All-America honors last week at the Amateur Athletic Union Junior National Championships in Orlando, Fla.
Incoming freshmen Jocelynn Birks and Morganne Criswell along with Class of 2012 commitment Alexis Viliunas were selected to the 14-player All-America team in the age 18 Open Division.
Birks and Viliunas helped lead 1st Alliance 18 Silver to a share of third place. Criswell and her Illini Elite 18 Cardinal teammates tied for fifth.

Landrus hires aide. Rodney Gust, an assistant coach at Yale the past two seasons, has joined the Illini women’s gymnastics staff in the same role.
UI head coach Kim Landrus, who announced Gust’s hiring Tuesday, said the 16-year coaching veteran will focus on the vault and floor exercise events.
At Yale, Gust coached the 2010 ECAC Gymnast of the Year and the vault school record-holder. He spent the previous 14 years coaching at the club level, primarily with Great American Gymnastics Express in Blue Springs, Mo. During that time, he helped coach two gymnasts who went on to become silver medalists at the 2004 Olympics as well as a member of the 2007 World Championships gold-medal team.
“His past experience in both the Junior Olympic program and NCAA gymnastics has provided him with a good mix of knowledge that will help us continue to reach our goals,” Landrus said. “With the talent on our team, this experience will be key in developing our athletes to reach their full potential.”

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