FRENCH LICK, Ind. — The Illinois men’s golf team moved one step closer to a fifth straight Big Ten title Saturday at the Pete Dye Course.
The Illini’s chances of extending their streak of individual crowns is looking promising, too.
Led by individual leader Thomas Pieters, Illinois shot 285 in the third round to build a 7-stroke lead on runner-up Minnesota entering today’s final round.
Pieters fired a third straight 70 to grab a 7-stroke lead with a 6-under-par 210 total. The junior is attempting to succeed former Illini Luke Guthrie, who won the last two Big Ten titles, as medalist.
Illini sophomore Brian Campbell carded his second straight 70 to move into a tie for second place. UI freshman Thomas Detry also shot a 70 and was tied for ninth.
“I felt great about today’s round,” Illini coach Mike Small said. “You have three guys shoot 70 on this golf course with this wind, that’s a very promising day. And Charlie (Danielson) and Alex (Burge) played solid. ... That’s a total team effort.”
In men’s tennis:
The last Big Ten team to defeat Ohio State couldn’t pull it off again Saturday. Illinois fell to the host Buckeyes 4-0 in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament, the same event in which the Illini ended Ohio State’s 92-match conference winning streak in 2012.
The top-seeded Buckeyes captured the doubles point by winning the two completed matches. The 13th-ranked Illini duo of Ross Guignon and Tim Kopinski lost 8-2 to the 14th-ranked tandem of Peter Kobelt and Connor Smith.
Ohio State, with a singles lineup that includes five ranked players, then captured straight-set wins at Nos. 2, 5 and 6. All three of the unfinished singles matches were in the third set.
The Illini extended their winning streak to seven games with a 10-2 victory against Michigan State at East Lansing, Mich., clinching a third straight Big Ten series win.
Illinois (18-25, 8-11 Big Ten) trailed 2-0 through three innings before scoring 10 unanswered runs in the next three frames. Allie Bauch went 3 for 3 with three RBI for the Illini.
In women’s track & field:
The Illini won three relays on the final day of the Drake Relays to capture the first HyVee Cup, which is based on relay points, at Des Moines, Iowa. Illinois placed first in the 400-meter, 1,600 and sprint medley relays, setting a school record (3:45.75) in the latter. Sophomore Ashley Spencer and freshman Morolake Akinosun contributed to all three wins.
In men’s track & field:
The Illini scored 36 points in five relays and won the HyVee Cup at the Drake Relays. Illinois placed second in the 400 and 1,600 relays while finishing third in the sprint medley relay. UI junior Vanier Joseph won the 110 hurdles title while running the second-fastest time (13.59 seconds) in school history. It was Illinois’ 67th individual title in Drake history.
In women’s golf:
Michelle Mayer shot a 4-over 76 and was tied for 27th place at 154 after two rounds of the Big Ten Championships at French Lick, Ind. Illinois was 11th entering today’s final round.