Illini close in on match-play goal

Illini close in on match-play goal

MILTON, Ga. — During the Illini’s late-season push, coach Mike Small often credited his golf team’s mental toughness.

He was at it again Wednesday at the NCAA Championships at Capital City Club.

“This course is hard,” Small said. “It wears on you and it’s hard to play well here for three, four, five days in a row. So you’re going to have days where you’re going to have to fight through some down times.

“I told the guys after the round that that was a huge statement to come back, persevere through those down times and finish on a strong note.”

Through 36 holes, the Illini are tied for fifth place. After today’s round, the top eight teams will advance to match play. Illinois, which shot 1 over Wednesday, leads ninth-place Central Florida by 4 strokes.

“You just have to pick your spots and not compound your problems,” Small said. “For the most part, to shoot 1-over like we did today is pretty good.”

UI freshman Charlie Danielson shot a 4-under 66 to vault to a ninth-place tie with the Illini’s Thomas Pieters (68), the defending NCAA champ. 

Sections (3):Illini Sports, Golf, Sports