Golf's Big Ten title streak ends
FRENCH LICK, Ind. — The Illinois men’s golf team had won every Big Ten title since 2009.
But in 2014, Minnesota emerged with the team championship, and Mike Small’s Illini found themselves four shots back in second place.
“We rallied early and played pretty good golf for most of the day,” Small said. “Congratulations to Minnesota. They played great, (and) they didn’t open any cracks for us to sneak into.”
Illinois carded a 1-under-par 287 during Sunday’s final round, but it wasn’t enough to make up any ground on the Golden Gophers.
The Illini tied Minnesota after Jonathan Hauter made a par at the par-3, 16th hole at Pete Dye Course, but three bogeys and a double bogey down the stretch hurt Illinois.
“We didn’t have our best all week,” Small said, “but we competed really well for the most part; just lost it a little bit at the end.”
Illini Charlie Danielson had it going nearly all weekend. He shot a 2-under-par 70 on Sunday, and shared medalist honors with Minnesota’s Jose Mendez. He joins recent Illinois graduates Thomas Pieters (2013) and Luke Guthrie (2011-12) as Big Ten medalists.
“It’s something he’s going to have the rest of his life,” Small said. “He works harder than anybody else on our team and he deserves this.”