SUGAR GROVE — The Illini men’s golf team started slowly Friday. A 21/2-hour rain delay was the culprit.
Once the team took the course in the NCAA regional, Brian Campbell took control. He opened a 6-shot lead and helped Illinois keep its second-place position after two rounds in the 14-team field.
“Brian Campbell showed why he’s the Big Ten Player of the Year,” UI coach Mike Small said. “He’s carrying us, and that’s what we needed.”
Campbell is the only player in a field of 75 with an under-par score. His 36-hole total is 139. He had six birdies and 11 pars to go with a quadruple-bogey for his second-round 70.
Illinois is chasing a second consecutive regional crown. The Illini (585) trail Alabama-Birmingham (584) by 1 shot.
Small likes Illinois’ position.
“For the most part, all the guys played solid,” he said. “We all stayed in the ballgame and didn’t get too far off the beaten path.”
Illini Thomas Detry improved his first-round score by 4 strokes and is tied for 14th with a 148. Jonathan Hauter is tied for 21st (150) after matching 75s, Charlie Danielson is tied for 25th (151) and Alex Burge is tied for 37th (155).
“This is a course where it’s important to start well, but you have to stay the course, too,” Small said. “If you get sideways a little bit, you start trying to fit shots in tight spaces to make up for the previous hole, and that’s where it explodes on you. We didn’t let bad holes really get away.”