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Happy 43rd birthday to former Illini star Darren Andrew “D.A.” Points, currently an active participant on the PGA Tour.

Born in Pekin in 1976 and the 1993 Class AA medalist at Pekin High School, Points originally chose to play collegiate golf at LSU. Following his sophomore season with the Tigers, the three-time Illinois Amateur champion decided to transfer to the University of Illinois and play for coach Ed Beard.

The 6-foot-1, 195-pound right-hander sparkled during his two seasons with the Illini (1998 and ’99), earning first-team All-Big Ten honors both years.

Points was the medalist at three different tournaments during his Illini career and tied for 12th place at the 1999 NCAA Tournament.

Points began competition on the PGA circuit in 2002 and has won three individual titles. His first victory was at the 2011 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am, shooting rounds of 63, 70, 71 and 67. He also won the pro-am competition that year with comedian Bill Murray. Points won more than $2 million in purses that year.

His top money-earning season came in 2013 ($2.7 million) when he won the Shell Houston Open and finished 30th in the FedEx Cup standings.

Points’ most recent victory was in 2017 at the Puerto Rico Open. He’s had 19 top-10 finishes and 54 top-25 placings. Points’ best finish in a major tournament was when he tied for 10th at the 2011 PGA Championship.

Through 18 professional seasons, his career earnings total $11.8 million.

A neck injury has limited Points to just 13 starts in 2019.

He now resides in Windermere, Fla. with his wife, Lori, and his daughter, Laila Jane.

Illini Career Stroke Average Leaders

Rank Golfer, Year … Rds. … Average

1. Charlie Danielson, 2013-16 … 141 … 71.66

2. Thomas Detry, 2013-16 … 142 … 71.72

3. Dylan Meyer, 2014-18 … 146 … 71.7

4. Nick Hardy, 2014-18 … 149 … 71.90

5. Luke Guthrie, 2009-12 … 138 … 72.08

6. Michael Feagles, 2016-Pres. … 111 … 72.1

7. Brian Campbell, 2012-15 … 133 … 72.2

8. Thomas Pieters, 2011-13 … 104 … 72.35

9. Scott Langley, 2008-11 … 166 … 72.5

10. D.A. Points, 1997-99 … 79 … 72.57

Illini Birthdays

Sunday: Jacqueline Quade, volleyball (22)

Monday: Brannon “Boo” Champagne, baseball (55)

Tuesday: Jarrod “Chunky” Clements, football (25)

Wednesday: Cory Bradford, basketball (41)

Thursday: Dwight Beverly, football (58)

Friday: Asher Hirsch, tennis (23)

Saturday: Walter Young, football (40)

By Mike Pearson, author of Illini Legends, Lists & Lore (Third Edition now available in stores). Get more Illini birthdays, trivia and historical tidbits daily on Twitter @IlliniLegends and @B1GLLL. His website is www.SportsLLL.com.

Colin Likas is prep sports coordinator at The News-Gazette. His email is clikas@news-gazette.com, and you can follow him on Twitter (@clikasNG).