MAINEVILLE, Ohio — An excellent final round was needed for the Illinois women's golf team to emerge a conference title at Sunday's Big Ten Championship.
And, with a three-stroke lead in the pocket after heavy rain washed out Saturday's second round, the Illini were able to shave four strokes off their first-round team score.
They just weren't alone in accomplishing the feat.
Ohio State surged to the top of the leaderboard Sunday, pushing Illinois into a three-way tie for runner-up with Indiana and Purdue at TPC River's Bend.
Freshman Kornkamol Sukaree, who tied two others for a share of the top individual score Friday, finished her first conference championship tied for eighth alongside fellow freshman Crystal Wang. The Illini pair carded even-par 144 overall, narrowly fitting into the top 10.
Senior Bing Singhsumalee finished one stroke behind them and tied for 11th place with six others, including junior Tristyn Nowlin.
Watson shines. Behind a career-best outing from Cyrillo Watson on the mound, Illinois snagged a 4-3 victory against Penn State in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Illinois Field.
The win gave the Illini (25-13, 6-6 Big Ten) the sweep, their first of the season against a Big Ten opponent after falling short in the finale of last weekend's series win at Minnesota.
Watson, a right-handed junior, tossed a career-high seven innings and yielded just one run after a rocky start to the first inning. Three of his five hits allowed came in the opening frame, while Watson fanned five and walked one.
Illinois provided him with the necessary support starting in the third inning, when Michael Massey's sacrifice fly to left field brought Jeff Korte in for the tying run.
Zac Taylor then led off the fourth inning with a full-count home run, the start of a three-run surge that effectively finished off the Nittany Lions (17-18, 1-13).
Despite giving up a ninth-inning home run, Parkland transfer Garrett Acton closed things out with two strikeouts to earn his 13th save of the season.
Illini swept. Illinois fell 16-5 to No. 22 Michigan in Sunday afternoon's series finale at Eichelberger Field in Urbana and was swept in a Big Ten series for the first time this season.
Veronica Ruelius' three-run homer in the first inning helped the Illini (27-17, 6-9 Big Ten) answer a five-run opening frame from the Wolverines (33-11, 15-1), but UI's offense mustered just one more run over the next six innings in the loss.
Carly Thomas finished 2 for 4 at the plate with a double, while Bella Loya and Kailee Powell tallied an RBI apiece.
In men's golf
Chopra leads. Uni High standout Varun Chopra tied for fourth as an individual at the Hawkeye Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa, leading Illinois to a second-place finish as a team Sunday.
Chopra carded 69 in the final round, following up back-to-back 67s from Saturday's opening rounds to finish 10-under 203.
Adrien Dumont de Chassart carded 8-under 205 to tie for seventh, while Bryan Baumgarten joined them in the top 10 with a ninth-place finish at 7-under 206.
In men's tennis
UI takes thriller. No. 15 Illinois picked up its 10th conference win of the season with a 4-3 victory over Wisconsin on Sunday afternoon in Madison, Wis.
The Illini seized the doubles point behind strong play from pairs Alex Brown and Aleks Kovacevic and Vuk Budic and Gui Gomes.
Kovacevic added another point with a quick singles victory, while Brown and Zeke Clark clinched the match with wins that nixed the Badgers' rally attempt.
Illinois takes a No. 2 seed into this week's Big Ten tournament in Ann Arbor, Mich., beginning Thursday.
In women's tennis
Illini upset Buckeyes. Illinois earned its first win over Ohio State since 2014 on Sunday when the Illini downed the No. 18 Buckeyes for a 4-2 victory at Atkins Tennis Center in Urbana.
The Illini soared to a pair of wins in doubles to take the first point before the Buckeyes answered with two singles triumphs.
But Illinois responded in kind, getting wins from Daniela Pedraza Novak and Mia Rabinowitz before Asuka Kawai clinched the match.