Top of the Morning, June 11, 2019

 

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The baseball he used to finish his no-hitter against Wisconsin in 1961 will soon have company in a cabinet at former Illini great DOUG MILLS' home in Peoria.

The 79-year-old recorded his first hole-in-one last Tuesday, acing No. 3 at the Champaign Country Club. The pro shop will return the golf ball as part of a plaque in the coming days.

"Seventy years of golf and it's my first one," he said. "These things don't happen often."

Mills, the UI's athlete of the Year in 1962, was a three-sport letterwinner and a star in baseball, finishing 18-1 and twice earning All-Big Ten honors. His no-hitter is one of 10 in school history.

His baseball background helped him make personal history. With wind blowing in his face, he grabbed a 7-iron to approach the 117-yard par 3. Then, just before teeing off, the gusts stopped. Instead of changing clubs, "I choked up, like you do when you have two strikes," he said. "It bounced a couple times and went in."

Finally.

"I've hit the pin, I've missed by an inch," he said. "How many rounds of golf I've played without (a hole-in-one), I have no idea."

At news-gazette.com

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