OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill.— The No. 11 Fighting Illini men’s golf team made a strong push in Sunday’s final round at Olympia Fields Country Club to contend for the teams title. However, despite two top five individual finishes from seniors in year five Adrien Dumont de Chassart (T-2nd) and Thomas Kuehl (5th) Orange and Blue failed to fully overcome a late second lap faint and finished the race in a tie in second place behind 15th– Rank Stanford.
“Well it’s a tough end to a solid tournament,” said the head coach mike small said. “To finish in this field and finish second is a solid week. But we were really capable of winning that thing and I think we lost our momentum yesterday afternoon which was a big deficit to overcome. We did it and had the lead with nine holes to go; we played pretty well, but the same thing happened as yesterday and we just couldn’t close it.
As a team, the Illini stormed out of the gate to open Sunday’s final round, with the five-man lineup combining to shoot 3-under on the front nine and 5-under through the front 11 holes. The result was that the Illini temporarily regained the lead as the final pairings turned the tide.
From that point on, however, the team was 10-over, allowing Stanford to complete the 12-stroke win with a 54-hole total of 831 (-9). Third-ranked Florida finished with the second-lowest round of the day to tie the Illini for the tournament at 843 (+3). Arizona State No. 5 slipped a shot behind the Illini and Gators in fourth while (RV) Alabama was a distant fifth with 850 (+10).
“We were beaten at our own game this week,” Small added. “We pride ourselves on playing solid golf and not making unforced errors, and Stanford did that today. We and Arizona State faltered towards the end, and the tough golf course got us. We have to figure out individually and as a team how we can get through some adversity, through some nervousness, and finish these tournaments.
“The first round was as good as it gets and today for the first 11 or 12 holes it was as good as anyone in the country. The potential is there but we need to clean up and be able to play all 54 holes.”
Dumont de Chassart, who was leading after Rounds 1 and 2, slipped down one place in the individual rankings with a final 72 for a three-round total of 204 (-6). Florida’s Ricky Castillo moved up two places and carded three straight rounds of 68 to tie Dumont de Chassart for second place. However, neither could catch the Cardinal’s Michael Thorbjornsen, who finished with a 66 from sixth place and secured the one-shot victory.
“For a player who shoots 66 to come back and hit Adrien… I know you can’t defend. Sometimes someone just comes and hits you,” Small said. “I know Adrien still has a few wins ahead of him. I think he’s going to win a couple of times this year. But you can’t defend, so hats off to Stanford’s Michael Thorbjornsen. Overall though, two top 5 individual finishes are good. We just need to keep working on that depth throughout the lineup.
Kuhl’s fifth finish was a career best at OFCC, while his 206 (-4) was a career-best 54-hole record for the Morton, Illinois native.
behind cool, Matthew Besard was the only Illini to tie for 26th on his debut with the Ilini. Besard, who opened Friday with a 69, bounced back from a 6-over shoot in round 2 with a final round of 70 par and 215 (+5). Junior piercing hunt Tie for 43approx in the 78-player field at 219 (+9), a sophomore Jackson Buchanan bound for 50th at 221 (+11). senior citizens Jerry Ji (226) and Nico Lang (229) were also in action, competed as lone fighters and ended with the same number of points with 68th and ties for 72ndrespectively.
The Illini travel to Grand Haven, Michigan to attend the Folds of Honor Collegiate hosted by Michigan State and the GCAA at American Dunes Golf Club September 26-28. This new event features a panel of 18 programs with proceeds benefiting Folds of Honor, a nonprofit organization that provides educational scholarships to spouses and children of military personnel who have been killed or disabled while serving in the United States Armed Forces, and the GCAA Presidential Scholarship Fund..
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