Golfers snag top spots in Illini’s third-place finish

By Jon Gluskin

Garrett Chaussard lost his ball on the first shot of the third round. The senior ended up double bogeying the hole. This was not what he wanted.

Despite the tough hole, Chaussard recovered and did not panic, going on to finish the round at a 1-over 73. That made his three round total a 5-under 211 – the top score in the field. Chaussard helped lead the Illini to a third-place finish in the Northern Intercollegiate over the weekend.

Chaussard said he did not focus on the botched hole and, instead, used his knowledge and experience to get him out of trouble.

“The experience of playing three years before (helped) – knowing that when you get down, there’s time left to make it up,” Chaussard said. “I guess I was really anxious on the first few holes. I finally settled down and brought it back.”

Head coach Mike Small said he was happy for his golfer.

“He’s a hard-worker,” Small said. “He’s put in a lot of time and practice. When you do that, you deserve the rewards of winning. I’m proud of Garrett that he got his first collegiate win.”

If that wasn’t enough for the Illini men’s golf team, freshman Danny Zimmerman, playing in his hometown of Verona, Wisc., at the University Ridge Golf Course, finished in a second-place tie with a 3-under 213.

“Danny showed up to play and played good golf,” Small said.

The Illini bounced back this tournament after a seventh-place finish last weekend at the Inverness Intercollegiate.

The Illini ended the Northern Intercollegiate with an 870, which was only bettered by Wisconsin (862) and Penn State (868).

Senior Mike O’Neal finished in the top 20 as well, scoring a 1-over 217, which placed him in a tie for 12th.

Playing in his first tournament of the season, junior Blair Harkins tied for 47th at 229. Freshman Frank Alafoginis tied for 65th (238) and Jordan Carpenter, a red-shirt sophomore competing individually and not part of the team score, tied for 69th, with a score of 242.

Zimmerman returned to his hometown and had the opportunity to play in front of his family, which Chaussard said is not an easy task.

The weekend’s tournament marked a special day for Chaussard as well. He has come close to finishing first in a couple of tournaments, but could never achieve that feat.

“You always remember your first win,” Chaussard said. “It feels good. (It’s) not a big sense of achievement, but kind of a nice reward for all my hard work. Hopefully, I can put myself in position to do it more often.”

The Illini have the weekend off and will compete again Oct. 4-5 at the Windon Memorial Classic in Glenview, Ill.

“We have a couple of weeks before our next event and everyone has issues with their game they need to get done, which we’re going to start addressing,” Small said. “Our goal is to have our team finish one through five.”