Illini men’s golf ties for 7th place

By Meghan Montemurro

Despite a slow start, the Illinois men’s golf team was able to finish strong with a tournament low score round of 286 in the third round at the Western Intercollegiate in Santa Cruz, Calif. The team finished tied for seventh place.

“We had a good total team effort from the four players,” head coach Mike Small said. “It was a positive end to the tournament.”

The Illini were limited to only four players after sophomore Andy Shiels had to withdraw from the tournament due to injury. Small said he was impressed with the team and how they responded to the challenge.

“We moved 14th to seventh which shows the talent and ability of the players,” Small said. “To play knowing that you have no room for error shows the guys can handle the pressure.”

The spring break tournament allowed the team to spend eight days together and play golf.

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Individually, junior Mark Ogren finished in fourth place overall, finishing the tournament at 5-under-par for a total of 208 strokes. The career-high fourth place finish was also his fifth career top-10 finish.

“He really competed well,” Small said. “Mark showed a lot of guts on the golf course which is very important.”

The key to the team’s tournament-low score in the third round is attributed to the play of seniors Kyle Hosick and Patrick Nagle, Ogren, and sophomore Jon Krick, who stepped up with the absence of Shiels, Small said.

Despite the solid team performance, Small said the Illini need to improve and work on their approach shots and distance control with the irons.

Illinois will now set its sights toward the Boilermaker Invitational which will be held April 7-8. The team’s goals remain the same.

“Our goal is to go out there and to try and compete and win,” Small said. “We have to put in the time, energy and effort and just believe in ourselves.”