Illini men’s golf finishes third in Louisiana

By Lee Ann Sangalang

The Illinois men’s golf team placed third in the Louisiana Classic, held March 10-11, against a field that included the host, the University of Louisiana at Lafayette.

The Illini finished 20-over-par for the tournament, 22 strokes behind the tournament’s winner, Colorado.

“The first round really put us behind, and we never did shoot a low enough round to bring us back up,” assistant coach Zach Guthrie said. “We hoped for first, but we’re still a little rusty. There are a lot of small mistakes that we’re making that need to be fixed.”

Sophomore Matt Hoffman finished in 9th place as an individual, posting a 2-over-par 218, after shooting 74 in the final round. Hoffman shot 73 and 71 in Monday’s morning and afternoon rounds, respectively.

“I didn’t have a great fall season, so this is a confidence boost for me going into the next tournaments,” redshirt sophomore Matt Hoffman said. “I wanted to play well and show coach that I can help the team.”

“All of us were not extremely happy or extremely disappointed with our results,” junior Jon Krick said. “It was about average for all of us.”

Krick posted the best team finish for the Illini in 12th place at 3-over-par, followed by senior Mark Ogren who finished 17th with a 10-over-par.

“We only finished third by one stroke over the fourth place team,” Guthrie said. “There were 4 or 5 teams right there behind us. Had Mark shot two or three over, we could have been a few places down. And right now, getting those places are really important for the post-season, so for him to come out and shoot a 100 was awesome for us.”

The Illini were tied for sixth place with Louisiana Tech at the end of the first day of play. Entering the tournament as the top seed, the Illini shot 300 on Monday morning and 292 in the afternoon, bringing the day’s total to 592, nine behind first-place Colorado. Krick and freshman Scott Langley led the Illini, each with a even-par 72. The Illini shot 292 in the final round of the tournament.

“I think it’s encouraging how we didn’t play our best, and we still placed third in a tournament,” said Hoffman. “We missed a bunch of putts we should have made and didn’t do our best. That’s just a confidence boost to say that even though we weren’t playing our very best, we still did really well.”

This was the third tournament of the spring season for the Illini, after an 8-1 win in the Tinervin Cup against Illinois State University and a second-place finish in the Argonaut Invitational in February.

“We have a young team and a mix of older guys too,” said Krick. “We are starting off the spring season well, and we have shown the depth of our team is far, so right now the sky’s the limit.”