Men’s golf tied for sixth after first round of NCAA Championships

By Wes Anderson

Scott Langley carded a two-over-par 74 to lead the team as the Illini shot a combined 14-over 302 in the first round of the NCAA Championships in West Layfayette, Ind. The solid start put Illinois, the tournament’s No. 36 seed, in a tie for sixth place with three rounds remaining.

Langley, who was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year earlier this season, teed off at 6:20 a.m. and played a steady round at the Kampen Course. Despite making just two birdies on the day, Langley made 12 pars to go along with two bogeys on each nine.

In a news release from the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics, Langley said keeping the ball in the fairway off the tee was crucial in order to minimize mistakes.

“I was glad I was able to drive it well today,” Langley said. “This golf course is really tough if you are not hitting your woods because this rough is very difficult.”

Fellow freshman Chris DeForest finished one shot back of Langley at three-over, while Zach Barlow fired a 76 and Larry Blatt shot a 77. Sophomore Matt Hoffman ballooned to an 80 after a triple-bogey seven on his final hole and did not count towards the team’s combined score.

Head coach Mike Small said the team’s ball-striking was “above average” despite a difficult, windy morning.

“We got off to a rough start with the conditions,” Small said in the release. “After that if you would have told me we would have finished like we did, I would have taken it then and there.”

Illinois is five shots back of USC and UCLA, which share the lead over a field of 30 teams at nine-over-par 297.