Men’s golf team hopes to find same success as Tiger Woods at Windon Memorial Classic



By Rich Mayor

The Illinois men’s golf team will take their newly targeted backs to North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill. on Sunday for the 12th annual Windon Memorial Classic. The tournament is hosted by Northwestern at a course that has played home to past U.S. Amateur and U.S. Open Championships.

Joining Illinois in the 15-team field are Big Ten-nemeses Northwestern, Purdue, Michigan and Indiana. The Wolverines won the Illini’s first tournament of the fall, the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, while Illinois placed second. No. 23 Kent State and reigning Big East champion Marquette will also compete in the event.

It’s the first tournament for the Illini since their David vs. Goliath victory at the loaded Fighting Illini/Olympia Fields Invitational on Sept. 21.

“I feel like we have some good momentum coming off our last tournament,” sophomore Scott Langley said. “Obviously winning that event in Chicago two weeks ago was awesome for us, and I think we can only build on that and gain confidence from that. We’ve been working hard the past two days and have been practicing a lot the past few weeks, getting every part of our games right for the next event. I feel like we should do well this weekend, definitely.”

Head coach Mike Small supported the newly instilled confidence but cautions the squad to not over-do it.

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    “There should be increased confidence from Olympia Fields,” Small said. “They should be eager to show that the hard work they’ve put in since then has paid off, and that should be a confidence boost – but when it comes down to it, they still have to go out and hit the shots.”

    The Windon Memorial Classic, while not boasting the most prestigious field, does have an illustrious history. Current PGA TOUR members Joe Ogilvie, Tiger Woods, Luke Donald and Ben Curtis are past runners-up in the event. Donald and current PGA TOUR member Hunter Mahan are past champions.

    “We’ve played in (the Windon Memorial Classic) several times, and it’s a good, solid event on a good golf course,” Small said. “There are some good teams here, a lot of top-50 teams. Not a lot of top-10 or 15 teams, but top-50, so there are some good and sneaky teams here, and there always is.”

    Junior Zach Barlow will also attempt to continue the success following his first-place tying performance at Olympia Fields.

    “The expectation level for him has probably changed quite a bit,” Small said. “He has to learn how to adapt to those expectations and be able to play as one of the favorites. The Olympia Fields tournament definitely changed that for him.”

    The new Illini swagger may take the rest of the season to fully develop, but the squad is still working hard to ensure more success.

    “We know that we’re playing pretty well and we know we can compete with the best teams in the country, and that feeling doesn’t hurt at all,” Langley said.

    “With that said, I don’t think we’ve let up as far as practice goes. These past two weeks we’ve been working hard, trying to make sure we don’t have that let down. We haven’t gotten complacent at all. I feel like we’re ready to go.”