Illinois men's golf rallies on final day to win Tavistock Collegiate Invitational

By Chris Kennedy

The Illini men’s golf team has played in two premiere events this fall. At the Fighting Illini Invite on Sept. 18-20 against six of the nation’s top teams and without senior Charlie Danielson, Illinois finished fifth, 12 strokes out of first place.MD

This week at the Tavistock Collegiate Invitational, the Illini rallied to clinch the tournament on the final day against four ranked teams. Back at full strength, sophomore Dylan Meyer put together another strong performance while Danielson and sophomore Nick Hardy climbed up the leaderboard in the final round.

No. 1 Illinois improved its standing each of the invite’s three days to take the competition by four strokes over No. 19 Arizona State.

It was a battle at the top for the entire tournament. After the first day, Illinois sat in fourth place by seven strokes behind leader California, No. 22 South Carolina and No. 19 Arizona State.

The Golden Bears came out firing with the best overall round of the tournament at a 9-under 279. North Carolina started off in fifth place, one stroke behind Illinois. These five teams separated themselves from the field with strong first rounds, but the contenders couldn’t match Illinois’ consistent improvement.

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South Carolina was the first team to come undone in the second round. The Gamecocks’ score ballooned with a 20-over, dropping them all the way to ninth place. North Carolina also faltered with a 11-over. Illinois jumped to second place behind Cal with an improved performance by Thomas Detry and Hardy moving up the leaderboard.

On the final day of play, California imploded with a 19-over final round, falling out of team title contention. The final round determined the team championship between Illinois and Arizona State. Behind Hardy and Danielson’s best rounds of the tournament, the Illini opened up a four-stroke lead and took the title.

Hardy ended as the Illini’s top finisher at third overall. He moved up from starting at 20th place, improving his score by two strokes each day to finish at 3-under. The sophomore also tied for the tournament lead in birdies with 13.

Meyer was Illinois’ leader for most of the tournament after a first round 68, tied for the second-best individual round of any player at the tournament.

Danielson put up another strong performance for the team after missing the Fighting Illini Invite. On the final day of play, he moved up from 15th to seventh place overall.

He collected Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors last week after taking the individual title at Indiana’s Crooked Stick Invitational. The only tournament the Illini didn’t win this fall was without Danielson at the Fighting Illini Invite.

Detry struggled for the second straight tournament, finishing tied for 37th overall with a 9-over. His best round came Monday with a par. Also tied for 37th was redshirt senior Alex Burge. The senior had a rough go at the tournament, hitting 2-over, 4-over and 5-over.

The Illini play their final tournament of the fall on Nov. 2-3 at the East Lake Cup, featuring the top four teams from last year’s NCAA Championship.

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