No. 1 Illinois men’s golf have close call in Louisiana

By Ryan Wilson

The Illinois men’s golf team barely pulled away from its sixth tournament of the season, after winning the Louisiana Classic for the fourth-straight time.The Illini won the tournament, which was held between Feb.28 – March 1, by one stroke ahead of No. 45 Kansas and four strokes to No. 33 Texas A&M in third.

Illinois’ Thomas Detry (second), Charlie Danielson (third) and Dylan Meyer (tied ninth) all finished in the top-10 at par-72, 6,898-yard Oakburne Country Club. Detry, who won last year’s event with a 13-under, shot a 6-under 210. Danielson finished one stroke behind teammate Detry with a 5-under, while Meyer had a 1-under.

The remaining Illini did not finish that far down the leaderboard. Hardy tied for 13th with a 1-over, Edoardo Lipparelli tied for 25th at 4-over and Alex Burge rounded out the team with a 5-over to tie for 28th.

The No. 1 team in the nation felt some pressure by Kansas. The Jayhawks had the lead on the par 4, 14th, after bogeyes by Danielson and Hardy. But then Kansas had its share of bogeyes on the remaining with eight.

A double bogey by the team’s Connor Peck on the par 4, 18th gave Illinois the win.

“We were very fortunate to win today,” Illinois head coach Mike Small said. “Kansas put the pressure on us from the very start, and we didn’t respond as well as we needed to. It was their tournament to win.”

The Illini shot an 18-under after the first two rounds to take the one-stroke lead over Texas A&M. Detry led at 6-under. Danielson and Meyer were two strokes behind in seventh place.

Detry and Danielson finished in the top five for their third and fourth times this season, respectively. It is their second time finishing in their respective positions.

Danielson highlighted round one with a 7-under — five strokes ahead of his teammates. Danielson was the only Illinois golfer to go bogey free on the round. He made four-straight birdies and five in his first six holes on the back nine.

Detry took a two-stroke team lead over Danielson after shooting a 5-under in the second round. Detry had five birdies and no bogeys in the round. Danielson triple bogeyed the par 5, 3rd and bogeyed No. 9 and 18. His only birdie came on the par-4, 14th.

Meyer, on the par 5, 11th in the last round, had the Illini’s only eagle in the tournament.

The Illini won last year’s Louisiana Classic by 22 strokes.

[email protected]