Illinois finishes ninth at Maui Jim, fifth in Fighting Illini Invitational


Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Senior Bryan Baumgarten watches his approach shot at the Fighting Illini Invitational.

By Rich Eberwein and Jonah Perez

Through two tournaments so far, the Illinois men’s golf team placed ninth at the Maui Jim Intercollegiate at the Mirabel golf club in Scottsdale, Arizona Sept. 13-15. They also placed fifth at the Olympia Fields Country Club Fighting Illini Invitational at the OFCC in Olympia Fields, Illinois, from Sept. 20-22.

At the Maui Jim, they finished 9-under-par after a fantastic 269 score first day with multiple Illini shooting under the 70 par of the course. In comparison to the first round, the other days were a little bit of a struggle with 281 strokes.

The positive takeaway from the Maui Jim was the performance of freshman Jerry Ji. He placed tied for 15th, shooting 6-under-par for the tournament. His 7-under-par during the first round tied the best score for a round during the invitational.

It was a stellar debut for someone who has only been in the country for a month. He’s from the town Hoofddorp of the state of Haarlemmermeerlyceum of the Netherlands and is one of the top amateurs in all of Europe. A great gem found by coach Mike Small.

The rest of the Illini were split, with seniors Michael Feagles and Bryan Baumgarten tied for 24th place, shooting 3-under-par. Feagles shot a noteworthy 66 in the first round and Baumgarten a 65 in the third.

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Juniors Brendan O’Reilly and Varun Chopra finished tied for 57th and 64th, shooting 5-over par and 9-over-par respectively. O’Reilly’s best round was a 69 in the first and Chopra’s was a 70 in the second.

At the Fighting Illini Invitational, Illinois shot 19-over as a team with their best effort in round three with a score of 283.  They came in fifth place out of 15 teams and three Illini golfers finished in the top 25.

 Baumgarten and Feagles led the charge for the Illini and tied each other again, this time for 17th overall in the tournament.  Feagles shot an outstanding 67 in round two on Saturday with three birdies, while Baumgarten’s weekend was highlighted by a 67 on Sunday with four birdies.

Adrien Dumont de Chassart also represented Illinois in the top 25, tying for 24th place while shooting a low of 70 for the weekend in round three. The Belgium-born sophomore ranked second on the team in stroke average with a 71.39 last year as he looks to continue his success with Illinois this fall.

Looking forward, the Illini will next compete in the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate in Carmel, Indiana.  In the two-day tournament held from Oct. 14-15, teams will play 54 holes at the Crooked Stick Golf Club, a 7,567-yard par 71 course.  

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