Illinois looks forward to Crooked Stick Intercollegiate

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photo couretsy of illini athletics

Noah Gillard smiles during the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational over the weekend of Sept. 20. The Illini look to improve this fall.

By Rich Eberwein , Contributing Writer

The Illinois golf team will travel to Carmel, Indiana, for the Crooked Stick Intercollegiate hosted by Indiana University next Monday and Tuesday. Illinois looks to improve its fall season after taking fifth place at the Olympia Fields Country Club Illini Invitational three weeks ago.

With three weeks of practice and a strong attitude after leaving Olympia Fields, the team is eager to climb the leaderboard at Crooked Sticks and set the stage for the final tournaments of the fall season.

“We’re excited to play,” said head coach Mike Small.  “We’ve had a good three weeks of practice and training and I think they’re excited to go compete. Finishing fifth is not a bad finish in that championship. It’s a really strong field. We didn’t get off to the start we wanted to, but at the end, the last nine-15 holes were really strong.”

The last time Illinois competed at Crooked Sticks was during the 2017 season, when the team finished in the top-three with three Illini in the top 25 individually. Several of Illinois’ current golfers participated in the tournament, including senior Bryan Baumgarten.

“We have a lot of confidence right now; we’ve had two weeks to sit down and really see what we needed to work on,” Baumgarten said. “We have three solid events coming up with a lot of good teams. For us its about building momentum and continuing to grow as a team.  We have a lot of talent here, and we haven’t shown what we’re capable of doing yet.”

Baumgarten and fellow senior Michael Feagles were major contributors at Olympia Fields. Both golfers tied for 17th overall in the tournament, joining Adrien Dumont de Chassart among the top-25 finishers.

“Everyone’s excited; it’s a fun time right now,” Baumgarten said. “We’re just trying to finish off the year strong.  We have a really competitive and talented team here; the sky’s the limit.”

Some of the teams joining Illinois and Indiana in Carmel include fellow Big Ten schools Purdue, Northwestern and Michigan.

Crooked Sticks is an 18-hole par-72 golf course established in 1964 in Carmel, Indiana, a northern suburb of Indianapolis.The 7,516-yard long course has hosted several notable tournaments, including the PGA Championship in 1991 and the BMW Championship in 2012 and in 2016.

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