Illinois men’s golf finish strong, win 3M Invitational

By Ryan Wilson

This weekend, the Illinois men’s golf team secured its first win in the last month. 

This win came in the 3M Augusta Invitational against 14 other teams — nine of which ranked in Golfweek’s top 50.ej The team finished fifth and eighth at its last two tournaments.ej

“People don’t understand how difficult golf is,” head coach Mike Small said after the tournament.ej “One win out of twelve is a good deal and for us to win in the last three is really good. … It always feels good to leave a tournament as a winner.”

Illinois won with a final score of 27-under-par, three strokes ahead of No. 1 Texas. Charlie Danielson carded a team-high for the Illini after finishing 9-under to take a share of second with Tennessee’s Chad Merzbacher.ej

Thomas Detry tied for fourth at 8-under, and Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer both went 2-under for 13th.ej Freshman Edoardo Lipparelli made his spring-season debut with a 5-over finish.ej

Illinois opened the 3M Augusta Invitational with a 17-under in the first round. It was the lowest single-round score in the tournament.ej

The round was highlighted by eagles from Danielson on the par 5 holes. The eagles negated his two bogeys in the round, as he shot a 6-under in the first 18 holes. Detry, with his five birdies on the back nine, tied Danielson and was at least three strokes ahead of any other teammate.

“It was a strong first round,” head coach Mike Small said. “Charlie and Thomas both played well and led our team.”

The Illini’s scores changed direction in the second round. Small said his team struggled in the latter half of the round, where the Illini had three double bogeys. Danielson and Detry, who had the lone eagle of the round, remained tied at 7-under.ej

“We got off to a little bit of a slow start in the second round,” Small said. “As a team, we need to pay attention to the lulls that we have been having during the tournaments. We have stretches of five or six holes where we struggle.”

The team did not get a practice round on the course, but Small said he thought Lipparelli handled his debut spring season debut well. Lipparelli finished one stroke of Danielson and Detry to have a team-best score of 70 in the round.ej

“For him to come around and shoot 70 in the second round, I thought was the key to the tournament,” Small said. “Edoardo’s second round after the first one was a big key to the week.”

The third and final round of the tournament propelled Illinois into the lead with a team score of 12-under. Three of the five Illini at the tournament had at least five birdies and were only separated by one stroke in the round.ej Danielson closed the tournament with three birdies on the back nine.

Illinois has a week off before the Boilermaker Invitational on Saturday April 16-17. It is the last tournament before the Big Ten Tournament.ej

“We got to continue to work on our deficiencies and what we need to practice to get better at and come back with the next tournament with the same mindset that we left this one,” Small said.

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