Redbirds defeated, Big Ten play next

By Meghan Rest, Assistant sports editor

The Illinois men’s golf team is set to begin Big Ten match play this weekend after bagging a win against Illinois State in the Tinervin Cup on Jan. 26.  

During the fall season, the Illini earned two tournament titles in the Yale MacDonald Cup and Fighting Irish Classic. However, Illinois struggled at the UCF Tavistock Collegiate Invitational, finishing in a 10th-place tie out of 15 teams and sputtering to a sixth-place close in a 14-team field at the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational in September.

But after several months away from competition, the Illini opened their spring campaign on a brighter note. The men traveled to Placida, Florida, for the annual outing, which is hosted by Jeff Tinervin at the Coral Creek Golf Club.

Four Illini flew back to Champaign victorious over their Redbird foes. Junior Giovanni Tadiotto, sophomore Brendan O’Reilly and freshmen Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Noah Gillard won their matches, while freshman Tommy Kuhl finished in a tie.

The men will travel back to Florida, but this time to Hammock Beach. Last year, Illinois finished third in the Big Ten west division and sixth overall at the event, going 2-1 after three rounds. Illinois alumni Dylan Meyer and Nick Hardy both notably shot three birdies in a row on holes eight, nine and 10 after coming into the back nine two strokes under par.

Last season, Illinois won the Big Ten Championship title and finished second at NCAA Regionals in Columbus, Ohio.

The start of the season also accompanies the addition of Jerry Ji to Illinois’ 2019 roster. The Netherlands-native is ranked as the No. 4 golfer under 18 per the European Golf Rankings. Recently, Ji coined a second-place finish at the 2018 European Boys’ Team Championship in individual stroke play and won the 2017 Junior Orange Bowl International. He also collected a bronze medal at the 2018 youth Olympic games. Ji will be the third international player on Illinois’ roster in 2019, joining Tadiotto and Dumont de Chassart, who hail both from Belgium.

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