Golf prepares for Augusta meet
April 4, 2019
This weekend, the Illinois men’s golf team will travel to Augusta, Georgia, to compete in the Augusta Haskins Award Invitational.
This is the eighth year in a row the team has competed in this tournament, and last season the Illini took first, led by a first-place performance from then-senior Dylan Meyer. He shot 11-under-par to help the Illini finish 25-under-par. The second place team shot just 10-under-par.
The team is coming off a second place finish in the Tar Heel Intercollegiate in North Carolina behind a first-place finish from freshman Adrien Dumont de Chassart. This finish earned Dumont de Chassart his first Big Ten Golfer of the Week award.
However, a third-round slip up by the team cost them first place in the tournament.
“We didn’t play well the last round, and that’s something that we normally do,” said head coach Mike Small. “This team, this year, for some reason has not finished off tournaments the way we need to finish them … We need to adapt to the certain situation at hand better, and that comes with, hopefully, experience and age.”
Closing out the last round is a focus for the team as it continues its spring season this weekend in Georgia.
Experience will be a big factor for the Illini this weekend. The top two Illini finishers from last season’s Augusta Invite graduated in 2018, but the Illini return with juniors Michael Feagles, Bryan Baumgarten and Giovanni Tadiotto.
The course at Augusta has new and better greens, so Small said he’s looking for the team to have a good practice round and to work out a game plan from it.
Dumont de Chassart will also look to be a key contributor this weekend and said he sees where he was successful but also recognizes his flaws after winning an individual title at the Tar Heel Intercollegiate. He said he looks to work on things like his driving while keeping his putting consistent.
Dumont de Chassart said the team atmosphere of collegiate golf helps him in his own game.
“Before I came here, I used to play for myself,” Dumont de Chassart said. “Now, I wouldn’t say I am trying to concentrate more than before, but sometimes you try to avoid stupid mistakes.”
Feagles will also look to make an impact in Augusta. He finished sixth in North Carolina and has played consistently throughout the year, receiving top-10 honors in his last three outings.
This will be his third time competing at Augusta after finishing tied for 19th his freshman season and tied for 17th last season.
“With some young guys in our line up, we just have to stay disciplined to finish off rounds,” Feagles said.
“On this team we talk a lot about closing: closing rounds off and closing tournaments off. That’s something our team needs to improve on for sure.”