Illini finish in top 30 at NCAA Championships

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Illini finish in top 30 at NCAA Championships

By Claire O'Brien, Staff Writer

The Illinois men’s golf team finished in 27th place Sunday in the NCAA Championships at Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Arkansas.

During Friday’s first round, the Illini finished the day tied for 24th and 23-over-par, led by junior Michael Feagles and freshman Tommy Kuhl. Kuhl and Feagles finished tied-for-53rd at 76, four-over-par.

Despite the quiet start for Illinois, the weekend was filled with accolades. On Friday afternoon, Illinois athletics released a statement saying head coach Mike Small was a finalist for the Dave Williams National Coach of the Year award, which Small won in 2015.

On Saturday, Illini athletics tweeted Feagles, freshman Adrien Dumont de Chassart, junior Giovanni Tadiotto and junior Bryan Baumgarten made the Ping All-Region team.

The Illini finished in 27th place Saturday (out of 30 teams) dropping down three spots from Friday. Illinois continued its play into Sunday’s cut round.

Feagles again led the Illini, finishing Saturday tied for 33rd with a score of 71 for the second round. Kuhl tied for 72nd, scoring 75 on the par-72 course.

Sunday wasn’t better for the Illini. Illinois hung on to 27th place to finish the third round, missing the cut by a wide margin. 

Feagles concluded his junior season tied for 53rd, and Dumont de Chassart finished his first season tied for 88th.

Heading into the tournament, the Illini had won the Big Ten and NCAA Regional tournaments but couldn’t make it a three-peat in the postseason. Although it opened in 2004, according to Talk Business & Politics, Blessings is a difficult course to play.

In the Talk Business & Politics article, Illinois is mentioned for its performance at the 2013 NCAA Regionals played on the course. Illinois won with a team score of one-below-par, while the cutoff to advance was 28-over-par.

For this Illinois team, which came into the tournament winning one of the six NCAA regionals, a successful bout in the NCAA tournament seemed likely. 

“It was a disappointing week, and the kids are pretty down right now,” said head coach Mike Small, per fightingillini.com. “We could never get things going in the right direction. That’s disappointing because that’s not the personality of Illini Golf. If you look at the big picture though, we are a young team that made a lot of strides this spring.” 

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