Big Ten honors four Illini men’s golfers in All-Big Ten selections

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Photo Courtesy of Fighting Illini Athletics

Freshman Jerry Ji watches the arc of his ball after taking a swing during competition.

By Jonah Perez, Staff Writer

On Monday, the Big Ten announced the men’s golf All-Big Ten team. Four Illini were honored, the most in the conference.

“Congratulations to Michael (Feagles), Giovanni (Tadiotto) and Jerry (Ji) on earning All-Big Ten Conference honors and congratulations to Jerry for earning the Big Ten Freshman of the Year,” said head coach Mike Small. “It’s great to see their hard work and dedication being recognized, and I am looking forward to their growth and development continuing into next season.”

Returning seniors Feagles and Tadiotto made first and second All-Big Ten, respectively. Feagles and Tadiotto were projected to finish their Illinois career this year, but because the NCAA granted spring seniors an extra year of eligibility due to COVID-19, they are both returning for a fifth season.

The third senior, Byran Baumgarten, could have also returned but decided to follow his dream and go pro instead.

This was Feagles’s fourth time making first-team All-Big Ten, the fourth Illini of the Small era to accomplish this, alongside former Illinois golfers Thomas Detry, Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer.

“I’d like to thank the Big Ten for another nomination for first-team all-conference, and I’d especially like to thank Illinois and our coaching staff for year-in and year-out, putting us in tournaments that push us to be the best players we can be,” Feagles said.

This year echoes that sentiment because of the vast improvement when comparing the fall and spring season.

In the fall, they didn’t finish higher than fifth in any of their five tournaments, while in the spring they finished second at the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate and fourth at the John Burns Intercollegiate. They were pushed and responded accordingly.

This was Tadiotto’s second consecutive time making second All-Big Ten, and it came off a great start to the spring season before the cancellation.

“It is a great honor to be recognized as All-Big Ten, and it wouldn’t have been possible without my great teammates, coaches and family,” said Tadiotto.

Among his teammates, he was first at both spring tournaments and had the lowest 54-hole score of any Illini during the spring season. Against his opponents, he placed fourth and third at the spring tournaments, receiving Big Ten Player of the Week after the second one.

Freshman Jerry Ji was also a second All-Big Ten team selection and Freshman of the Year. He becomes the seventh to win the award, alongside Feagles in 2017 and former Illini Hardy, Detry, Scott Langley, Patrick Nagle and James Lepp.

“I am very honored to have won this award; there are many great Illini from the past that have won it, so it means a lot to me,” said Ji. “I am excited for the future and to play my best to help out the team and this program.”

One of the highlights of his season was tying the program record by shooting a 63 in the first round of his first college tournament at the beginning of the fall season. He had the second-lowest stroke average on the team with 72, only behind Feagles who had a 71.56 stroke average.

Sophomore Adrian Dumont de Chassart got the Big Ten sportsmanship award, an award given to golfers with upstanding ethical behavior and good sportsmanship. Last year, Chassart was second-team All-Big Ten and was the individual Big Ten champ.

“It’s all about believing in yourself and never giving up,” said Chassart.

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