Illinois men’s golf to compete in the Macdonald Cup

The Illinois men’s golf team, coming off a dominant performance at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate, will head to New Haven, Conn., this weekend to compete in the Macdonald Cup, held at Yale’s home golf course. Head coach Mike Small will rejoin the team after missing the last tournament to play in the PGA Cup.

The Illini won the Wolf Run Intercollegiate by 33 strokes on Sept. 22 and hope to carry over the momentum to this weekend.

At Wolf Run, Illinois had the top four individual scores as sophomore Thomas Detry turned in a 209 (average of 69.7) to lead the team. Detry has had the low scores in both the first two competitions. The Illini’s 844 strokes were a tournament record.

Looking forward to this weekend, the team has a reason to be confident. Head coach Mike Small is pleased with the consistency the team has shown this early in the season and looks forward to continued success this coming weekend.

“Every day is a new day, and every tournament is a new tournament,” he said.

The Macdonald Cup is a long-standing tournament that Illinois hasn’t competed in before. It is a regional event that includes Ivy League schools Brown, Penn, Dartmouth and Yale, as well as Connecticut and other Northeastern schools.

Small decided to take his team this year because it is an excellent course that he thinks will help his players improve their games.

“(We) want to expose our guys to different fields and not only different parts of the country, but different golf courses,” Small said.

The course at Yale was named the best college golf course in the country by Golfweek Magazine in 2010 and is very different from some of the other courses that the Illini have played. This will pose a challenge that Small hopes will be able to help his young team in the long run.

“From what I have heard, it is pretty tricky and we need to be tough-minded and get a few good practice rounds in,” junior Brian Campbell said.

Small was interested in taking his team to the tournament this year in order to come away with a win and gain confidence this early in the season, especially after the departure of the Illinois’ top player, Thomas Pieters.

The lineup this weekend will be the same as at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate and consists of Detry, sophomore Charlie Danielson, Campbell, senior Jonathan Hauter and sophomore David Kim.

The Illini are ranked No. 17 in the latest Golf World/Nike Golf Coaches’ poll that came out on Sept. 25 and hope to use this weekend to continue to climb the rankings.

Kieran can be reached at [email protected]