Illinois men’s golf looks to complete perfect fall season

By Lauren Mroz

Led by Big Ten Golfer of the Week Thomas Detry, the Illinois men’s golf team looks to remain perfect through its final fall tournament. Heading to Orlando, Florida, the Illini will compete in the Travistock Collegiate Invitational at the Lake Nona Golf and Country Club between Sunday and Tuesday.

After a shaky start at the Sagamore Fall Preview Oct. 13-14, the Illini still managed to finish on top of the leaderboard and later earned its third No. 1 team ranking of the season. This time, after a unanimous vote by Golfstat, it is the first unanimous No. 1 team ranking in school history.  

Illinois’ skills will be put to the test in Orlando. The Illini face off against a talented board of 15 teams. Ten of the Illini’s competitors are ranked in the top 50 teams in the nation, including No. 2-ranked Baylor.  

Illinois has done well in its previous five appearances at Travistock — formerly known as the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational — but the Illini have never won the tournament. They placed within the top five in 2012 (2nd) and 2013 (5th).

With a quick turnaround between tournaments, Small planned on letting his players rest and catch up on schoolwork during their two days back in Champaign.

“As a coach, you can’t worry about manipulating them all the time,” Small said. “Sometimes you’ve got to take the leash off and let them go. That’s what we’re going to do. They’re going to play for each other. They’re going to play for themselves, and they’re going to go after it again starting Sunday.”

Small is sending the same roster from the previous two tournaments. The roster includes: senior Brian Campbell, juniors Charlie Danielson and Detry and freshmen Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer.

“We’re a good group, and we’re mentally strong,” Detry said. “We’ll just grind out when we’re on the course and show why we’re No. 1.”

Lauren can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @MrozLauren.