Illinois men’s golf Detry grabs Les Bolstad award

By Drake Pena

The accolades continue to pour in for Illinois men’s golfer junior Thomas Detry. The same weekend Detry came away as a member of the Illini team that won the Big Ten Championship, he left with the Les Bolstad award for the lowest season stroke in the Big Ten this season. Detry held a stroke average of 70.26 during the spring season.

Head coach Mike Small believes that the award is well-deserved for Detry’s consistency from start to finish.

“It’s a representation of a yearlong standard of good play,” Small said. “It’s a very good compliment to Thomas and the way he’s performed this season.”

Detry’s achievement marks the second-straight year an Illini golfer has walked away with the prestigious award. In 2014, Fellow junior Charlie Danielson won the award, shooting 71.07 on the year — at the time the best individual Big Ten average in the last five years. 

Weekend weather plays a role

The first three rounds were sunny, calm, and overall idyllic golf weather. But Sunday’s final round brought with it an entirely new set of elemental challenges for the golfers at the Victoria National Golf Club in Newburgh, Indiana.

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Small thought the wind gave his team a bit of difficulty.

“The conditions were great the first three days, it was nice and sunny, then the last day came and it got windy and it made it things kind of difficult,” Small said. “The first three days the weather was really a non-issue, but the last round it got tough to play through the wind.”

Freshman Big Ten co-medalist Nick Hardy was forced to adapt to the new conditions to secure his victory.

“It was a little windy, and it was coming from different directions,” Hardy said. “It was different conditions, and I had to change my game plan, but I wanted to make (the top of the leaderboard), and keep hitting the green and the fairway.”

Hardy fitting in with upperclassmen

Freshman Hardy stands out on the golf course. Not only due to his baby-faced appearance, but also because of his age.  In the high school class of 2014, Hardy was ranked the No. 2 player in Illinois and No. 14 nationally by the American Junior Golf Association. These accolades led to him starting as a freshman on a talented Illinois team that already boasted three former All-Americans.

Hardy is not fazed by his teammates’ prior success, and has seized the opportunity to play with some of the top upperclassman golfers in the country.

“I like competing with them every day,” Hardy said. “It’s great competing with three upperclassman who are All-Americans. So not intimidation, but just competition to get myself better.”

Small said his talented freshman has really come into his own this season.

“He’s had his ups and downs, just like any freshman does in any sport,” Small said. “Playing in college, it’s a big adjustment, and he’s worked hard and I’m really happy in the way he’s performed and carried himself this season.”

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