Hardy ready for Illinois

Published 07/20 2014 06:17PM

Updated 07/20 2014 06:25PM

WHEATON -- Incoming Illinois freshman golfer Nick Hardy has already played on some of amateur golf's biggest stages, now he's looking to leave his mark with the Illini this fall.

"It's good to have all these experiences pile up because I know it will pay off in the future," Hardy said.

The most memorable round of his life was last summer against one of the greatest athletes of all-time, Michael Jordan.  Hardy didn't beat MJ, but the experience helped him at the 2013 U.S. Amateur, the biggest tournament of his life.

Hardy was the overnight leader after shooting 65 in the opening round.  He ended up losing in the first round of match play, but that tournament was a major stepping stone in his career.

In the Illinois State Am at Cantigny Golf Club earlier this week, Nick had the lead in the final round.  He ended up finishing second, falling just short in a four-hole playoff.

"I could hang my head, I could say should of, could of, would of but I made a lot of putts and I played pretty well to get myself into the playoff so I'm pleased with this experience and I'll definitely take the positives out of it," Hardy said.

Hardy tries to keep an optimistic attitude on the course, although he admits that's easier said than done.  He carded a personal best 63 in a junior tournament last year.  He's been playing the game since he was 13 months old and committed to Mike Small and the Illini midway through his junior year of high school.  Nick knows all about Illinois' recent success and is confident he can contribute right away.

"I hope to add to that and not only be apart of it," the 18-year old said.  "I'm really excited looking at all the guys on the team doing well and I just can't wait to get down there."

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