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Small's Illini head to Fayetteville regional

Illini try to reach 6th consecutive NCAA Championships
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (UI Release) - The University of Illinois was selected to the NCAA Fayetteville Regional as the No. 6 seed in the regional field, the NCAA announced Monday evening. It marks the Illini's sixth-straight NCAA regional berth and will compete in the 54-hole event at the Blessings Golf Club in Fayetteville, Ark, May 16-18. The top five teams and low individual not on those teams from each regional will advance to the NCAA Championships May 28-June 2 at The Capital City Club, Crabapple Course, in Atlanta, Ga.

"We're looking forward to heading down there," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "We don't know much about the golf course, so we'll do our work this week to prepare while we finish up with final exams. As with any other year, if we play well, we can advance. But in looking at the other teams in our regional, we're really going to have to play well to move on to NCAA Championships."

The Fayetteville Regional is one of the three 14-team regionals, while the other three regionals have 13 teams. In 2012, when Illinois advanced to the NCAA Championships, the Illini were the No. 7 seed in the NCAA Norman Regional.

Five-time Big Ten champion Illinois will square off with top-seeded Big 12 champion Texas, No. 2 Arkansas, No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 4 SMU, No. 5 and Mid-American Conference champion Kent State, No. 7 Liberty, No. 8 Tulsa, No. 9 Kentucky, No. 10 Colorado, No. 11 Indiana, No. 12 UNC-Wilmington, No. 13 UMKC and No. 14 Alabama State. 

The Illini are one of four Big Ten teams in the 81-team field along with Indiana (Fayetteville), Northwestern (Baton Rouge) and Iowa (Tallahassee). In addition, Purdue's Adam Schenk, Michigan State's Matthew Moseley and Minnesota's Erik Van Rooyen all will compete in the Columbus (Ohio) Regional as individuals. 

In 2012, the Illini advanced to the NCAA Championships after tying for third at the Norman Regional. Thomas Pieters won the NCAA championship with a 5-under-par 208, while Illinois placed 21st as a team. It marked the fifth-straight season that the Illini qualified for the NCAA Championships, making Illinois one of only six schools in the nation to accomplish that feat along with Florida, Texas, Texas A&M, UCLA and USC.
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