The Illinois men's golf team is moving up again in the national rankings. The final coaches poll of the fall season was released today, and the Orange and Blue are ranked No. 6 in the country. That is up from No. 14, where they were in the preseason.
The Illinois golf team is back on the course this weekend outside Indianapolis, and they will be competing without head coach Mike Small. Small is in England getting ready to compete for Team USA in the PGA Cup. It's an event held every two years that puts the best PGA professionals in America against the best from Great Britain and Ireland.
Former Illinois golfer Steve Stricker added another top five finish to his resume Monday after he finished T4 in a rain-delayed BMW Championship in Joliet, Ill. Stricker entered the day one shot off the lead held by Jim Furyk, but Stricker struggled down the stretch. He shot a final round 72 to finish in a four-way tie for fourth place. Another former Illini DA Points finished T57.
Defending national runners-up T6 after round one at Olympia Fields
His limited schedule hasn't stopped Steve Stricker from playing at the top of his game. The former Illini has already qualified for his fifth President's Cup team, and this weekend he is back in Illinois hoping for a strong finish at the BMW Championship. Stricker stayed hot in round one carding a 66 (T3). WCIA 3's Matt Wettersten was on the course with Stricker for his first round today and has more.
This weekend the Illinois golf team will play in their tournament since losing to Alabama in the national championship last year. They'll take on some of the nation's best teams, including that very same Crimson Tide team, at the Illini Invite in Olympia Fields starting Friday. "It's huge, actually," said sophomore Charlie Danielson, who lost the clinching match at the NCAA Tournament a year ago. "The whole team is prepared. We all worked hard over the summer, so we're ready for it. We know it's going to be an awesome tournament at an awesome venue." Illinois returns four of their five starters from last year's national runner-up team, though junior Alex Burge won't travel with the team this weekend. Instead sophomore David Kim and senior Jonathan Hauter will make the trip. The three-day tournament kicks off Illinois' fall schedule. "There's a reason why we play these events, and it's to build momentum and improve on issues with our game," head coach Mike Small said. "We want to improve on things within the team atmosphere as well so that next April, May and June we can be at our best." Illinois tees off Friday morning in Olympia Fields, Ill. The tournament runs through Sunday.
Illinois sophomore Thomas Detry was named one of Golf Digest's Top 50 players to watch on Thursday after an impressive freshman season and summer. In addition, the Fighting Illini were ranked No. 14 in the Golf World/Nike Golf preseason coaches' poll. Detry was the 2013 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and finished tied for second at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. He also defeated Texas' Julio Vegas in Illinois' 3-2 NCAA quarterfinal win over the Longhorns. This summer, Detry has skyrocketed to No. 37 in the World Amateur Golf Ranking after having an exceptional run in a number of European tournaments. He started by finished 12th at the St. Andrews Links Trophy in Scotland in early June, then took home the European Challenge Trophy while leading his native Belgium to the team trophy. He followed that by winning the European Alps Tour Andalucia event, winning the Belgian International Amateur and finishing tied for fourth at the European Amateur.
From 2003 to 2010, it wasn’t a question of who was going to win the Illinois PGA Championship – it was more a question of by how much. In that span, Mike Small won eight consecutive Illinois PGA Championships, the last one coming by 11 strokes in 2010 on the South Course at Olympia Fields Country Club.
Former Illinois golfers Steve Stricker, Luke Guthrie, Thomas Pieters and DA Points - along with head coach Mike Small - were in Olympia Fields Monday to raise money to support the Illinois golf program.
Illini coach finished tied for 19th in his last tournament.
Illinois golf coach Mike Small will compete in one of golf's premier events next week. He is headed to the PGA Championship in Rochester, NY. It will be a chance for Small to compete against the best players in the world, and he told WCIA 3's Austin Kim on Thursday that he is ready to go. "I'm excited. I'm excited to go play and compete and spend time with the best players in the world and hang out with former Illini," Small said. "Four Illini are playing in the event - three others [besides myself]. It's going to be a lot of fun to just spend time in that arena. It's an opportunity to go compete and see how I do." The PGA Championship tees off Thursday. It'll be Small's 9th career appearance at the PGA Championship and 12th major appearance.
Illini golf senior hopes he can earn a regular spot next season after waiting patiently during his first three years of his career.
Illini golf coach aims for 5th career title
Guthrie, Points hope to put shaky J.D.C. performances behind them.
Langley not joining Guthrie, Points at British Open
Former Illini paired together during final round of John Deere Classic
Stricker misses late chances to crack top 10 leader board
Joe Affrunti, Scott Langley, and Steve Stricker will advance to weekend play.
Five former Illini tee off in round one of John Deere Classic
Former Illini slashes schedule, maintains success
Former Illini back from shoulder, wrist surgeries
Former Illini believes the key to winning the John Deere Classic is in the short game.
WCIA's headquarters for extended interviews, tee-times and features from the 2013 John Deere Classic
The St. Louis native has a chat with WCIA's Matt Wettersten
Former Illini golfer Joe Affrunti talks to WCIA's Matt Wettersten at TPC Deere Run.
Guthrie catches up with WCIA's Matt Wettersten as he prepares for the 2013 John Deere Classic.
Small T-4 at PGA Professional National Championship
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois head men's golf coach Mike Small was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year by the Golf Coaches Association on Friday, marking the fourth time in the last five years that he has earned the honor. It also is Small's fifth career regional coach of the year award, as he earned the accolade in 2003, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2013.
Small led a very young Illini team to a second-place finish at the NCAA Championships after the squad fell to Alabama in the championship match. The Orange and Blue defeated 2012 NCAA champion Texas and top-ranked California during the match-play portion after finishing fifth in stroke play. Illinois also won the Fayetteville Regional, the program's first regional title, and earned its fifth-straight Big Ten championship in 2013 and won its first-ever Big Ten Match Play Championship among six tournament victories, the second-most in program history.
Junior Thomas Pieters, who elected to become a professional following the season and is playing in the Scottish Hydro Challenge on the European Challenge Tour this weekend, notched the fourth-best season scoring average in school history on the way to earning PING third-team All-America and Big Ten Men's Golfer of the Year honors. Freshman
Pieters named to Third Team
Steve Stricker is in position to win his first major championship. The former Illini is at even par, one shot back of leader Phil Mickelson (-1) after 54 holes at the US Open. The Final round is Sunday. Stricker is also trying to become the oldest first time major winner at 46 years old.
Extended interview with Illinois men's golf coach Mike Small
Former Illini aiming for first major championship at U.S. Open
Stricker among 4 former Illini in US Open field
Small to be inducted into Illinois Golf Hall of Fame
Illinois head golf coach Mike Small drops by the WCIA studios to chat with Matt Wettersten.
Junior emotional after playing final tourney at U of I
Former Illini Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley qualified for the US Open Monday. Steve Stricker and D.A. Points have already qualified, meaning four Illini will be in the field. The 113th US Open will take place in Admore, Pennsylvania at Merion Golf Club June 13-16.
The Illinois golf team finished second in the NCAA Tournament. It's the best finish in program history and could give Mike Small's program a recruiting boost.
The Illinois men's golf team defeated Texas 3-2 in the elite eight match play of the NCAA Golf Championships. Illinois plays California Saturday morning in the final four. Illinois is guaranteed as least third place, which is the best finish in program history.
Illini (-5) advance to match play portion of championships
Illini one round away from advancing to match play round
Illini six shots back after first round
Guthrie will play in first ever major championship
Illini win first ever NCAA regional
The Illinois men's golf team won its first ever NCAA Regional championship Saturday. The Illini finished -1, three shots ahead of second place Arkansas. It advances the Illini to their sixth straight NCAA Championships. Thomas Detry and Brian Campbell were tied for second individually at -2. Charlie Danielson tied for fifth at even par.
Freshmen Detry, Danielson leading the way
Freshman Danielson sets school record on day one
Illini head to 6th straight regional
Former Illini missed the cut at The Players Championship
Former Illini enjoying successful rookie season