Illini Top Michigan, Advance to Match Play Semifinals
Feb. 8, 2013
BRADENTON, Fla. - Top-seeded Illinois dispatched ninth-seeded Michigan 4-0-1 in the Big Ten Match Play quarterfinals at The Concession Golf Club, a par-72, 7,177-yard course, on Friday. The Illini advance to face fifth-seeded Ohio State in the semifinals at Saturday at 6:30 a.m. CT after the Buckeyes beat Wisconsin in the opening round and edged fourth-seeded Indiana in the quarterfinals, 2-1-2.
"It was a good start to the tournament," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "We hit a lot of good shots and Michigan is a tough opponent. I'm excited going into tomorrow. We got off to some good starts and we kept the momentum going, which is important in a short, match-play event like this. It shows that we came ready to play."
At the No. 1 position, junior Thomas Pieters defeated Chris O'Neill, 4 and 2. Pieters won three of four holes from Nos. 3-6 for an early two-up lead, then added hole victories on Nos. 11 and 12 to go ahead four with six holes to play. O'Neill got one back on No. 13, but the pair played even over the next two holes before Pieters won No. 16 to seal the match.
Freshman Charlie Danielson won consecutive holes on Nos. 8 and 9 to go up one at the turn, but Michigan senior Matt Alessi grabbed a two-stroke lead with wins on Nos. 11, 13 and 14. But Danielson didn't give in, squaring the match with a win on No. 16 and playing even on the final two holes to halve the match.
Freshman Thomas Detry played even through four holes with Michigan's Brett McIntosh, but Detry made a run toward the end of the front nine, winning Nos. 5, 6 and 8 to go 3 up. He added victories on Nos. 11 and 12 and played even on 13 and 14, winning 5 and 4 as he lost only two holes in the entire match.
Sophomore Brian Campbell started hot, winning four of the first six holes to take a 3-up lead. He added wins on Nos. 9 and 10, then halved the next five holes to beat Noori Hyun 4 and 3.
Senior Mason Jacobs also played well from his No. 6 position, taking his first lead with a win on No. 5 and adding victories on Nos. 7 and 8 before giving a hole away on No. 9 for a two-up lead at the turn. Michigan's Andrew Yeager won No. 10 to pull within one-up, but Jacobs pulled out victories on Nos. 11 and 12. Yeager won No. 13 to get within two-up, but Jacobs sandwiched hole wins on Nos. 15 and 17 around a Yeager victory on No. 16 to win the match, 3 and 1.
The Illini get back on the course at 6:30 a.m. CT on Saturday when they square off with fifth-seeded Ohio State, which won a pair of matches on Friday. The other semifinal match features seventh-seeded Michigan State, which upset No. 2 Northwestern in the quarterfinals, and third-seeded Iowa, which topped Purdue.
Illinois def. Michigan, 4-0-1