Illinois Wins Louisiana Classics by 8 Strokes
March 5, 2013
LAFAYETTE, La. - Junior Thomas Pieters fired a 4-under-par 68 and No. 19 Illinois carded a 1-under 287 in the final round to win the championship of the 28th annual Louisiana Classics by eight strokes with a total score of 866 (+2) at the par-72, 6,898-yard Oakbourne Country Club on Tuesday. It is the Illini's second victory at the tournament in the last three years, besting a pair of top-25 teams in No. 12 LSU and No. 22 Kent State.
Pieters finished tied for fifth (-1) after starting the day in 20th, and sophomore Brian Campbell tied for 11th after shooting a 71 to finish +1 for the tournament. LSU's Zach Wright was the tournament medalist, playing as an individual, with a final score of -7. Senior Mason Jacobs and freshman Thomas Detry tied for 17th at +3, while freshman Charlie Danielson tied for 26th at +5.
Sophomore Alex Burge, who also was playing as an individual, finished tied for 13th (+2) after shooting a 74 Tuesday, while freshman David Kim tied for 33rd (+7) after going 1-under-par in the final round.
"It was a solid tournament," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "We put up some good scores on a course that wasn't easy. We led wire-to-wire, so that was good. Thomas (Pieters)' eraser score, a round that erases a bad score, that was huge. For him to step up like that after not being sharp yesterday was very important. He got his mind back in the right place today, so that was good to see."
The tournament victory gives the Illini a pair of top-three finishes in their first two stroke-play events of the spring season and adds another title to the victories at the Big Ten Match Play Championships, and the Wolf Run Invitational and D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate in the fall.
"We're proving that we have a young team but a deep team," Small said. "When Alex Burge, our No. 7 guy, can go out and finish 13th as an individual, that's a really good thing. It's going to continue to be competitive within the group for playing spots, and that is going to bode well for us."
Pieters started hot, notching birdies on his first two holes after starting on No. 3. He bogeyed No. 5 and added birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 before bogeying Nos. 8 and 9. But he cleaned it up a bit on the back nine, shooting -3 coming in for a 4-under-par round. Campbell was the other Illini under par on the day, as he righted the ship after bogeys on three of his first six holes. He birdied Nos. 8 and 9, then added three more on 11, 13 and 14 to go with a bogey on No. 12. It was Campbell's second round under par on the weekend, the only Illinois golfer to shoot multiple red numbers.
Senior Mason Jacobs and freshmen Charlie Danielson and Thomas Detry all shot 2-over-par 74s on the day. Jacobs played a solid back nine, only bogeying No. 16, while Danielson searched for consistency throughout the round with four birdies and six bogeys. Detry had an eagle on the par-5 11th and stood at even-par through 16 before bogeying the final two holes for his 74.
The Illini return home for two weeks before playing in the Desert Shootout in Goodyear, Ariz., March 21-23.
*Competing as an individual and does not count toward team score