#6 Illini Finish Ninth at Valspar Invite
March 25, 2014
PALM CITY, Fla. - The wind kicked up and the scores reflected the tough conditions at the par-71, 7,076-yard Floridian Golf Club on Tuesday, as No. 6 Illinois stumbled to a 12-over-par team score of 296 to finish ninth at The Valspar Invitational at Floridian presented by Insperity. Sophomore Charlie Danielson and senior Jonathan Hauter both carded 3-over 74s to tie for 15th at -1 overall.
Georgia Tech was one of only two schools to shoot below par on the day and the Yellow Jackets took an eight-stroke victory. Ramblin' Wreck junior Ollie Schniederjans carded the second-best round of the day with a 4-under-par 67 to take medalist honors by two shots over LSU's Stewart Jolly.
"I think we're all disappointed because we were in position to contend for (the title) four strokes back with one round to go, and we didn't play very well," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "It was just a bad day. We didn't do the things well that we always do. We were excited to play today because conditions were tough and we were playing from behind, and that can be a good spot to be in. But we weren't able to capitalize on it. We got behind it a little and pressed, and things got worse.
"Guys couldn't sustain their play. They were in and out of playing well both days of this tournament, and today they all kind of struggled. As a coach, I'm not going to read too much into it. Sometimes this just happens with a single round. Some days you just have to chalk it up to the game and move on. But we also understand that this kind of round can't happen the closer we get to the championship part of the season. We have to learn from it so it doesn't happen a month from now when the stakes are higher."
Sophomore Thomas Detry posted Illinois' best round of the day with a 2-over 73. He battled his was to a 2-over-par front nine that included three bogeys and a lone birdie on No. 6. Detry bogeyed the par-4 10th to fall to +3 but recovered with consecutive birdies on 12 and 13. Looking for a late rally, the Belgian couldn't find it as he bogeyed the par-4 18th to finish +2 on the day.
Danielson had just a few blips on his 74, making bogey on Nos. 3 and 6 but recovering with three straight pars to turn at +2. He stayed solid, firing seven consecutive pars before making birdie at the par-4 17th to pull within a shot of par on the day. But a double-bogey on 18 left him at +3.
Hauter started well with pars on his first six holes and a birdie at the par-5 7th. But he bogeyed four of five holes from No. 9 to No. 13 to land at +3, and that's where he finished. Brian Campbell posted a 75 on the day, thanks to four bogeys, a double-bogey and two birdies. The middle of his round was his weak spot, as he bogeyed No. 9 and posted a double-bogey at 10 to slip from +1 to +4 in short order.
David Kim started the Illini's round well with a birdie on No. 1 and he added another birdie at the par-5 7th. But bogeys on Nos. 9 and 11 left him at even and his round began to unravel. He played the final six holes 6-over to finish with a 6-over-par 77 that didn't figure into Illinois' team score.
Illinois returns to action April 4-5 at the 3M Augusta Invitational in Augusta, Ga., the weekend before The Masters.