April 4, 2009
Illinois won its school-record fifth tournament of the season Saturday with a 14-stroke victory at the Marshall Invitational. The Illini shot a final round four-under par 280 to finish at three-over par 855 overall, bettering second place Xavier and Ball State (869), who entered the final round just four strokes behind Illinois.
Illini junior Zach Barlow won the tournament individually. Barlow shot a final round even par 71 to finish at -2 (211), claiming a one-stroke victory over Xavier's Sebastian MacLean.
Barlow credits an up-and-down par from a greenside bunker at no. 11 in being the key hole in the victory.
"My putting has been struggling a bit," Barlow said. "This weekend I was able to string together some birdies and get my putter going."
The tournament marked the second straight weekend that Illinois has won the team and individual title. A week ago Scott Langley's medalist performance helped lead the Illini to the championship at the FAU Spring Break Invitational. Barlow claimed his second tournament title of his career, having also won the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational.
Illinois' five tournament titles betters the four the Illini won during the 1987-88 season.
"Our mission has been to continue to get better and play hard until the end of the year," said Illinois head coach Mike Small. "We played two solid rounds and anytime you sweep the team and individual titles, it's a positive weekend."
Illinois had five players finish in the top ten, including freshman Mason Jacobs, who was playing as an individual. Jacobs shot a two-over par 73 to tie teammate Chris DeForest for fourth at two-over par 215. DeForest equaled Barlow's final round 71.
Freshman Luke Guthrie had the best round of the day for Illinois with a four-under par 67 to move into eighth at +4 (217). Langley tied for ninth at +5 (218) after a 71 while junior Matt Hoffman tied for 20th at +7 (220) after shooting 72 on Saturday.
Following Xavier and Ball State in the 16-team field were William & Mary (880) and DePaul (882).
Illinois has just one tournament remaining prior to the Big Ten Championships, the Boilermaker Invitational April 18-19 in West Lafayette, Ind., the site of last year's NCAA Championships.