Illini, Pieters Lead Big Ten after 36 Holes
April 26, 2013
FRENCH LICK, Ind. - The University of Illinois leads by two strokes over Minnesota and junior Thomas Pieters shares the lead at -4 with Indiana's Brant Peaper after 36 holes of 72 at the 2013 Big Ten Championships at the Pete Dye Course on Friday. Pieters shot matching rounds of -2 in the morning and afternoon, and is one of only three golfers who finished below par. The Illini tee off in round three of the tournament Saturday at 9:20 a.m. CT.
Sophomore Brian Campbell rebounded from a tough morning to fire a -2 in the second round and jump into a tie for ninth place.
In addition, freshman Charlie Danielson is tied for 15th at +5, freshman Thomas Detry is tied for 26th at +7 and sophomore Alex Burge is tied for 33rd at +8. Pieters and Danielson are tied with Minnesota's Erik Van Rooyen for the tournament's most birdies with nine, and Pieters' 4.38 average on par-5s is tied for the lead with Iowa's Brian Bullington. Danielson also shares the tournament lead on par-3 scoring (2.75) with Van Rooyen and Iowa's Steven Ihm.
"Thomas (Pieters) played solid," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "Two-under-par on this golf course is really solid. He had flashes of good play, he had some stretches where it wasn't the best. But everybody has those stretches. What was good about Thomas' bad stretches was he stopped them and turned them around.
"Charlie (Danielson) shot an even-par and Thomas was two-under in the morning. This afternoon, Brian Campbell came back with a two-under after a round where he struggled in the morning. And the other guys played good, too. When you throw out a 77 each round, that's pretty good on this course. But we've got a lot of golf to go; it's only halftime."
In the opening round, Pieters made the turn at even par but bogeyed Nos. 12 and 13. He quickly rebounded, though, chipping in for eagle at No. 14 before dropping consecutive birdies at Nos. 15 and 16 to swing back to -2. He made par on the final two holes to card a first-round 70.
In the afternoon, Pieters birdied Nos. 1 and 3 but notched bogeys on Nos. 4 and 5. Once again, though, he fought through adversity with birdies on Nos. 6 and 7 to make the turn at -2. He carded a bogey on 12 but birdied Nos. 14 and 15 to move to -3. But he bogeyed No. 16 and a birdie putt on No. 18 lipped out as he settled for a 70 to go -4 on the day.
Danielson was another great example of battling adversity in the first round. He went to +3 through eight holes after a triple-bogey on No. 6 and a bogey on No. 8. But he fought back with birdies on Nos. 9 and 10 before bogeying No. 11. Danielson steadied his hand from there out, carding birdies on Nos. 13 and 15 to get back to even par. Danielson also rebounded from a 4-over-par front nine in the second round to shoot only +1 on the back nine, including a birdie on No. 18. He stands tied for 15th at +5 for the tournament.
Campbell struggled to find a groove for much of the morning round, carding four straight bogeys on Nos. 5-8. He added three more bogeys on 10, 11 and 13, before snagging birdies on Nos. 15 and 16 to get to +5 for the round. But he played his second round completely differently, recording 16 pars and birdies on Nos. 13 and 17 for a smooth two-under-par round that vaulted him into a tie for ninth place overall.