Senior Luke Guthrie (-1) led Illinois (+16) to the team and individual 36-hole lead on Friday at the Big Ten Championships.
April 27, 2012
FRENCH LICK, Ind. - Defending Big Ten champion Luke Guthrie (-1) led Illinois (+16) to the team and individual 36-hole lead on Friday at the Big Ten Championships in the quest for a fourth consecutive conference team title and repeat medalist honors. The Illini (592) opened the day with a first round 301, but came storming back in the second round with the lowest score of the tournament of 291 to earn a three-stroke lead over Michigan State (595) at the midway point. Four Illini golfers sit in the top 20 after day one.
"I was very proud of the way our guys responded in the second round today," head coach Mike Small said. "We have talked all year about the second 18 on the 36-hole day. They put the first round behind them and started off strong, which was very encouraging. We have been in this position before, but it's only halfway. Nothing has been accomplished yet."
Guthrie birdied his first two holes to start the tournament on his way to an even-par 72 in the first round, and carded five birdies on the back nine of the afternoon round to shoot a 1-under 71, which tied the second-best round of the day. The Quincy, Ill., native owns a two-stoke advantage over Northwestern's Sam Chien (+1).
"We need to continue taking care of what we can control and just take it one at a time," Small said. "This is a very hard golf course, but we are doing a good job of getting familiar with it. Luke has a lot of experience, and he understands there is still a long two days ahead of him. He just needs to stay patient and play the way he plays."
Sophomore Thomas Pieters turned in a consistent day, carding back-to-back 74s on the Pete Dye Course. The Nijlen, Belgium, native is tied for eighth at 148 (+4). Freshman Brian Campbell began the day with a 78 but bounced back strong with a second round 71 to tie Guthrie for the second-lowest round of the tournament. The Irvine, Calif., native is tied for 11th at 149 (+5). Redshirt junior Mason Jacobs posted scores of 77 and 75 and is tied for 20th at 152 (+8).
Saturday's third round will tee off at 9 a.m. ET, while the final round of the 72-hole event will be played on Sunday. Live scoring can be found on golfstat.com, while a full recap and results will be posted on fightingillini.com.
Big Ten Championships Results after 36 Holes
1st of 12 ILLINOIS 301-291 = 592 (+16)
1st Luke Guthrie 72-71 = 143 (-1)
T-8th Thomas Pieters 74-74 = 148 (+4)
T-11th Brian Campbell 78-71 = 149 (+5)
T-20th Mason Jacobs 77-75 = 152 (+8)
T-51st Alex Burge 81-80 = 161 (+17)