Illini, Campbell Win NCAA Sugar Grove Regional
May 17, 2014
SUGAR GROVE, Ill. - The Fighting Illini grabbed their second-straight regional title thanks to a 7-over-par 295, the second-best round of the day, while junior Brian Campbell (Irvine, California) notched an even-par 72 to take medalist honors by four strokes over USC's Anthony Paolucci. Campbell finished at -5 for the tournament and Illinois finished at +16 overall, edging UAB by two shots and clinching the team's seventh-straight trip to the NCAA Championships.
The Blazers, Purdue, USC and California will join the Illini as qualifiers from the Rich Harvest Farms (par 72, 7,151 yards) Regional at the NCAA Championships at Prairie Dunes Country Club in Hutchinson, Kansas, starting on Friday, May 23. Kent State's Taylor Pendrith qualified for NCAA Championships as the low individual in the regional not on a qualifying team. He finished tied for third at +2 overall.
Illinois' seventh-straight trip to NCAA Championships is tied with Texas A&M for the fourth-longest active streak in college golf. Only UCLA (12), USC (8) and Texas (8) have longer streaks. The tournament victory is Illinois' fourth this season.
Sophomore Thomas Detry posted a 2-over-par 74 to finish tied for 11th at +6 overall, while sophomore Charlie Danielson notched an even-par 72 - his best round of the tournament - to finish tied for 15th at +7. Senior Jonathan Hauter's 5-over 77 landed him in a tie for 25th at +11, while junior Alex Burge's final-round 82 left him tied for 53rd.
"Being in the position heading into today where we might have been comfortable to make (NCAA Championships), you want to avoid a bad round but still want to play well enough to win," Illini head coach Mike Small said. "I'm proud of the guys for playing from strength all day and worrying about what was in front of them, not behind them. We started off really solid then had a little hiccup in the middle, but a lot of teams had that today. Then we finished it well. Seven (NCAA Championships berths) in a row is pretty cool. That speaks volumes for these kids year after year.
"He had a big lead midway through the round but he persevered better than anybody all week," Small said of Campbell. "He had some tough stretches but fought back from it. Regional champ is big medal to have."
Campbell burned it from the start, making birdies at the par-5 2nd and par-4 4th holes, despite No. 4 playing as one of the course's toughest holes during the tournament. He added consecutive birdies on holes 6 and 7 to get to -4 early in his round and open up an eight-shot lead, standing at -9 overall. But he hit a rough patch, making four bogeys in his next five holes to fall back to even par on the day, -5 for the tournament.
Campbell rebounded, though, making three straight pars before a bogey at the par-3 16th left him at +1. He got it back with a birdie at the par-5 17th and just missed a 30-footer for birdie on 18, which he rolled in for par from three feet and an even-par 72 round to take home his second individual title this season.
Danielson fired his best round of the week and had his cleanest scorecard of the week, with only two birdies and two bogeys. He birdied the par-5 2nd but gave it back with a bogey at the par-3 5th hole. After 10 consecutive pars, he bogeyed the par-3 16th but recovered with a birdie at No. 17, then parred the final hole for his even-par 72.
Detry had a bit of an up-and-down round, making birdies on Nos. 2 and 6 on the front nine, but bogeys on Nos. 4 and 8 left him even at the turn. He bogeyed the par-4 10th but recovered with four consecutive pars. A bogey at the par-4 15th left him at +2 but he got a shot back with a birdie at No. 17. He bogeyed the par-4 18th, one of the toughest holes on the course all week, to finish with a 2-over 74.
Hauter played a mostly clean front nine before stumbling a bit in the middle of the round. A bogey at No. 4 and a birdie on the par-3 5th hole canceled each other out but a bogey on No. 9 left him at +1 at the turn. But that's where the round unraveled a bit, as Hauter double-bogeyed No. 10 and bogeyed the 11th hole to slide to +4. Another bogey at the par-4 14th left him at +5, but he regrouped to finish with four straight pars, including a nifty up-and-down save on No. 18, to card a 77.
Burge had a rough day after playing such a strong round on Friday, notching only two birdies in his final round of the regional while making eight bogeys and a pair of double-bogeys for his 82.