Hauter Paces Illini in Round 1 of OFCC/Illini Invite
Sept. 13, 2013
OLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. - With temperatures feeling much more fall-like than the past two weeks and winds gusting throughout the day in the first round of the Olympia Fields Country Club/Fighting Illini Invitational, fifth-year senior Jonathan Hauter quickly realized that he would have to rely on a hallmark of the University of Illinois men's golf program: a strong short game.
That was no more apparent than on the 18th hole when Hauter's approach landed near the left edge of the green with the pin in the upper right. But he stepped up and drained a 40-foot birdie putt to finish with a 1-over-par 71 in his first competitive round in 18 months, tying the second-best score of his career.
"It was definitely tough out there, but it kind of showed you who was ready to play today, who was ready to grind," Hauter said. "It felt great (to be in the lineup). I felt like I played well. My short game saved me a lot today, but with a day like that, that's what you have to rely on."
Hauter stands tied for fifth, four shots behind individual leader Trey Mullinax (Alabama), who carded a 3-under 67. Illini sophomore Thomas Detry is tied for 10th at +2 as the Illinois sits in a four-team tie for sixth place following a team score of 295 (+15). The Crimson Tide also lead the team race, holding a 10-stroke advantage over Oklahoma State at +1. But only eight strokes separate the second-place Cowboys and 12th-place Indiana.
"For the most part, it was a good start," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "Jonathan was a big plus. He hadn't played competitively for us for over a year and you could see that he wanted to play well. And that showed the team a lot. We're not going to have too many days where 7-over is our best score between (Brian) Campbell and (Charlie) Danielson. They're going to play better than that. To still be in this tournament and have a good, solid round is a positive."
Danielson recorded the Illini's first birdie of the season when he stuffed his approach on No. 3 within five feet and rolled it in. But his round took a downhill turn shortly thereafter, as he bogeyed three of the next four holes to make the turn at +2. He found the back nine even tougher, carding five bogeys and a double-bogey before notching a birdie on No. 18 to finish with a 78 (+8).
Playing behind Danielson, Hauter's drive on No. 1 landed in a fairway bunker and he took bogey. But he got it back with a birdie on No. 3. After a bogey on No. 5, he notched six straight pars. A birdie on No. 12 brought him back to even on the day, then he bogeyed No. 14 but birdied the par-5 15th. But a double-bogey on the par-4 17th left him at +2 leading into the 18th, where he rolled in the long birdie putt. Hauter's 71 ties the second-best score of his career, which he also registered at the 2011 Illini Spring Classic. His career-best round was a 69 at the 2012 Barona Collegiate Cup's opening round.
Sophomore David Kim played a solid front nine, bogeying No. 5 but notching a birdie on the par-3 6th. A double-bogey on the par-3 8th and a birdie on No. 9 left him +1 at the turn. But he bogeyed Nos. 10 and 11, then added a double-bogey on the par-5 15th to finish with a 5-over-par 75.
Sophomore Thomas Detry got off to a rough start, bogeying holes 2-4, but he righted the ship with three straight pars before carding a birdie on the par-3 8th to make the turn at +2. He added two bogeys and two birdies on the back nine to finish the day with a 72 (+2).
Junior Brian Campbell qualified No. 1 in Illinois' six rounds of qualifying, so he was the last Illini to play. He was mostly steady on the front side, with bogeys on Nos. 2 and 7 to turn at +2. But his round unraveled a bit on the back side, with bogeys on Nos. 11, 12, 14, 16 and 18 to come into the clubhouse at +7.
The Illini return to the Olympia Fields Country Club North Course at 9 a.m. on Saturday, and will play alongside Stanford and Florida State.