Sept. 15, 2012
Zionsville, Ind. -
The last three times that Illinois has competed at the Wolf Run Invitational (from 2008-10), the Illini have come out on top. A chance at a fourth will be hard-fought as the top three teams stand just two strokes apart after 36 of 54 holes. Four Big Ten teams make up the top five teams heading into Sunday's final round.
The Illini got off to a slow start, shooting a 289 in Saturday's morning round, but picked up the pace in the afternoon to post the best round of the day with a six-under par 278. With a 36-hole total of 567 (-1), Illinois is in second place, trailing leader Ohio State (566) by one stroke and sitting one stroke in front of third-place Indiana (567). Texas Tech (574) and Michigan State (581) round out the top five.
Illinois head coach Mike Small felt that this year's team would have as much depth has his team has had in couple of years and that proved true on Saturday. Freshman Charlie Danielson had the only under-par first round for Illinois, posting a two-under par 69. After a second-round one-over par 71, Danielson is tied for seventh in individually at -1.
"Charlie played solid all day today," Small said. "His demeanor, his body language and his focus was strong from the start."
Illinois took two individuals to go with the five competing for the Illini in the team race. Of those seven on the team, five are within two strokes of each other and all seven are within six strokes of one another. Sophomore Alex Burge, competing as an individual, is tied with Danielson after rounds of 71-70.
"Charlie gave us that eraser score in the morning," Small said. "In the afternoon, it was a total team effort. We also want the lowest drop score you can get. Anytime you throw out a 72, it says something about how strong of performance we had as a team."
Indeed, all five members competing for the team shot +1 or better in round two on the challenging Wolf Run golf course just north of Indianapolis, paced by sophomore Brian Campbell's 67. Campbell, who opened with a 75, is one stroke behind Danielson and Burge, in a tie for ninth at even par. Freshman Belgian Thomas Detry and senior Mason Jacobs had identical rounds of 73-70 and are tied for 11th at +1. Defending NCAA champion Thomas Pieters is tied for 17th at +3 after rounds of 74-71. Freshman David Kim (73-73), competing as a individual, is one stroke behind Pieters in a tie for 22nd at +4.
"Our freshmen will have some ups and downs along the way, but we're certainly excited for how they performed in their first collegiate event," Small said. "They were a big key to the day."
Indiana's Brant Peaper and Ohio State's Boo Timko are the individual leaders at -7 followed by Texas Tech's Finley Ewing IV (138), Eastern Michigan's Spencer Slade, Ohio State's Tee-K Kelly (2) and Akron's Charlie Bull (-2).