Thomas Pieters finished sixth individually at the Wolf Run Invitational
Sept. 16, 2012
Zionsville, Ind. -
In four of the last five years, Illinois has opened the season at the Wolf Run Invitational. Three times the Illini have started the season with a tournament victory. For the second straight round, the Illini had the best team score of the round, using a 288 on Sunday to post a three-shot victory over Indiana (855), finishing at three-over par 852. Ohio State (865), the leader after 36 holes, dropped to third after shooting a 299 on the final day. Texas Tech (868) and Kentucky (879) round out the top five.
"The course was difficult all weeked and I was hoping we could survive it," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "Our scores were decent and we saw everyone play some really solid golf and make a lot of progress out there."
The victory was Illinois 24th as a team since the 2007-08 season. The Illini used the same formula they have in posting wins the past five years, have at least one player score low and have balance throughout the line-up. In this tournament, they had a different played have the low score in each round, freshman Charlie Danielson in round one (69), sophomore Brian Campbell in round two (67), and junior All-American Thomas Pieters (67) in round three. Pieters went from 17th at the start of the day to sixth to finish the tournament at -1. On Sunday, Illinois threw out a 75 and used scores of 67 (Pieters), 73 (freshman Thomas Detry), 73 (senior Mason Jacobs) and 75 (Danielson and Campbell).
"Thomas Pieters played like an All-American today," Small said. "The scores were higher today than they were yesterday, so it was a big-time round for him, which really helped us. Thomas Detry played two-under his last eight holes. Everyone really contributed to the win."
The Illini had four players in the top 10 and six players in the top 13. Danielson, Detry and Jacobs tied for 10th at +3 (216), while sophomore Alex Burge and freshman David Kim tied for 13th at +4 (217). Burge and Kim were competing as individuals. At -11, Indiana's Brant Peaper ran away with the individual title, finishing seven strokes in front of Charlie Bull of Akron and Finley Ewing IV of Texas Tech.
The Illini finished second at Wolf Run in 2008 before winning titles in 2009 and 2010. They did not compete in the event last year. Illinois also finished second at the 2011 NCAA Regional held at the course. Illinois now tries to defend its title at the D.A. Weibring Invitational next weekend before hosting the Olympia Fields Fighting Illini Invitational Sept 30-Oct. 2.
"You're only as good as your last tournament," Small noted. "We are proud of the way our players have responded from the summer with great qualifying rounds and a solid first tournament. I think we have some depth this year and it really showed at Wolf Run, but we also have some things we need to work on and improve. Hopefully we can kept it going."