Danielson, Illini Rally in Day 3 at Olympia Fields
Oct. 2, 2012
The conditions were a little tougher on Tuesday than they were on Monday at the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational with winds picking up for much of the day, Illinois responded. The Illini had the second or third best team score throughout much of the round before finishing in a three-way tie for 10th in the 14-team event.
At the heart of the surge was freshman Charlie Danielson, who posted Illinois' first red number of the tournament with a three-under par 67 on the 7,080-yard par-70 Olympia Field South Course. Starting on the back nine, Danielson birdied three holes before the turn and nearly played bogey free golf with just one over par number on the course's toughest hole, the par-four sixth. That hole produced just five birdies from the 70 players who played the hole in the third and final round. Danielson responded with a birdie on the 18th to finish in a tie for 12th in the 70-man field at +6 for the tournament, Illinois' best finish.
"The first two days I got off to a slow start, but today the first four holes I stuck it (on the green)," Danielson said. "Although I made just one of them, I began to get comfortable. From there I made a couple of birdies. Then towards the back nine I made the par putts I needed to and then birdied my last hole."
"Charlie Danielson's 67 is what we've been looking forward to all week," Small said. "For a freshman to come here in this field and on this golf course and respond like that is pretty impressive. Charlie is coming along fine. He has a lot of talent and we're excited about his future."
For the first time in the tournament's seven-year history, the OFCC/Fighting Illini Invitational has a repeat winner as Stanford's Patrick Rodgers duplicated his effort last year on the OFCC North Course with a victory this season on the South Course. Rodgers was the only player to break par, finishing the tournament at -3, five strokes in front of a five-way tie for second between Sebastien Cappelen and Austin Cook of Arkansas, Brinson Paolini of Duke, Nicholas Lasole of Northwestern and Daniel Berger of Florida State.
Arkansas entered the day with an 11-shot cushion in the team chase, and, although the Razorbacks' ran into some trouble on Tuesday, they completed a 13-shot victory over a surging Florida Gators' team that finished with the day's best round, a six-over par 286. Arkansas ends the 54-hole event at +14 followed by Florida (+27), Florida State (+29), Duke (+33) and Stanford (+33).
Illinois finished the tournament at +47 after a 295 (+15), tied with Clemson and Indiana. Sophomore Brian Campbell finished in a tie for 25th at +10 after a 76 while sophomore Alex Burge tied for 37th at +14. Freshman David Kim bounced back with a 74 to move into a tie for 52nd at +18.
"The tournament gave us nothing but a good experience," Danielson said. "It showed where we are both individually and as a team. We have nowhere to go but forward from here."
"There's a certain mindset that we want our team to play," Small concluded. "I think they are getting closer to that. This course exposes a lot of those issues. It was a tough week on the result side for us, but on the development side, I thought it was very positive."
After playing three straight weekends, the Illini will take a couple of weeks off from competition before ending the fall at the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational Oct. 21-23 in Windermere, Fla.