Chris DeForest won his fifth tournament of his collegiate career.
Oct. 3, 2010
Normal, Ill. -
Conditions were much better on Sunday, which saw the completion of the second round and the entire third, and so were the scores. No. 14 Illinois, which held a five-shot lead after the first round, shot a final round five-under par 279 to run away with the team title at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate on the campus of Illinois State University.
The Illini finished the tournament at 875, some 28 strokes in front of second-place Iowa State (903). Senior Chris DeForest (74-76-66) won his second D.A. Weibring title individually and fifth of his career after a final round five-under par 66. DeForest finished at 216 (+3) for 54 holes and posted a three-stroke victory over teammates senior Scott Langley (75-72-72) and freshman Thomas Pieters (77-71-71), who tied for second at 219 (+6). DeForest also won the D.A. Weibring as a freshman in 2007, which included a final-round 63, an 18-hole school record.
"I eagled the first hole and had a lot of difficult saves for par," DeForest said. "I was also more confident on the birdie holes. I was pleased with my round because I felt I saved everything I could."
"You could tell Chris was going to have a good day because you could see in his eyes that he was focused and ready to play," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "He scored well and didn't get flustered from some bad shots."
Nebraska (909), Northern Iowa (913) and Louisville (913) round out the top five in the 18-team field. The Illini had all five players in the top 20 individually, including the top three. Junior Luke Guthrie (77-75-74) tied for 15th at 226 (+13) while sophomore Mason Jacobs (76-82-70) tied for 20th in the 93-man field at 228 (+15) after shooting a final round one-under par.
"We finished strong, which is really encouraging," Small said. "It's always tougher to go to a tournament when you're the favorite. To finish off the way we did and to show the depth that we did this weekend demonstrates it was a total team effort."
Perhaps what was most encouraging was the play of Pieters, who was competing in just his third tournament as an Illini.
"His performance in the last two rounds and to feel that he helped his team was a confidence-booster for Thomas," Small said. "He is very talented, but has a lot to learn. We're excited about his future."
Illinois wins its second tournament in three events in a fall season that has just one tourney left - the Jack Nicklaus Invitational on Oct. 11-12.
"This was a good springboard for next week," Small said. "The guys took it upon themselves to pull away. I was really encouraged with everyone's play."
"I feel like we are getting some good team chemistry and building some momentum," DeForest said. "Hopefully we can keep it going."