Illini Third after Day 1 at Isleworth
Oct. 21, 2012
Windermere, Fla. -
Playing in a field that includes eight ranked teams, 13th-ranked Illinois more than held its own in the first round of the Isleworth Collegiate Invitational. The Illini are third after day one which means they will be paired with the top two teams in the tournament and the country, California and Texas, during Monday's second round.
"It's a strong field from top to bottom," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "To be in this position is what you want after the first day. We believe in ourselves. To have three freshmen and a sophomore in this event to perform the way they did today is a big positive boost."
Illinois shot a first round three-over par 291 to sit just behind No. 1 Cal (-4) and No. 2 Texas (+3) after 18 holes. No. 17 New Mexico is in fourth at +5 followed by No. 12 LSU (+6), No. 3 Alabama (+8) and host Central Florida.
Illinois had just two double bogeys on the day while tapping in 14 birdies. Sophomore Brian Campbell is in sixth place individually after a first round one-under par 71 that included four birdies. California's Michael Kim leads the field at -5 followed by the world's No. 5 ranked amateur player Jordan Speith of Texas (-4), Cal's Michael Weaver (-4), Texas' Cody Gribble (-3) and Taylor Moore of Arkansas (-3).
"Brian played solid all day, which was encouraging," Small said. "More importantly every time out we're playing more and more stretches of good golf. The young guys are catching on and everybody had bright spots to his round."
Illinois' freshman David Kim is in a nine-way tie for seventh at even par. Kim's round of 72 Sunday included four birdies and four bogeys. Freshman Charlie Danielson is tied for 16th at +1 while senior Mason Jacobs and freshman Thomas Detry are tied for 36th in the 75-player field at +3 after shooting a first round 75.
"The course is so fast, but we managed the course well and didn't put ourselves in position where it would be a tough up and down," Small said. "We only made a couple of doubles (bogeys) all day. The course is a very penal golf course, but we played very smartly and confidently."
Illinois tees off between 8:40-9:20 a.m. CT on Monday playing alongside California and Texas. Fans can follow live scoring at golfstatresults.com . Small is anxious to see how the young team responds the rest of the week.
"We're here to win the tournament," Small said. "To have three freshmen and a sophomore ante up and play this kind of golf is exciting for me. We have given them permission to be good and go be All-Americans and they're taking it and running with it. Yet, every day is different. Tomorrow is going to be a good challenge for us. It's going to be fun to see how we respond."