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    Illinois receives top seed in first ever Big Ten Match Play
    Scott Langley is ranked 15th in the nation individually

    Scott Langley is ranked 15th in the nation individually

    Jan. 27, 2009

    Coral Springs, Fla. -

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    Illinois has earned the top seed in the first ever Big Ten match play event, which will be held Feb. 13-14 in at Heron Bay Golf Club in Coral Springs Fla. The Illini, which take a no. 5 national ranking into the spring season, get a buy in the first round and face the Northwestern-Penn State winner in the second round.

    The Big Ten will be the first conference to emulate the new NCAA Golf Championship format in the 2009 Big Ten Match Play Championship. The Big Ten Network will broadcast the inaugural tournament on a date to be announced.

    Beginning this season, the NCAA title will begin with 54 holes of stroke play to narrow the field to eight teams. Those eight squads then will compete in match play to determine the national champion. The Big Ten schools will get an early taste of match play in their own tournament to start the spring season.

    Match play will include five head-to-head matches between players from each team. The matches will not be halved. If necessary, a playoff will be used to determine the match winner. The team claiming at least three of the five matches will advance to the next round.

    On Friday, Feb. 13, teams will participate in the first round and quarterfinals before contesting the semi-finals and championship on Saturday, Feb. 14. Admission is free to all spectators at Heron Bay, which was named one of the Top 10 daily fee courses in Florida by Golf Magazine.

    An opening ceremony will kick off the event at 7 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 12, at Heron Bay. Big Ten fans and family are welcome; contact Jeff Hunt at (954) 796-2011 or jhunt@heronbaygolfclub.net for more information or to sign up.

    The Big Ten Match Play Championship and the Big Ten Championship are the only nationally televised golf events in the country. They will mark the third and fourth national telecasts of golf on the Big Ten Network, which is available to more than 70 million homes nationwide. The Network previously televised the 2007 Big Ten/Pac-10 Challenge and the 2008 Big Ten Championship.

    All 11 Big Ten schools enter the 2009 spring season ranked in the top-80 in the nation, with seven of those schools in the top-50. No. 5 Illinois and No. 7 Indiana are the conference's top-10 representatives, followed by No. 35 Michigan State, No. 37 Michigan, No. 43 Iowa, No. 49 Ohio State, No. 50 Minnesota, No. 55 Northwestern, No. 58 Penn State, No. 67 Purdue and No. 80 Wisconsin.

    Seven conference individuals from six different schools are ranked in the top-40 in the nation: No. 3 Jorge Campillo (Indiana), No. 15 Scott Langley (Illinois), No. 18 Vaughn Snyder (Ohio State), No. 24 Kevin Foley (Penn State), No. 26 David Lipsky (Northwestern), No. 27 Alex Martin (Indiana) and No. 39 Cole Peevler (Iowa). In addition, No. 55 Jack Newman of Michigan State won the 2008 U.S. Amateur Public Links title and received an invitation to play in the 2009 Masters.

    For six years (1997-2002) the PGA TOUR`S Honda Classic called Heron Bay home, crowning champions Stuart Appelby, Mark Calcavecchia, Vijay Singh, Dudley Hart, Jesper Parnevik and Matt Kuchar.

    In December 2008, Heron Bay became the new home of the prestigious Dixie Amateur. Previous winners include Hal Sutton (2), Jasper Parnevik, Andy Bean, Brandt Snedeker, Angela Park and many other PGA and LPGA stars. The Big Ten Match Play Championship and the VH1 Save the Music Celebrity Golf Classic are just two of many exciting events coming to Heron Bay in 2009.

    Heron Bay opened in 1996 as the centerpiece of a 1,500 acre development of truly upscale homes, some might call them castles. Unlike most golf course communities, golfers and the homes all are separated by large canals and lakes. The course itself is laid out over 240 acres giving it a completely different feeling from most golf course community developments. No squeezes and no tricked up holes, just 18 championship caliber holes winding along large waterways.

    PGA TOUR player and Golf Course Architect Mark McCumber was charged with the task of creating a new home for the Honda Classic. In doing so he had to balance the demands of satisfying the best golfers in the world while creating a course that could be enjoyed by the public. McCumber`s philosophy that courses are brought to the championship level by pin positioning and altering course conditions fit him well for the task. Heron Bay was voted as one of America`s 10 Best New Public Golf Courses by Golf Digest Magazine when it opened.

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