Thomas Pieters and the Illini return to action Monday and Tuesday at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate.
Feb. 16, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -A week after lapping the field at the 2013 Big Ten Match Play Championships, the Fighting Illini return to the Gulf Coast for the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate tournament in Mobile, Ala., on Monday and Tuesday, Feb. 18-19. The field includes four top-25 teams and five schools from the Southeastern Conference, as well as a few more traditionally strong teams.
The 54-hole tournament will be held at the par-72, 7,212-yard Magnolia Grove Crossings Golf Course, with 36 holes being played on Feb. 18 after an 8 a.m. shotgun start. Illinois finished fourth at the event with a two-over-par 866 last season, with Thomas Pieters finishing tied for fifth with a two-under 214 and Luke Guthrie tying for seventh with a one-under 215.
"This tournament has a good field and the weather won't be as good as it was in Florida last week, so I'm excited to see how we handle those adverse conditions," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "I want to see how well we stay in the moment. Early in the year, sometimes guys get ahead of themselves or get frustrated, so I'm excited about establishing a good mindset to accomplish that. In a 16-team tournament, we have 15 head-to-head match-ups, so it's important to play well and start racking up wins."
In addition to the host South Alabama Jaguars and No. 19 Illinois, the field includes No. 14 LSU, No. 17 Vanderbilt and No. 23 Wake Forest. Also in the tournament are defending champion Middle Tennessee, Akron, Arkansas State, Auburn, Illinois State, Kentucky, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana Tech, Memphis, Mississippi State and Southern Mississippi.
As they did in the past two events, junior Thomas Pieters, freshmen Charlie Danielson and Thomas Detry will lead the way for the Illini. Detry is coming off a performance in last weekend's Big Ten Match Play event that earned his first career Big Ten Golfer of the Week honor, while Pieters and Danielson both have played well in the first two spots in the Illinois lineup during Big Ten Match Play and the season-opening Tinervin Cup.