Thomas Pieters and the Illini head south to the Louisiana Classics tournament on Monday and Tuesday.
March 1, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois will return to familiar territory early next week when it competes in the 28th annual Louisiana Classics tournament March 4-5 at the Oakbourne Country Club in Lafayette, La. This will mark the fourth-straight year and sixth time in the last seven seasons that the Illini have participated in the event on the par-72, 6,898-yard course.
The tournament begins Monday with 36 holes, starting with an 8 a.m. shotgun start. The second round is set to tee off at approximately 1 p.m. Tuesday's final round is scheduled for an 8 a.m. start. Fans can follow the action at GolfStat.com, and the Louisiana Classics is providing free live video (Day 1 | Day 2) of the action on holes No. 9 and 18 throughout the tournament.
"We've been coming to this tournament for a long time and we're received very well down there by members of the club and the people running the tournament," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "It's a good field where we will have to play well to be competitive. And I like that this time of year. It's got two top-25 teams and a lot of tough mid-major teams that will jump up and bite you if you aren't sharp."
The Orange and Blue won the tournament in 2011 and finished second to LSU in 2010. Illinois placed 11th last season as Luke Guthrie led the charge, tying for fourth with a four-under-par 212. Both Thomas Pieters and Mason Jacobs will be making their third trip to the Louisiana Classics, as they lead the Illini into the tournament. Brian Campbell also played in last year's event.
The Illini enter the week at No. 19 in the Golf World/Nike coaches' poll and No. 20 in the Golfweek computer rankings. LSU is No. 12 and No. 14, respectively, while Kent State is the other ranked team in the field at No. 22 and 24, respectively. Houston is No. 35 in the computer rankings, while Tulsa is No. 39 to round out top-50 schools in the field according to Golfweek. Louisiana Tech also is in the field and the Bulldogs are receiving votes in the coaches' poll.