Luke Guthrie had Illinois' top round in Saturday's Tinervin Cup.
March 2, 2011
Park Ridge, Ill. - Illinois junior Luke Guthrie has been named the Big Ten Men's Golfer of the Week. The Quincy, Ill., native helped the Illini to an 8.5-0.5 victory over Illinois State to win the Tinervin Cup on Saturday. It was the eighth straight victory by Illinois in the event. Now Guthrie, ranked 11th in the Golfweek rankings individually, and his teammates begin the spring stroke play schedule March 7-8 in Lafayette, La.
Guthrie, who was named to the Ben Hogan watch list last week, vaulted up the rankings thanks to claiming his first collegiate victory at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational against a national caliber field in October. On Saturday, he opened the Tinervin Cup by pairing with teammate Scott Langley to defeat Illinois State's Eric Meir and Jeff Kellen, 1 up, in the first fourball match. He then followed by shooting a 2-under 69 to defeat Meir by 10 strokes in the No. 1 singles match.
"I like my progress," Guthrie said. "I just have to keep getting better every day and hopefully the wins fall in place."
Illinois will play a match against Louisiana-Lafayette on Saturday then participate in the 26th Annual Louisiana Classics tournament on Monday and Tuesday. The 54-hole event features 36 holes on Monday and the final round on Tuesday at the 6,898-yard, par-72 Oakboure Country Club.
Last year, the Illini finished second by two strokes to LSU in the event. Illinois' Scott Langley shot a seven-under par 209, which included back-to-back 68s, and finished second in the tournament by one stroke individually to the Tigers' Andrew Loupe.
The Illini are No. 7 in the latest Golf World/Nike Coaches poll and sixth in the Golfweek computer rankings. LSU, who is in the Louisiana Classics field again this year, checks in at No. 9 according to both the poll and the computer. Langley is seventh in the World Amateur Golf Rankings while Loupe is No. 34 in the Golfweek collegiate rankings.
The rest of the 15-team field includes many teams who Illinois head coach Mike Small calls "sneaky good." It includes (Golfweek rankings in parentheses) Kent State (38), Tulsa (44), SMU (51), SE Louisiana (66), Memphis (78), Houston (81), South Alabama (83), Louisiana-Lafayette (97), Texas State (107), Kansas (108), Southern Mississippi (115), UAB (117) and Arkansas-Little Rock (123).
"The first two events of the spring were match play, which are fun and something different," Guthrie said. "Getting into our stroke play seems like getting back to normal. We're anxious to register a score and see where we are. I think we're ready to make a run, we just have to keep building every tournament."
"The first two events were designed to knock the rust off and just get some competition." Small said. "The results didn't count for NCAA, but this week they do. We're trying to change the mindset of our players to get out of the thoughts about mechanics and go play and produce a score. Our goal is try to build momentum for April and May when it really counts."