Freshman Brian Campbell and the Illini will play at the Insperity Augusta State Invitational from March 31-April 1.
March 30, 2012
AUGUSTA, Ga. - The Illinois men's golf team will continue spring action this weekend when it heads south for the Insperity Augusta State Invitational at Forest Hills Golf Club. Tournament play for the 54-hole event gets underway Saturday, March 31 beginning with a 7:30 a.m. CT shotgun start. Teams will play the first two rounds on Saturday, with Sunday's third and final round slated for tee times beginning at 7:30 a.m. CT off No. 1 and No. 10.
"This has always been a strong event," head coach Mike Small said. "This year, it has the No. 1 team in the country going and some of the top individuals. We play a national schedule, so the guys are used to playing against some of the best teams in the country. All these tournaments are put in there for a purpose to gauge our progress and keep identifying weaknesses we need to improve on."
Augusta State, the two-time defending national champions, will host a loaded 16-team field, which features the No. 1 team in the nation in Texas and eight other teams in the top 50, No. 13 Clemson, No. 22 Oklahoma State, No. 27 Baylor, No. 35 TCU, No. 38 Illinois, No. 40 SMU, No. 46 ASU and No. 50 Lamar, according to Golfstat. The rest of the field includes Coastal Carolina, Georgia State, Houston, South Carolina, Tennessee, USC Aiken and Virginia Tech. Nine of the top 50 and 13 of the top 100 individuals in the nation will also be in the field this weekend.
The Illini lineup will be led by team stroke leader Luke Guthrie (70.89) and sophomore Thomas Pieters, who is coming off the best tournament of his career with a 10-under 206 at the Borona Collegiate Cup. Redshirt junior Mason Jacobs also will make the trip along with freshmen Brian Campbell and Alex Burge, who will both compete for the Orange and Blue at the same event for the first time this season.
"Our freshmen have made progress throughout the winter and spring, which is encouraging, and we look for them to continue to do so and contribute for the team," Small said. "This is another opportunity for them to compete against the top teams in the country and continue to improve."
Oklahoma State is the defending champion of the event, which the Illini have played at the past two seasons. The Illini finished eighth a year ago after placing seventh in 2010.
"We have played this event the past two years, so some of the guys have seen the course before," Small said. "Golf in the south is different than golf in the north, so we will have a good test this week with some elevations and different grasses.
Live scoring will be available on golfstat.com for both days of the ASU Invitational, and full results and a recap of the tournament can be found on fightingillini.com.