Illinois Starts Stretch Run at Augusta State Invitational
April 4, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The 17th-ranked Fighting Illini golf team travels south to this weekend's Insperity Augusta State Invitational at the par-72, 7,142-yard Forest Hills Golf Course in Augusta, Ga., the fourth-straight year that Illinois has competed in the event. Teams will play 36 holes on Saturday, April 6, with an 7:30 a.m. CT shotgun start. The final round will start at 7:30 a.m. CT on Sunday.
The Orange and Blue finished third at last year's Augusta State Invitational after breaking the single-round school record with a 15-under 273 in the tournament's second round. Illinois finished -18 for the tournament, eight strokes behind Texas and Augusta State, which went to a two-hole playoff after tying through three rounds at -26, with the Longhorns winning the playoff. The Illini also finished eighth at the 2011 tournament and seventh in 2010.
"It's a great event that has a good history and is on a good course," Illinois head coach Mike Small said. "Obviously, it's around The Masters week, which is a lot of excitement, but it's a good, solid college event with some top teams and top individuals. It's a good test for us this time of year.
"I'm looking for a positive week. We're trying to improve as the spring goes on, so that when we get into the postseason - Big Tens and NCAAs - we'll be competitive and have a chance to win those tournaments."
Defending national champion Texas, which is No. 6 in the latest Golfstat rankings, headlines the 15-team field, along with No. 16 SMU and No. 17 Georgia. Tennessee is No. 23, the Illini stand No. 24 and Houston is No. 25. Other top-50 teams in the field are No. 28 Clemson, No. 35 South Carolina, No. 37 Virginia Tech, No. 39 UCF, No. 41 Baylor and No. 48 Coastal Carolina. In addition, four of the top 25 and seven of the top 50 individuals in the Golfstat rankings will appear at the tournament.
The Illini lineup will be anchored by team stroke leader Thomas Pieters (71.11), who is coming off a Big Ten Golfer of the Week honor on March 27 after finishing third at the Desert Shootout. He will be joined by sophomore Alex Burge and a trio of freshmen: Charlie Danielson, Thomas Detry and David Kim.