May 22, 2013
How They Got Here: Fayetteville Regional Recap
The Illinois men's golf team qualified for the NCAA Championships for the sixth year in a row, but this year's squad recorded a program first at the Fayetteville Regional as the Illini won the event. Illinois, which was the tournament's No. 6 seed, was the only team to finish under par at the difficult Blessings Golf Club, notching a 1-under-par 863 to best host Arkansas by three strokes. The Illini carded a 6-under 282 in the first round to grab an early lead but fell back into second with a 292 on Friday.
But the Orange and Blue notched a 1-over-par 289 in the final round, four shots better than the Razorbacks' 293, to overtake Arkansas for the regional crown. Sophomore Brian Campbell and freshman Thomas Detry tied for second at 2-under-par 214, while freshman Charlie Danielson tied for fifth at 216 (E). Thomas Pieters tied for 10th at 3-over-par. Danielson had the tournament's best individual round with his first-round 65 (-7), while Detry carded a 68 in the first round and Campbell had a second-round 67, accounting for three of the nine rounds under 70 in the tournament.
Longest Active Streaks of NCAA Final Appearances
Illinois is one of only six schools to advance to the NCAA Finals in each of the past six seasons. The Illini are tied with Texas A&M for the fifth-longest active streak with six consecutive appearances, which checks in behind Florida (13), UCLA (11), USC (7) and Texas (7). Illinois is the only northern school in the elite group.
NCAA Seeding, Tee Times and Format
Illinois, which will compete at the NCAA Championships for the 21st time in school history, was seeded 15th and paired with No. 13 Florida State and No. 14 North Florida for the first two rounds of the championship. The three teams will have the very last tee times on Tuesday, May 28, going off the No. 10 tee from 1-1:40 p.m. CT. During round two, the Orange and Blue will hit the links with the final tee times of the morning wave from 7:40-8:20 a.m. CT. Third-round pairings for Thursday, May 30 will be based on scores after round two. The individual champion from the field of 156 participants (30 teams of five plus six individuals) will be crowned following the 54 holes of stroke play competition.
The top eight teams then advance to a match-play bracket (school head-to-head) to determine the team champion. Quarterfinal matches on Friday, May 31, will feature the Nos. 1 and 8 teams in the standings after stroke play (9 a.m.), Nos. 4 and 5 (9:45 a.m.), Nos. 2 and 7 (10:30 a.m.) and Nos. 3 and 6 (11:15 a.m.). Semifinal matches will be held on Saturday, June 1, at 9 a.m. and 9:45 a.m., while the championship match is slated for Sunday, June 2, at 9 a.m. (CT).
The Venue - Capital City Club, Crabapple Course
The Crabapple Golf Club is one of three facilities owned and operated by the Capital City Club, one of the oldest and most prestigious social clubs in America. Designed by renowned architect Tom Fazio on 600 acres in north Fulton and Cherokee counties, the 7,137-yard, par 72 championship-caliber golf course opened in 2002. Founded in 1883, the Capital City Club represents an institution that has provided Atlanta a rich account of significant developments throughout its 127-year history. Its membership consists of a mixture of successful people from all walks of life and various ethnic and cultural backgrounds.
The Capital City Club has been host to competitive golf for nearly a century. More than 30 city, state and national level golf tournaments have been held at CCC, including PGA and LPGA Tour events. In 2003, the Crabapple course hosted the world Golf Championship won by Tiger Woods. In recent years, the Georgia State Golf Association held its Super Senior Championship at the Crabapple course and drew its largest ever field for this state event. Crabapple then moved to the international stage hosting the American Junior Golf Association's 72-hole Rolex Tournament of Championship in June of 2012 with 132 of the world's best junior golfers. That fall, Crabapple hosted the Ping/Golfweek Preview Tournament featuring 15 of the nation's top-ranked college teams. The par-70 championship course will measure 7,320 yards at the NCAA Championships.
Balanced, Young Illini Squad Heads to NCAA Championships
With junior Thomas Pieters, who already has announced his decision to become a professional golfer following the 2013 season, grabbing most of the headlines throughout the campaign, the Illini's young guns stole the show at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional. Pieters won the 2013 Big Ten Championship while leading the Illini to their fifth-straight team title at the Pete Dye Course in French Lick, Ind., on April 28, but it was sophomore Brian Campbell and freshman Thomas Detry who tied for second at 2-under-par at the regional two weeks ago at Blessings Golf Club.
Pieters is the defending NCAA champion, however, winning by three shots at the 2012 NCAA Championships at Riviera Country Club in Pacific Palisades, Calif., with a three-round total of 5-under-par 208. He became Illinois' second NCAA champion in the last three years, as Scott Langley won the title in 2010. The Illini finished 21st as a team a year ago.
Illinois is likely one of the youngest teams in the field, with Pieters the only upperclassman for the Orange and Blue. Campbell and Alex Burge are both sophomores, while Danielson and Detry are completing their first season of collegiate golf.
Illini Sweep Big Ten Individual Honors
Reigning five-time Big Ten champion Illinois made a clean sweep of the conference's individual postseason honors on May 1. Thomas Pieters was named Big Ten Men's Golfer of the Year, Thomas Detry was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year, both of which are based on a combination of the GolfStat and Sagarin statistical rankings, and head coach Mike Small earned his fifth-straight Big Ten Coach of the Year honor. Pieters also was named a first-team All-Big Ten selection, while Detry and Brian Campbell were second-team All-Big Ten honorees. In addition, Pieters was named Illinois' sportsmanship award honoree.
With the honor, Small broke two of his own conference records by earning a fifth-straight and sixth career Coach of the Year award. In his 13th season at the helm, Small guided Illinois to its fifth-straight Big Ten championship and the squad now has six tournament titles, one behind the school record of seven set by the 2008-09 squad.
Big Ten Championships Recap - Illini 5-Peat, Pieters Wins
Illinois (+11) captured its school-record fifth consecutive and 12th total Big Ten title, completing the fourth five-peat in Big Ten history - and first since Ohio State in 1987 - by holding off a scrappy Minnesota (+20) squad at the Pete Dye Course. Junior Thomas Pieters carded a two-over-par 74, clinching Big Ten medalist honors with a five-stroke victory and a total score of 284 (-4). Pieters and Brian Campbell, who tied for second, were named to the All-Big Ten Championships team for finishing in the top five. Pieters' win gives the Illini three consecutive conference medalists for the first time in school history. It also marks only the first time since 1979 that a Big Ten school has had three straight medalists and is only the sixth time in conference history that it has happened.
Junior Thomas Pieters (71.61) leads the way for the Illini at the NCAA Championships, while sophomore Brian Campbell (73.13) and freshman Thomas Detry (73.13) follow close behind. Freshman Charlie Danielson (73.81) has four top-10 finishes this season, while Alex Burge (75.17) has finished in the top 20 four times.
Thomas Pieters / Jr. / Nijlen, Belgium
Ranked No. 18 in the Golfweek/amateurgolf.com World Amateur Rankings ... Ranked No. 46 in the Golfweek/Sagarin computer rankings ... 2013 Big Ten individual champion ... 2012 NCAA individual champion ... Tied for 20th at the 2011 NCAA Championships, helping the Illini advance to the match-play portion ... Scheduled to play in a U.S. Open sectional qualifier in Springfield, Ohio, on June 3 ... Leads team in stroke average at 71.61 and rounds under par with 14 ... Has eight top-10 finishes in 10 tournaments ... Was named Big Ten Golfer of the Week twice (March 6, March 27) ... Shot a career-best 54-hole score of 202 to finish fourth at the Western Refining All-America Golf Classic in November, including a career low-tying 65 in the final round ... Also placed in the top 10 at the Desert Shootout (third), Boilermaker Invitational (fourth), Louisiana Classics (fifth), D.A. Weibring Invitational (ninth) and Wolf Run Invitational (sixth) ... Played on the victorious European side in the 2012 Palmer Cup as the first-ever Belgian selected ... Ben Hogan Award Watch List.
Thomas Detry / Fr. / Brussels, Belgium
Tied for second on the team with a 73.13 stroke average ... After recording only one top-10 finish during the regular season, tied for eighth at Big Ten Championships and tied for second at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional ... His 54-hole score of 214 at the regional was the third-best score posted by an Illini as a counting score this season ... Recorded a career-best 68 in the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, his first collegiate round under 70 ... 23 of 31 (74.1 percent) rounds this season have been 74 or better ... Has finished in the top 20 in eight of the 10 tournaments he has played ... Carded a season-best 213 at the Desert Shootout March 21-23 to tie for 12th ... Has carded a season-low 70 twice: at Wolf Run and at the Desert Shootout ... Has four rounds under par and a team-best six rounds at par on the season ... Played for his native Belgium in the World Amateur Team Championships in the fall ... Two-time Belgian national champion (2009, 2001) ... Won the Belgian National Match Play in 2011.
Brian Campbell / So. / Irvine, Calif.
Tied for second on the team in stroke average at 73.13 ... Tied for second at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional with a 2-under-par 214, a career-best 54-hole score ... Tied for second at the Big Ten Championships with a 72-hole score of 289 (+1) ... Has four top-10 finishes and six top-20 finishes this season ... Has 10 rounds under par and five rounds at par on the season ... Tied his career-low round of 67 at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional ... Named Big Ten Golfer of the Week on Feb. 20 along with teammate Mason Jacbos after tying for fifth at the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate.
Charlie Danielson / Fr. / Osceola, Wis.
Ranks fourth on the team with a 73.81 stroke average ... Posted a career-best round of 7-under-par 65 in the first round of the NCAA Fayetteville Regional ... Tied for fifth at the NCAA Regional with a career best-tying 216 ... Posted a 72.67 average in four fall tournaments, including career-best scores of 216 at the Wolf Run Invitational and Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational ... Has finished in the top 30 in eight of 10 tournaments he has played, and has five top-10 finishes ... Has eight rounds under par and two rounds at par ... Tied for seventh at the D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate in September, his best finish of the season ... Fired a 68 in the second round of the Desert Shootout on March 22 ... Named one of the top 12 freshmen in the nation by Golfweek following the fall ... Qualified for the 2012 U.S. Amateur ... Two-time Wisconsin state champion (2010, 2012) ... Focused on golf after two knee surgeries in middle school made him abandon football and basketball ... Older sister, Lindsay, plays on the women's team at Wisconsin ... .Younger sister, Casey, has signed an NLI to play at Stanford next year and is the No. 4 women's player in the nation according to Golfweek.
Alex Burge / So. / Bloomington, Ill.
Owns a season stroke average of 75.17 ... Tied for 17th at the Big Ten Championships with a 72-hole score of 300 (+12) ... Advanced to U.S. Open sectional qualifying by tying for medalist honors at the local qualifier at Illini Country Club in Springfield, Ill., on May 13 ... Has four rounds under par and two at par on the season ... Has competed at the last four tournaments for Illinois, finishing 69th at the NCAA Fayetteville Regional, 19th at the Boilermaker Invitational and 33rd at the Augusta State Invitational ... Played as an individual at the Louisiana Classics, tying for 13th, and took seventh at the USA Individual Tournament on Feb. 18-19 in Mobile, Ala. ... Fired a career-best 54-hole score of 218 at the Louisiana Classics, including tying his career-best round of 70 ... Has carded a 70 four times this season ... Finished 155th at the 2012 NCAA Championships (+35).