Chris DeForest has played in four straight NCAA Championships
May 26, 2011
Illinois' All-Time NCAA Finishes:
1931 -- 5th 1940 -- 5th 1941 -- 4th 1949 -- 19th 1950 -- 8th 1951 -- T19th 1956 --T22nd 1957 -- 22nd 1961 -- 21st 1984 -- 29th 1988 -- T23rd 1989 -- T23rd 1999 -- 15th 2002 -- 18th 2003 -- 21st 2008 -- 17th 2009 -- 21st 2010 -- 19th
Scott Langley is defending NCAA champion
Illinois senior Scott Langley became the first NCAA champion from Illinois in 2010. Langley joined Tiger Woods as players to win NCAA titles at the Honor's Course. Langley shot rounds of 70-68-68 for a 54-hole score of 206 (-10), good for a two-shot victory over Alex Ching of the University of San Diego. Langley entered the final round in fourth place at -6.
Illinois 2010 Team Recap
Take away a tough first round and Illinois could have been in contention for a spot in the match play round. The Illini were 30th in the 30-team field after a first round 305. Illinois bounced back with rounds of 285 and 287 to finish 19th.
Illinois in elite company of four-year qualifiers
Illinois qualifies for the NCAA Championship for the 19th time, sixth in the last 10 years and fourth in a row. The Illini join an elite group of seven teams to have qualified for the past four NCAA Championships -- Arizona State, Florida, Illinois, Oklahoma State, Texas, Texas A&M and USC.
Seniors Scott Langley and Chris DeForest have been in the line-up for each of those four NCAA qualifiers while junior Luke Guthrie will participate in the NCAA for the third straight year.
Guthrie brings momentum into NCAA
Illinois junior Luke Guthrie brings as much momentum as perhaps anyone into this weekend's NCAA Championship. Guthrie has posted three straight individual victories and four overall this season. He claimed the title over an elite field at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational last fall, then has won the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, the Big Ten championship and tied for the title at the NCAA Regional
Individual Computer Rankings:
Luke Guthrie's momentum has seen his individual national ranking rise to No. 7 in the Golfstat computer rankings and to No. 13 in the Golfweek computer rankings. Senior Scott Langley is No. 40 in the Golfweek Rankings and No. 54 in the Golfstat rankings. Chris DeForest is 87th in the Golfweek rankings.
World Amateur Golf Rankings: Luke Guthrie is ranked ninth in the World Amateur Golf Rankings, up 13 spots this week, while Scott Langley checks in at No. 14. Three Oklahoma State players rank in the top 10 -- Peter Uihelin (1), Kevin Tway (3) and Morgan Hoffmann (8).
1. Peter Uihlein, USA 2. Patrick Cantlay, USA 3. Kevin Tway, USA 4. Andres Echavarria, COL 5. Andrew Yun, USA 6. David Chung, USA 7. David McDaniel, USA 8. Morgan Hoffmann, USA 9. Luke Guthrie, USA 10. Jordan Spieth, USA 11. Bud Cauley, USA 12. Philip Choi, USA 13. Matthew Stieger, AUS 14. Scott Langley, USA 15. Andrew Sullivan, ENG
Guthrie pulls late tournament magic
Luke Guthrie has won four individual titles this year, the last three of those have involved late round heroics.
At the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate, Guthrie and Kent State's John Hahn went into the last hole tied for the lead and Illinois and KSU tied for the team lead. Guthrie nailed a 30-foot birdie putt forcing Hahn to do the same, which he did. Both men tied for the title as did Illinois and Kent State on the team side
At the Big Ten championship, Guthrie was in a three-man race with Northwestern's David Lipsky and Iowa's Chris Brant. Guthrie matched Brant's birdie on the par-five 16th to maintain a one-shot lead. After Brant and Guthrie each pared 17, both men faced tricky two putts on 18, needing to both clear a steep ridge, Guthrie was first and played the ridge perfectly, needing only to tap in for the win at -1. Brant, also pared the hole and placed second at even par, while Lipsky finished his round with a birdie on 17 to end the tournament third at +1.
At the NCAA Regional, Guthrie matched wits with Lion Kim, a 2011 Master's participnt from Michigan. Both men shot final round 65s to tie for the title. Guthrie played the final four holes at -4 with an eagle, a par and two birdies.
Guthrie shot a final round 65 to win the Jack Nicklaus Invitational by three shots, defeating many of the top amateurs in the world from Oklahoma State and competitors from NCAA qualifying teams Oklahoma State, Texas, Arkansas, USC, LSU, Ohio State and Kent State.
Illini moves into elite "three-peat company"
Illinois won the Big Ten title as a team by 19 strokes over Northwestern. That marked the Illini's third straight conference championship. That was only the seventh time that has happened in the history of Big Ten golf. The others include: Michigan, 1932-36; Michigan, 1942-44; Purdue, 1958-60; Ohio State, 1982-87; Ohio State, 1995-97; and Northwestern, 1999-2001.
Only nine times in the last 50 years has an Illinois team claimed three straight Big Ten titles in any sport, Ironically, men's golf became the second team to pull that feat this year joining men's gymnastics, who won it for the third straight year. The others are fencing, 1964-66; fencing, 1972-75; women's volleyball, 1986-88; men's indoor track & field, 1987-89; men's outdoor track & field, 1987-89; men's tennis, 1997-99; and men's tennis, 2003-05.
A Score of Titles in the last four years
Prior to the 2007-08 season, the Illini had won 13 team titles in the previous 18 years. In these four years, the lllini have won a total of 21 tournament titles, including four this season.
Tournament Date Big Ten Championship April 29-May 1 Robert Kepler Intercollegiate April 23-24, 2011 Louisiana Classics Invitational March 7-8, 2011 D.A. Weibring Intercollegiate Oct. 2-3, 2010 Wolf Run Intercollegiate Sept. 11-12, 2010 Big Ten Championship April 30-May 2, 2010 Boilermaker Invitational April 24-25, 2010 Crooked Stick Invitational April 19-20, 2010 FAU Spring Break Invitational March 26-28, 2010 Windon Memorial Oct. 4-5, 2009 Wolf Run Invitational Sept. 12-13, 2009 Big Ten Championship May 1-3, 2009 Boilermaker Invitational April 18-19, 2009 Marshall Invitational April 3-4, 2009 FAU Spring Break Invite March 27-29, 2009 D.A. Weibring Invitational Oct. 12-13, 2008 Windon Memorial Classic Oct. 5-6, 2008 Olympia Fields/Illini Invite Sept. 19-21, 2008 Fighting Illini Spring Invite April 12-13, 2008 Marshall Invitational April 5, 2008 D.A. Weibring Invite Oct. 7-8, 2007
A New Era
The three Big Ten titles were the first for Illinois since head coach Mike Small and current world no. 9 ranked Steve Stricker and company won the crown in 1988. Prior to that, the Illini hadn't won a conference title since 1941.
Small, now in his 11th year as head coach, has had several close calls prior to claiming the title in 2009. The Illini had three seconds (2002, 2003 and 2004) and a third (2008) prior to winning the championship.
Individual titles abound
One of the hallmarks of this group of Illini is balance. Three of the five players have collegiate tournament titles to their credit. Chris DeForest has five, Luke Guthrie has four and Scott Langley has three.
Individual Titles the last four years (17):
May 19-21, 2011 -- Luke Guthrie, NCAA Regional April 29-May 1, 2001 -- Luke Guthrie, Big Ten Champ. April 23-24, 2011 -- Luke Guthrie, Kepler Invitational Oct. 11-12, 2011-- Luke Guthrie, Jack Nicklaus Invite Oct. 2-3, 2010 -- Chris DeForest, D.A. Weibring Invite May 31-June 2, 2010 -- Scott Langley, NCAA Champ. April 24-25, 2010 -- Chris DeForest, Boilermaker Invite April 19-20, 2010 -- Chris DeForest, Crooked Stick Invite March 26-28, 2010 -- Chris DeForest, Spring Break Invite April 3-4, 2009 -- Zach Barlow, Marshall Invitational March 27-29, 2009 -- Scott Langley, Spring Break Invite Oct. 12-13, 2008 -- Scott Langley, D.A. Weibring Invite Sept. 19-21, 2008 -- Zach Barlow, Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invite April 12-13, 2008 -- Matt Hoffman, Illini Spring Invite Feb. 25-26, 2008 -- Scott Langley, Argonaut Invitational Oct. 7-8, 2007 -- Chris DeForest, D.A. Weibring Invite
Langley a semifinalist for the Ben Hogan Award
Illinois senior Scott Langley was one of 10 men named semifinalists for the Ben Hogan Award, given to the NCAA Player of the Year. The complete list included Blayne Barber, Auburn; Patrick Cauley, UCLA; Bud Cauley, Alabama; Andres Echavaria, Florida; Morgan Hoffman, Oklahoma St.; Scott Langley, Illinois; Patrick Reed, Augusta St.; Kevin Tway, Oklahoma St.; Peter Uihlein, Oklahoma St.; Andrew Yun, Stanford.
Illinois' Big Ten finishes under Mike Small
2011 1st 2010 1st 2009 1st 2008 3rd 2007 9th 2006 5th 2005 11th 2004 2nd 2003 2nd 2002 2nd 2001 10th
Illinois' All-Time NCAA Regional Appearances
1989 -- 5th at Central Regional*
1990 -- 11th at Central Regional
1999 -- 7th at Central Regional*
2002 -- 4th at Central Regional*
2003 -- 2nd at Central Regional*
2004 -- T18th at Central Regional
2008 -- 3rd at Central Regional*
2009 -- 3rd at Northeast Regional*
2010 -- 5th at West Regional*
2011 -- 2nd at Central-Indiana Regional*
* Qualified for NCAA Championships
Illinois earns four Big Ten Golfer of the Week honors
Four Illinois golfers earned Big Ten Golfer of the Week accolades:
Luke Guthrie won the honor of March 2 after shooting a 69 in winning his match with Illinois State's Eric Meir and teamming with Scott Langley to win the better ball match with Meier and Jeff Kellen at the Tinervin Cup.
Guthrie repeated the following week after tying for second at the Louisiana Classics Invitational in leading the Illini to the title.
Chris DeForest won his fifth career Big Ten Player of the Week honor on March 23. He won all four of his matches at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play helping the Illini to second in the 16-team bracketed event.
Guthrie won his third honor April 27 after tying for first at the Robert Kepler Intercollegiate. He nailed a 30-footer for birdie to help him tie John Hahn for the individual award and the Illini tie Kent St. for the team title.
Guthrie, Langley on pace for Illini career stroke record
Luke Guthrie and Scott Langley are on pace to become the top two in Illinois' career-stroke average list, which is currently held by Illini great Steve Stricker. Chris DeForest is on pace to rank fifth, just .06 behind Stricker. Last year's seniors Zach Barlow and Matt Hoffman, are ninth and 11th, respectively.
New, Old Blood
Illinois used the same line-up to win Big Ten titles in 2009 and 2010. Of those five, three are in the line-up again this year -- seniors Scott Langley and Chris DeForest and junior Luke Guthrie.
The Illini graduated Zach Barlow and Matt Hoffman from last year's team and have been replaced by redshirt sophomore Mason Jacobs and freshman Thomas Pieters.
Illinois has four players in the line-up who also earned Academic All-Big Ten honors -- Chris DeForest, Luke Guthrie, Masob Jacobs and Scott Langley. Freshmen are not eligible, meaning all four players from Illinois who qualify were honored. DeForest and Jacobs are majoring in sport management; Guthrie in management; and Langley in accountancy.
Guthrie closing on single-season stroke average mark
Luke Guthrie's season average of 71.23 this season is currently the best season stroke average in school history, some .14 strokes ahead of the pace that Scott Langley had last season.
Illinois competes against nation's best
Throughout the regular season, Illinois competed against 16 of the Golf World/Nike Top 25. The Illini have defeated 11 of those teams -- No. 3 Alabama, No. 6 Texas A&M, No. 10 LSU, No. 12 Texas, No. 14 Arkansas, No. 15 Iowa, No. 18 USC, No. 19 Texas Tech, No. 20 California, No. 21 Stanford and No. 25 Tennessee. The Illini also competed against No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 2 UCLA, No. 5 Florida, No. 7 Augusta State and No. 16 Duke
Illinois Big Ten Medalists
Year Player (site) 2011 Luke Guthrie (West Lafayette, Ind. 1999 Larry Nuger (West Lafayette, Ind.) 1993 Jamie Fairbanks (Bloomington, Ind.) 1989 Steve Stricker (Madison, Wis.) 1988 Steve Stricker (Savoy, Ill.) 1986 Steve Stricker (East Lansing, Mich.) 1982 Mike Chadwick (West Lafayette, Ind.) 1962 Mike Toliuszis (Savoy, Ill.) 1942 James McCarthy (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 1941 Alex Welsh (Lake Forest, Ill.) 1931 Richard Martin (Ann Arbor, Mich.) 1930 Richard Martin (Wilmette, Ill.) 1923 R.E. Rolfe (Evanston, Ill.)
Quite a month for Scott Langley
Scott Langley's had an epic month of June last year.
First Langley won the NCAA title on the same venue, the Honors Course, that Tiger Woods won his collegiate championship. The next week, Langley shot back-to-back 66s to garner the one and only spot for the U.S. Open at the St. Louis sectional qualifier.
Not only did Langley make the U.S. Open, but proceeded to make the cut, posted two rounds of par or better at the most well known course in the country, Pebble Beach, then finished in the top 20 and tied for low amateur of the Championship. Langley completed the tournament with rounds of 75-69-77-71 to finish at +8 for the championship, ahead of such names as Sergio Garcia (+9), Angel Cabrera (+9), Tom Watson (+11), Vijay Singh (+13), David Duval (+18) and the most famous Illinois alum on tour Steve Stricker (+15) and tied with Lee Westwood and Jim Furyk.
The following week, Langley won the clinching match at the Palmer Cup, helping the United States to a 13-11 victory over Europe.
In August, Langley reached the quarterfinal round of the U.S. Amateur.
In October, he was one of three men to represent the United States at the World Amateur Team Championships in Buenos Aries, Argentina.
In January, Langley was one of 16 players invited to a practice session at Old Memorial Golf Club in Tampa for the 2011 Walker Cup.
Guthrie has summer success
In 2010, Luke Guthrie placed second at the Illinois Open, finishing just ahead of head coach Mike Small, who was third. He also tied for 12th at the Illinois Amateur.
In 2009, Guthrie advanced to the round of 16 at the U.S. Amateur Public Links, won the Illinois State Amateur and with two rounds of 64 in his qualifier, advanced to the U.S. Amateur.
Guthrie has breakthrough victory
Luke Guthrie had been on the verge of breaking into the upper echelon of players nationally, having posted nine top 10s in his career and earning First Team All-Big Ten in 2010. Still the Illini junior was looking for his first collegiate win. That finally came Oct. 11-12 as Guthrie battled a ranked field that included the number one player in the country to claim the title at the Jack Nicklaus Invitational.
Guthrie shot a course record 65 in Tuesday's final round at the 7,140-yard par 70 Scioto Country Club in Columbus, Ohio, to clear the field by three strokes. Guthrie finished the tournament at five-under par 205 after posting two even par 70 rounds on Monday. The world's top amateur player and No. 1 ranked collegian Peter Uilhein of Oklahoma State was second at -2 after shooting 67 in his final round. Those were the only two players under par.
Mike Small wins PGA National Player of the Year
Illinois head golf coach Mike Small was named the 2010 PGA Professional Player of the Year. Small, who won his record-tying third PGA Professional National Championship in June, claims the honor for the third time in his career.
The final standings are determined based on a point system, which calculates success on both the national and PGA Section competitions. Small won his third PGA Professional National Championship in June in French Lick, Ind., a month after coaching Illinois to its second straight Big Ten Championship and third consecutive NCAA Championship appearance. He earned 1,452.67 overall points, including 527.67 for his performance in six PGA Tour events.
Small, who also won Professional of the Year honors in 2006 and 2007, claimed his ninth Illinois PGA title and tied for 17th at the PGA tour's Mayakoba Golf Classic in Cancun, Mexico.
Illinois Advances to Championship Match at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play
The NCAA champion will once again be determined by three rounds of the match play. The Illini had a pair of tune-ups in match play, placing fourth in the Big Ten Match Play, then finishing second at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play.
Illinois advanced to the finals at the Callaway Collegiate Match Play with victories over three Big 12 schools, defeating Baylor, 5-0; No. 17 Texas Tech, 2-2-1 and No. 6 Texas A&M, 3-2. The Illini lost to No. 16 Duke in the championship match, 4-1.
Chris DeForest won all four of his matches, earning him Big Ten Player of the Week.
Illinois 11th in the Rivals Cup
Illinois is 11th in Rivals Cup points, an unoffical ranking of each universities' alumni in the PGA's FedExCup Standings. Currently the Illini have three players on tour. When figuring points from D.A. Points (773), Steve Stricker (621) and Joe Affrunti (11), Illinois alumni have have a total of 1,271 "rivals points." The top 15:
1. Oklahoma State 3,241 2. Arizona State 2,671 3. Georgia Tech 2,355 4. UNLV 2,349 5. Clemson 2,329 6. Georgia 2,138 7. Arizona 1,943 8. Wake Forest 1,798 9. Florida 1,574 10. North Carolina 1,496 11. Illinois 1,405 12. Fresno State 1,359 13. Northwestern 1,354 14. New Mexico 1,259 15. LSU 1,229
The most famous Illinois alum, Steve Stricker `89 , continues to be one of the top short game players and highest ranked players on the PGA Tour. Stricker, who holds the Big Ten record for most individual conference titles with three (1986, 1988, 1989), ranks ninth in the world. He has made the cut in all 26 events he has played in the last two years, posting two victories, at the 2010 Northern Trust Open and 2010 John Deere Classic. He has nine PGA Tour victories overall and a cumulative career earnings of $28.7 million.
D.A. Points `99 made noise with a victory at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro-Am earlier this year, playing alongside actor Bill Murray. Points posted a 63 in the first round of the tournament. He has over $4.7 million in career earnings, including $1.5 million this season and is currently 14th in the FedEx Point Standings.
Joe Affrunti `04 is in his first year on tour after placing 22nd on the Nationwide Tour money list in 2010.
Other Illini in the Pros:
Garrett Chaussard played on the Canadian Tour and Gateway Tour. He qualified for the 2008 U.S. Open at Torrey Pines and was named the 2010 Illinois PGA Assistant Player of the Year.
Matt Hoffman earned an exemption on the Canadian Tour after placing second at Qualifying School in 2010.
Patrick Nagle placed 18th on the Hooters Tour in 2010, which included a victory in the ComSouth Classic. Nagle earned over $82,000 on tour in 2010.
Zach Barlow has competed in a pair of events on the 2011 E-Golf Tour, including an eighth-place finish at the Columbia Open.