Chris DeForest had nine birdies in the third round Monday.
Oct. 6, 2008
Glenview, Ill. -
Illinois and Indiana should know each other pretty well. For the second straight tournament, the Hoosiers and Illini were paired in the final group at a tournament and for the second time in three weeks, the Illini finished first and the Hoosiers second.
Illinois fired a final round 284 to finish at nine-under par 843 and champions of the Windon Memorial Classic at the North Shore Country Club in Glenview, Ill., five strokes ahead of Indiana (-4). Those two teams were the class of the field as Illinois defeated the third-place team, Tulsa (+13), by 22 strokes. Last year's NCAA sixth-place team, Kent State, finished fourth at +15 while host school Northwestern (+18) rounded out the top five in the 15-team event.
"Indiana is a great team and it's been fun to go head-to-head with them over the past two tournaments," said Illinois head coach Mike Small. "This was a total team effort. We struggled early in the round today, but we needed everyone to get this win."
Five Big Ten schools finished in the top seven with Purdue sixth at +22 and Michigan seventh at +25. The Wolverines are the only school to finish ahead of Illinois in the three tournaments so far this year, winning the Wolf Run Intercollegiate while the Illini were second in the season opener. In claiming back-to-back tournament titles, the Illini have won two fall tournaments for the first time since 2002. The Illini were the champions of the Olympia Fields/Fighting Illini Invitational two weeks ago.
Individually, Illinois had four players place in the top 13. Sophomore Chris DeForest, who ended the second round tied for 18th, fired a final round seven-under par 64 to finish third at -5. Indiana All-American Jorge Campillo did DeForest one better with a 63 to claim medalist honors at -8, two strokes ahead of Kent State's John Hahn (-6).
"When things are going well, Chris has the ability to really go low with his score," Small said. "He made nine birdies on the day which is a credit to his ability to be aggressive."
Second round leader, Illinois junior Matt Hoffman finished tied for seventh at even par, after shooting 78 in windy conditions Monday. Sophomore Scott Langley was one stroke back at +1 in a tie for 11th after firing a 72 in the final round. Olympia Fields champion, junior Zach Barlow (71-70-74) was tied for 13th at +2. Freshman Luke Guthrie, playing in his first collegiate tournament, had consistent rounds of 71-73-74 to finish tied for 25th in the 81-man field at +5. Freshman Mason Jacobs, playing as an individual, had his best round as an Illini with a one-over par 72 in the third round and tied for 36th at +8.
Illinois has a short week before traveling to the D.A. Weibring Invitational Oct. 12-13, the fourth of five tournaments this fall. The Illini, the defending tournament champion, will be trying to win three straight tournament titles for the first time since 1988. Chris DeForest won that tournament individually a year ago after a final round 63. With his 64 today, DeForest now has the top two individual rounds in school history.
"This team is learning more and more how to win," Small said. "This was a different way to do it today, but we needed all five guys to get it done. Matt carried us yesterday with a couple of great rounds, while today Chris DeForest put up a low score. This team has shown resiliency in being able to finish."