Courtesy of Illinois Athletics
No telling how many people cashed out after playing long odds Tuesday in Las Vegas, but count Illinois among those who rode a hunch and hit on a big jackpot after the Illini staged a stunning comeback to win the Southern Highlands Intercollegiate.
Illinois, ranked 11th in the latest Golfweek/Sagarin poll, began the final round in fourth place, 10-strokes off the pace set by third-ranked North Carolina. Texas and Pepperdine also stood in between the Illini and Tar Heels.
In a tournament where success usually finds the team that is holding the hottest hand at the end of the day, Illinois shot a final round of 11-under 277 to post a stunning victory in the Las Vegas desert, finishing at 21-under 843 for a two-stroke victory over Texas.
Pepperdine finished third at -18 under while North Carolina stumbled to fourth following a 4-over final round of 848.
Florida's Yuxin Lin shot a final round 69 to finish at 13-under 203 to win the individual title by three strokes over Texas freshman Christiaan Maas. Illinois' Tommy Kuhl shot five spots up the leaderboard to grab a share of third-place with William Paysse of Texas A&M after carding a 3-under 68 in the final round.
Kuhl, along with a 67 from Adrien Dumont de Chassart, led the Illini to one of its biggest come-from-behind wins in program history. The Illini also counted a pair of 1-under rounds of 71 from Jackson Buchanan and Piercen Hunt to claim their third team title of the season.
North Carolina, which managed to shoot 20-under over the first 36-holes en route to building a four-shot lead heading into Tuesday, cooled off tremendously, as the Tar Heels staggered to a 4-over round of 292 which left the nation's third-ranked team five back at 16-under.
On the strength of a 7-under 65 by Christo Lamprecht, Georgia Tech shot a final round 16-under 272 -- the lowest round of the day by five strokes.
By taking medalist honors for the first time in his career, Lin earned an exemption into the PGA's Shrines Children's Open, scheduled for Oct. 12-15 at TPC Summerlin. Three years ago, Lin tied for first at Southern Highlands with current Korn Ferry Tour member and former Texas Longhorn Parker Coody, but fell in a playoff.
This year, Lin left no doubt, as the two-time Asia-Pacific Amateur champion finished off a three-stroke victory over a strong field.
Lin's maiden collegiate victory marks the third-straight tournament that a Gator has won medalist honors following Fred Biondi's win at the Sea Best Invitational and Ricky Castillo's triumph at the VyStar Credit Union Gators Invitational.
ABOUT THE Southern Highlands Collegiate
54 hole men's college tournament hosted by UNLV.
Team (best four scores of five players each day) and
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