Illinois wins eighth straight Big Ten Conference title
Courtesy of Illinois Athletics
Illinois won its eighth consecutive Big Ten Conference Championship on Sunday in a rain-shortened event at rainy Galloway (N.J.) National Golf Club.
After an opening round of 292, Illinois blistered Galloway in the second round with a 16-under score of 268, increasing its six-stroke lead to 17 over Northwestern heading into Sunday's final round, which was eventually canceled due to inclement weather.
As a result, the Illini were awarded its eighth consecutive conference title, which is an ongoing Big Ten record. Illinois also has claimed 13 of the last 14 conference crowns dating back to 2009.
"It was a total team effort this weekend," said Illinois head coach Mike Small. "To lead by 17 shots in a two-round tournament, that takes a total team effort. To do that in just two rounds, not a three-round tournament, is a pretty big win."
All five members of the Small's lineup finished inside the top 13.
Tommy Kuhl and Matthis Besard tied for third at 140 (-2), one stroke off the pace of co-champions Mac McClear of Iowa and Daniel Svard of Northwestern. Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Jackson Buchanan tied for fifth at 1-under while Piercen Hunt finished tied for 13th with a score of 144 (+2).
"That is the sign of a good team, when you compete against yourself just as much as you do with other teams," said Small. "We talk about, in our program, that we're a team. But from No. 1 tee to the 18th green, you're trying to beat everybody. You're pulling for them - your teammates - but you want to play against the best. And when they see each other every day, they push each other and elevate each other to get to a certain level. And that's something that was shown this week when we've got four guys inside the top five."
Iowa's McClear posted a bogey-free 5-under 66 on Saturday to earn a share of the lead with Svard of Northwestern, who finished his third round with a 3-under 69. The two golfers shared the individual title at 3-under 139.
The Fighting Illini will learn its postseason fate on Wednesday when the field is announced for the 2023 NCAA Division I Men's Golf Championships field at 12 p.m. CT on Golf Channel.
Illinois Athletic Communications contributed to this report.
ABOUT THE Big Ten Championship
54 hole men's collegiate championship of the
Big Ten Conference. Team (best four scores out of
players each round) and individual competitions.
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