Tournament No. 1 is in the books for the Illinois golf team, and I would say it is a solid start to the spring season.
To say the Illini were coming into the spring not as tuned up as they usually are would have been an understatement. It was a rough fall season that seen the Orange and Blue drop out of the top 25 all the way to No. 45 in the nation. That didn’t discourage the Illini golfers, though.
Illinois came out in the Mobile Sports Authority Intercollegiate and played well. This was their first tournament of the year, so struggling would have been completely understandable. That didn’t happen, though.
The Illini were able to throw up a three-round total of -27, which was good enough for a solo second place finish. They were only one shot back from Florida State. Some other notable teams were No. 14 Louisville, who finished third and one shot back of Illinois. No. 43 UAB checked in at a tie for fourth place five shots back of the Illini.
The entire crew for the Illini came to play. There wasn’t one golfer among the starting five who shot over par. Giovanni Tadiotto led the way for the Orange and Blue with a three-round total of -8, which was good enough for a tie for fourth place. Not only did he finish in fourth, but Tadiotto beat four other nationally ranked players.
Michael Feagles shot the second-best score on the team. He had a solid final round of -3 to finish his three-round total at -7 for the tournament. This -7 score was good enough to land him in a tie for eighth place.
Noah Gillard followed Feagles with a three-round total of -6, which was a tie for 11th. Jerry Ji had a solid tournament shooting -5 and finishing in a tie for 15th place. Adrien Dumont de Chassart rounded out the Illini starting five with a three-round total of -3, which was good enough for a tie for 19th place.
Illinois had three individuals make the trip to Alabama as well. Tommy Kuhl shot -5 and was in a tie for 15th place. Brendan O’Reilly was +3 for the tournament and in a tie for 49th place. Bryan Baumgarten rounded out the individuals with a +6 three-round total, which was good enough for a tie for 59th place.
Overall, this was a great showing for the Illini. We had all five of our starters in the top 20 individually. That is how you compete with the top teams in the nation. Each player carried their own weight and that is huge. Next up is the John Burns Intercollegiate out in Hawaii next week. This is a tournament that featured some top teams in the country last year. It will be the first true test of the spring for the Illini.