Former Illini golfer Thomas Detry returns to campus

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CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Former Illini golfer Thomas Detry has been around the world since graduating in May 2016. The Belgian native is playing primarily on the European Tour and is doing quite well with more than $3 million in career on course earnings. He just finished T-6 at the Saudi International last Sunday, playing the final round with World No. 1 Brooks Koepka. Detry didn’t waste much time, flying to Champaign on Tuesday to catch his alma mater play Michigan State. He spent Wednesday visiting with the current Illini at the Demirjian Indoor Practice Facility.

“It’s a break in my season right now so I felt like it was a good time to come back and see my old teammates and Coach Small,” Detry said. “I spent four years here and this is where I really grew up as a man, so it’s great to be back.”

Detry says his career has gone according to plan so far, and he’s hoping to one day play more events on the PGA Tour. He’s only teed it up in one so far, finishing T-33 at the Corales Puntacana Resort & Club Championship last year.. Detry said he’ll once again play that event in 2020.

“I’ve been very steady in my progression and I’m getting better in Europe,” he said. “My goal is to win there first and then try to come over here full time. So all that is part of the learning process and my game is really good. I feel like I’m adding up a few percentages in every area of my game and it’s getting better and better, months after months, year after year and also playing experience, and that’s key in golf.”

Detry was a two time All-American with the Illini, finishing as the Big Ten Golfer of the Year in 2015. Playing in the Olympics is the next step for Detry and something he’s hoping to do this summer.

“Right now Thomas Pieters and I are pretty far ahead,” Detry said about qualifying. “We’ll see but it’s definitely a goal and I think it will be an even better experience in Tokyo this year than it was four years ago.”

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