WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WCIA) — The sixth ranked Illini placed second as a team in the final round of the Boilermaker Invitational on Sunday. All five Illini finished among the Top-25, with 80 competitors in the field. The Illini were led by seniors Michael Feagles and Giovanni Tadiotto, who carded a 69 and 72 respectively in the final round.
The super seniors elected to take advantage of a free year from the NCAA after COVID-19 wiped out most of their spring season in 2020. The two have the goal of leaving a legacy with the program.
“It really became personal. I want to leave a good mark here at Illinois,” says Feagles.
“That’s massive. We all know on the team that we’re playing for something so much bigger than us,” says Tadiotto.
The roommates say the extra year has only helped their games. Tadiotto posted his fourth straight Top-20 finish this weekend, while Feagles won the Mobile Bay Intercollegiate by eight shots in February.
“It just speaks volumes for our program for what the guys want to be part of. They bring a lot of experience, they played in the Final 4 when they were a freshman and it’s just a testament to them wanting to be at Illinois, which is a big deal,” says head coach Mike Small.
The other consideration for Feagles and Tadiotto is the new PGA Tour University. Started just last year, it gives incentive to college golfers to stay in school by offering pro status to the top 15 upperclassmen in the country. Tadiotto likely won’t make the cut, his plan is to go back overseas later this summer, where he already has some status. But Feagles is currently in the chase, sitting at 11th, meaning solid play down the stretch benefits not only his team but his own pro career
“It’s a huge benefit,” says Feagles. “Not a lot of guys can leave college and immediately have status on a professional tour so it definitely had a big impact.”
And the Illini will need Feagles and Tadiotto to make a big impact down the stretch. The Big Ten tournament is in three weeks, where the Illini will look for their sixth straight conference championship.