CARMEL (WCIA) — The Big Ten title is coming back to Champaign. It’s the 11th time in the last 12 years Illinois is crowned champ but this one wasn’t easy. Windy conditions pushed scores well above par, there was one player in the red in the three day event and that was the tournament champ.
There was plenty of drama at Crooked Stick, as the Illini trailed Iowa by four entering the final nine holes. But Illinois turned it on when it mattered most, with their four counting scores a combined five-under par.
“This team is a bunch of guys who I would take to any bar fight, will fight you tooth and nail and they just hate losing,” says senior Michael Feagles. “All of us hate losing, we just can’t stand it. It’s almost more the hate of losing outweighs the joy of winning, we just hate it.”
Feagles won the Big Ten’s Les Bolstad Award, given to the conference player with the lowest stroke average (70.83) during the season. Feagles was also named to the All-Championship team after carding a 220, shooting 4-over for fifth place, along with teammate Adrien Dumont de Chassart.
“Refuse to lose you know,’ says senior Giovanni Tadiotto. “We’ll do whatever it takes to give us the best opportunity and just give it to get the win at the end of the day.”
“Something just flipped it around, the mojo changed,” says head coach Mike Small. “We got things going the right way and they just took it and ran with it. I think it’s important to them, playing for the University of Illinois is important to them and that’s what you want, that’s why we do this thing.”
With their trophy in toe, the Illini await Wednesday’s NCAA selection show where they’ll learn their Regional seed. They get the automatic Big Ten’s automatic bid.