CHAMPAIGN (WCIA) — Gone are Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer. There are no seniors on this year’s Illinois golf team, so it’s the junior class leading the way.
“Playing behind two really good players the last two years kind of laid the ground work for me and I kind of saw what needs to be done as a junior and a leader on this team,” Illini junior Michael Feagles said.
“Me, Gio, and Feages, we’ve seen a lot through Nick and Dylan,” fellow junior Bryan Baumgarten added. “I think we’ve all grown a lot, specifically us three. There has been success but I still don’t think we’ve reached what we can do and that’s what’s exciting. The idea that we still haven’t played our best golf.”
The three juniors have finished 1-2-3 in a tournament twice this school year but haven’t done it yet this spring, you have to go back to October to find the last time. But now that the postseason is here, they’re hoping their experience plays a role in another deep run.
“There’s three juniors that have experience all the way deep into match play and we have as much experience as anyone in the country at this point,” Feagles said. “We’ve played in big events, we’ve played in front of plenty of TV cameras and a lot of teams haven’t.”
“We’re hungry,” Baumgarten said. “We don’t want to be that team that doesn’t make it to nationals or doesn’t do this, we’re not here to just continue what’s going on, we’re here to grow what’s going on. At Illinois we want to bring home that national championship. While people may look at us as an underdog right now, I think that’s a perfect place to be because we know what we can do.”
That could be a 10th Big Ten title in the last 11 years. Feagles, Baumgarten, and Tadiotto will be joined by Urbana native Varun Chopra and freshman Adrien Dumont de Chassart in the lineup for the Big Ten Championsihps this weekend.