ILLINOIS CHAMPIONSHIP RUN ENDS IN FINAL FOUR

    THE MEN’S NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP MATCH Will be played on Wednesday at Rich Harvest Farms. Tickets available at the gate, parking is free. See the title awarded. ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Editor and Director of Content. Follow Rory to the John Deere Classic, and on Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter @GogBlogGuy.

Illinois tried to come from behind just one time too many, and it finally caught up with them. After a stunning rally in the morning to defeat #1 rated USC, Illinois did not have the same magic to defeat Oklahoma, losing to the Sooners 3 1/2-1 1/2 in the semi-final matches.

In the morning, Illinois trailed USC early by a 4 and 1 score, but started flipping matches midway through the round. Edoardo Lipparelli won his match 1 UP over Sean Crocker, and then Giovani Tadiotto also was a 1 UP winner. Michael Feagles was coming back and Dylan Meyer rallied from three down to get A/S. But when USC’s Rico Hoey missed a five foot par putt on 18 to force extra holes with Nick Hardy, their match and the team match was over. 3 1/2 to 1 1/2.

After a quick break, Illinois headed out to play Oklahoma the #2 in the match play. Lipparelli playing his final match for Illinois before turning professional after his sophomore year, fell behind quickly against Oklahoma’s Blaine Hale and went on to lose 4&3.

Tadiotto trailed on the back nine 3 DN, but rallied to get to 1 DN with two holes to play, but a bad drive, led to a drop and and a bad stance that forced a poor recovery shot. When he lost the hole and the match, Illinois was basically done. Michael Feagles trailed most of his match before losing 2&1.

Nick Hardy rallied to halve his match and Dylan Meyer controlled his match the entire way, but it wasn’t enough for Illinois to pull off the comeback. Oklahoma advanced to play Oregon in the championship match tomorrow afternoon.

Click here to hear interviews with Illinois Coach Mike Small, Dylan Meyer, Nick Hardy, and Edoardo Lipparelli in that order.

A good sized gallery of several thousand Illini fans came out to cheer on the Orange and Blue, and the Illini players said they really felt the support. For some of them they had never played in front of galleries of this size. Now for Coach Mike Small it will be time to reload not rebuild his squad for next next year.

Tee times in the championship matches begin in the 2 PM hour CST, and will be show live on the Golf Channel.

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About Rory Spears

Rory spent over 8 years growing up working at Rob Roy Golf Club in Prospect Hts.IL, then two years at Chevy Chase in Wheeling. He has covered golf in Chicago since 1986. Rory was one of the initial members of WSCR all-sports radio Chicago and covered golf there for 5 seasons, before moving on to work for ESPN/Sportsticker and ESPN Radio. In addition to hosting Golfers on Golf Radio on WNDZ Am 750 Chicago, he writes for both Chicagoland Golf and the Chicago District (CDGA) Magazine. Rory has played over 460 courses in 37 states, and rates golf courses. He does golf course management and communications consulting, in the golf industry.