ILLINOIS WINS FOURTH STRAIGHT BIG TEN TITLE

   BLACKBERRY OAKS GM/HEAD GOLF PROFESSIONAL  Chad Johansen holds the Blackberry Amateur trophy. The Blackberry Amateur is played on June 23-24 and you can sign up now at Blackberryoaks.com or call (630)-553-7170. Mistwood golf Club in Romeoville home of the Illinois Women’s Open is open for another season, come play Mistwood and enjoy the Performance Center and McWethy’s Tavern in the sprawling new clubhouse. Sign up for the Mothers Day brunch, Mistwoodgc.com (630)-254-3333.  ______________________________________________________________________

THE GOG BLOG by RORY SPEARS, Director of Creation and Content. Follow Rory on Twitter @GogBlogGuy, and on Linkedin and Facebook. With University of Illinois Men’s Golf Coach Mike Small.

IT’S FOUR IN A ROW and a Grand Slam of sorts for the University of Illinois, with their fourth straight Big Ten title, after a 15 shot win over the Ohio State Buckeyes.

The third and final round started with Illinois holding a 1 shot lead over the Buckeyes, but within three holes it was Ohio State with a 1 shot lead.

That didn’t last long, as Illinois behind Senior Nick Hardy roared back and took control on the front nine, and then poured it on across the back nine. Hardy who will turn professional in about 30 plus days, ended his run at the Big Ten Championship the same way he came in four years ago, with a win. Hardy’s three under par 67 on a windy Baltimore Country Club,capped off what head Coach Mike Small called a “huge week” for Hardy.

Illinois was the only team to finish under par for the week, and Hardy became the 8th straight member of the Fighting Illini to win the Big Ten Championship, and the fourth member of the Illini to win more than one title.

Nick Hardy (L) in the Illinois practice center

“I’m so proud of the guys for handling the adversity that was thrown at them this week and for finishing off the tournament on such a difficult day,” said Small. “Contending for a Big Ten Championship is a priority for this program and I’m so proud of the guys for accepting the expectation. (Nick) showed great maturity and patience through out the week and positive things came his way in the end.”

Hardy took over the lead from Penn States Cole Miller late in the front nine, and added two birdies in the last three holes to win by two shots. Only two players shot under par during Sunday’s final round. Along with Hardy Michael Feagles and Bryan Baumgarten earned All-Big Ten Championship Team.

Senior Dylan Meyer finsihed in 8th place, Meyer recorded top 10 finishes all four of his years at Illinois. Illinois won it’s ninth title under Coach Small, and is the first Big Ten School to win nine titles in ten years, since Ohio State accompisihed the feat from 1976 to 1987.

To view the championship watch a tape delayed broadcast on May 7th at 4 PM CST. Illinois will find out on Wednesday which of the six regional’s it will compete in.

The university of Iowa finished in third place, 21 shots behind Illinois, with Penn State three shots back of Iowa, and Northwestern was fifth. The Wildcats were led by Dylan Wu who had a third place individual finish.

 

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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.