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Illini golf falls short in big for National Title



Illini Golf

Illini golf loses to Florida in match play.

In Scottsdale, Arizona, Illinois, golf expected to win a National Championship. However, it was not to be as the Illini fell short in match play to the sixth-seeded Florida State Seminoles 3-2. The ‘Noles play the Florida Gators in the semifinal. Illinois showed its prowess during stroke play that it could compete against anyone in the country, but match play is what did the Illini in against Florida State. What Illinois did on the links cannot be understated. The Illini golfers won seven tournaments this season, the most in Division I. In 14 stroke-play tourneys, the Illini went 176-9.

Unfortunately for the Illini, they were not better than Florida State.

“The season these guys had should be talked about,” head golf coach Mike Small said of his team’s overall body of work in the latest of a string of successful campaigns under his 23 years of direction. “It should be remembered because of the wins and getting here (to NCAA match play), and just playing how they did from August until now.”

“These guys care,” added Small. “These veterans, they wanted it. They wanted to do something different. And they did, if you look at the season, but it’s just hard. They care. That’s what you want. Any coach in any program wants kids that care, and that doesn’t always happen. A lot of kids just don’t care to the level that they need to really push themselves and be great. But these guys do, and that’s what I appreciate.”

Illini seniors step up.

Two members of the team that have been significant contributors to the program showed up and played well in a losing effort. Fifth-year seniors Adrien Dumont de Chassart and Tommy Kuhl won their Illini matches. Kuhl defeated Jack Bingham 3&2, while Dumont de Chassart defeated Frederik Kjettrup 3&2.

Unfortunately for the Illini, the golfers without match-play experience cost Illinois the match. Junior Pierce Hunt lost to 29th-ranked golfer Brett Roberts and Matthis Besard fell to 19th-ranked Jackson Buchanan. Despite the quarterfinal loss, the Illini had a season for the ages.

Armchair Illini is a comprehensive site dedicated to covering University of Illinois Athletics owned and operated by Alex Kyi. Dante Pryor has been writing about College Football for years on Saturday Blitz and is now the Lead Football Author for Armchair Illini.