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Thomas Pieters was one of the great golfers in Illini history



Thomas Pieters
Jul 9, 2023; Hertfordshire, England, GBR; Thomas Pieters (BEL) on the third green during the final round of the LIV Golf London golf tournament at Centurion Club. Mandatory Credit: Peter van den Berg-USA TODAY Sports

Thomas Pieters won the individual National Championship in 2012

Born in Belgium in 1992, Thomas Pieters first picked up golf clubs at age five and honed his skills at the Witbos Golf Club. Who knew those clubs would lead him to the University of Illinois, the PGA, European, and LIV Golf tours? As he improved his game, Pieters would compete in many amateur events before golfing for the Illini.

Pieters won the International of Belgium Junior Championship and the European Boys’ Team Championship in 2009. He won three team championships in 2010: the Jacques Léglise Trophy, his second European Boys’ Team Championship, and the Eisenhower Trophy. Pieters would win the Eisenhower again in 2012, along with the Palmer Cup.

Pieters dominated the competition while at Illinois.

Competing at the junior level more than prepared Pieters for his career at Illinois. His first year at Illinois was solid. Pieters placed 20th at the NCAA Championships and 10th at the Big Ten Championships. He also tied for second at the D.A. Wiebring Invitational. The Belgian native found his stride in 2012. Pieters was the 2012 NCAA Individual National Champion. He was the second National Champion in three years, joining Scott Langley (2010). He shot a -5 under 71, winning by three strokes. In addition to being an All-American, he was also an All-Big Ten. He helped lead the Illini to finish second in the nation in ’13 and to the Big Ten Championships in 2011, 2012, and 2013. Pieters was a two-time All-American.

Pieters in the pros.

He represented Belgium at the 2016 Rio Olympics, finishing fourth. Pieters has become one of the top professionals in the world, especially on the European Tour. He has seven professional wins, with six on the European Tour. Pieters tied for fourth at the ’17 Masters and was sixth at the ’18 PGA Championships. Pieters reached No. 23 in the World Rankings in 2017. He earned a spot on the 2016 Ryder Cup team for Europe, winning four Ryder Cup points, and was a member of the 2016 and 2018 World Cup teams. In 2017, Pieters tied for fourth in his first appearance at Augusta National for The Masters.

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.