It all started in 1923, when R.E. Rolfie led the Illini to their first ever Big Ten Championship and an Individual Championship Medal. Since then, 11 Illini teams have brought home Championships and earned 16 additional Medalist Honors. In fact, Illinois has earned an Individual Honors in the last 4 consecutive seasons of Big Ten play. THAT is the definition of dominance people.
While the history of the golf program is strong, it's our recent success that truly is remarkable. If you consider that the last "cold-weather" school to win the National Championship was Minnesota in 2002 (and BYU before that in 1981), Illinois has created a new perception of schools not associated with tropical weather and spring break. We mainly have Head Coach Mike Small to thank for that, but I'll cover that in another article.
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/TBT?src=hash">#TBT</a> 5-peat for <a href="https://twitter.com/IlliniMGolf">@IlliniMGolf</a> from 2009-13. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Illini?src=hash">#Illini</a> begin guest for 6th <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/B1G?src=hash">#B1G</a> title in 7 years Friday morning. <a href="http://t.co/Pt9MkDf9K1">pic.twitter.com/Pt9MkDf9K1</a></p>— Illinois Athletics (@IlliniAthletics) <a href="https://twitter.com/IlliniAthletics/status/591347802258743297">April 23, 2015</a></blockquote>
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This week, the #2 ranked Illini look to claim their 6th Conference Title in the last 7 years. Thomas Detry (#8), Charlie Danielson (#12), and Brian Campbell (#22) are all looking to continue their consistent play this weekend, as these three players have accounted for 8 "Golfers of the Week" awards this season. Freshman phenoms Dylan Meyer and Nick Hardy 'round out our lineup, and will provide some wonderful insight into the future of our program. The Illini enter this weekend's Championship coming off a victory at the Boilermaker Invitational, and will face a new challenge at Victoria National Golf Club along with the rest of the conference.
Big Ten Conference Schedule:
Friday 4/24 - Round 1 (9am) & Round 2 (Noon)
Saturday 4/25 - Round 3 (9am)
Sunday 4/26 - Final Round (8am)
Victoria National Golf Club is a Tom Fazio design located in Newburgh, Indiana. It was designed in 1998, and is a private facility. The intent of building the course was to eventually host a U.S. Open, which means it's a true test of golf that could hold it's own this weekend. Golf Digest has even ranked it as the 47th best course in the world. Some of the key holes that could make or break a round come Sunday morning are Victoria's Par 3's. Here is a preview of what the Illini will have to face (courtesy of GolfTripper.com and Victoria National GC):
Hole 5 Par 3 (212 yards)
<img src="http://www.victorianational.com/images/dynamic/getImage.gif?ID=2376368" alt="" />
<img src="http://golftripper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Victoria-National-Golf-Club-Hole-5-1-copy.jpg" alt="" />
Hole 7 Par 3 (183 Yards)
<img src="http://www.victorianational.com/images/dynamic/getImage.gif?ID=2376369" alt="" />
<img src="http://golftripper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Victoria-National-Golf-Club-Hole-7-2-copy.jpg" alt="" />
Hole 11 Par 3 (233 yards)
<img src="http://www.victorianational.com/images/dynamic/getImage.gif?ID=2376719" alt="" />
<img src="http://golftripper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Victoria-National-Golf-Club-Hole-11-3-copy.jpg" alt="" />
Hole 16 Par 3 (208 yards)
<img src="http://www.victorianational.com/images/dynamic/getImage.gif?ID=2376724" alt="" />
<img src="http://golftripper.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/08/Victoria-National-Golf-Club-Hole-16-1-copy.jpg" alt="" />