After starting out the day with leads in all five of their matches, the Fighting Illini Men’s Golf team held off the defending NCAA Champion Oklahoma Sooners to advance to their third straight East Lake Cup championship match. Illinois will face the top overall seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in tomorrow’s championship match at the East Lake Golf Club in Atlanta Georgia.
Coach Mike Small’s lineup change paid off, as Michael Feagles played as the anchor match against Oklahoma’s Brad Dalke. Feagles grabbed an early 2UP lead, only to give it back at the turn as his match with Dalke was all square headed to the back 9. Feagles would make a CLUTCH eagle putt on the par 5 14th hole to take a 2UP lead once again, and then won the next hole to lead 3UP with 3 holes to play. After Dalke made things interesting with a birdie on 16, Feagles would close out the match 2&1 with a par on the 17th hole. His win in the final match was the deciding win for Illinois.
Seniors Nick Hardy and Dylan Meyer both won their matches convincingly, with Meyer leading off the semifinal matches with a 3&2 win. Nick Hardy incinerated Grant Hirschman 6&4, a rematch of last year’s NCAA Tournament semifinal pairing.
The Illini will face the top overall seeded Vanderbilt Commodores in tomorrow’s Championship match. This is Illinois’ third consecutive appearance in the championship match, and will look to win their third East Lake Cup in as many years. We’ll have lineups, pairings, and a preview of tomorrow’s match right here at The Champaign Room.