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2017 NCAA Men’s Golf Championship: Illinois rally falls short in semifinal loss

After falling behind early, a late Illini rally comes up short

Brad Repplinger - The Champaign Room

For the second consecutive year, the Illinois Fighting Illini’s run at a Men’s Golf National Championship falls short during the semifinal round. The Oklahoma Sooners defeated Illinois 3-1-1 in match play Tuesday afternoon at Rich Harvest Farms in Sugar Grove, IL.

Oklahoma jumped out to an early overall lead, with the Sooners leading in three of the five matches after just the first hole.

Juniors Dylan Meyer and Nick Hardy were able to hold steady in their matches, but the Sooners’ early run but Illinois in a hole heading to the back nine. Illinois started making a run starting at the twelfth hole, where Nick Hardy started a run of three straight holes won. Giovanni Tadiotto and Michael Feagles kept the roars coming from the groups ahead, mounting comebacks in both of their matches down the stretch. Coming out of this week, Coach Small is nothing but proud of his team.

“I told the guys the fun is the journey. To get this close, it’s tough not to win. But I won’t get hung up on that. This was a young team that had a great year.”

For Illinois, the NCAA Championship run marks the sixth time in school history that the team qualified for the match play portion of the tournament. Their semifinal berth is the fourth in program history, and their third consecutive appearance in that round. This marks the tenth consecutive season where Illinois has qualified for the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship.