The five year winning streak at the Big Ten title of the Illinois men’s golf team has come to an unexpected end at the hands of Minnesota’s Golden Gophers. Illinois fell four shots back, putting them in second-place, with third-place going to Iowa, fourth-place going to Northwestern, and fifth-place going to Purdue.
“We rallied early and played pretty good golf for most of the day,” said Illinois’s head coach Mike Small. “Congratulations to Minnesota. They played great, (and) they didn’t open any cracks for us to sneak into.”
“I knew that it was going to be really windy and a real tough day,” said the Illini’s Charlie Danielson about his round on Saturday. “I told myself that I had to stay patient no matter what happened and just grind it out. I got off to a rough start and lost my ball on hole two, but stayed patient and fought back.”
“We didn’t have our best all week,” said Small, succinctly commenting on Illinois’s playing. The competition was fierce, and scores were close, “but we competed really well for the most part; just lost it a little bit at the end.”
Though the Gophers came into the Big Ten as one of the strongest teams in the entire conference, they were unranked in the NCAA rankings, which put a bit of a chip on the team’s shoulder.
“We’ve been trending in the right direction this entire season,” said Jon Trasamar, a senior. “We saw something like this coming even if everyone else didn’t.”
Regardless of Illinois’s strong playing, the Gophers dominated their way to their first outright team title in over 10 years.
“We got the job done,” said John Carlson, Minnesota’s head coach. “I know winning the Big Ten championships is something we all dream about. And I know the players will have this for a lasting, lifetime memory.”
“Saturday was a day that separated a lot of people,” said Small.